Daily Readings and Thought for March 19th. “… WILL YOU BE EXALTED TO HEAVEN?”


Jesus spoke in parables, stories that were not necessarily factual because their purpose was to drive home some principle about God’s purpose in our lives. In Luke 10 we encounter some one sentence parables, perhaps we should call them phrases that are clearly symbolic of something literal.  He did many miracles in Capernaum and other cities. He makes a challenging statement, “If the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago ..” [v.13] 

Capernaum had been the scene of many miracles, but it did not spark a spirit of awe and wonder leading to humility and repentance! They pursued Christ for more mass feeding on loaves and fishes – and the Master lamented, when they found him on the other side of the lake, he told them, “you are seeking me not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the fill of the loaves.” [John 6 v.26]

This attitude leads Jesus to say, “… you Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven?  You shall be brought down to Hades” [Luke 10 v.15]. What does this mean? This town had experienced a display of heavenly powers which it failed to humbly appreciate with heart-felt awe and humility.   God’s  reaction to their failure would result in them going “down to Hades”   That is “Hell” in the old A V Bible, the grave, in many modern versions. The fundamental meaning of “hell” was in times past a place or thing covered over – as in the word Hel-met.  Capernaum was covered over – for some 1700 years – until archaeologists uncovered its ruins.

In Luke 12 Jesus makes a most significant point; “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.” [v.48]  The people of Capernaum failed this test, “much was given” to them in an abundant evidence of heavenly powers.  Jesus’ disciples are sent out on a successful preaching and healing mission and when they return – note what Jesus says! “I saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven” [10 v.18]. Again, obviously not to be understood literally!  

    We have seen the symbolic meaning of heaven!  This means that the adversaries (as the word satan means) of Jesus, those seeking his discredit and destruction, were “disarmed” by the demonstrations of heaven’s genuine power. The religious leaders should have been heaven’s representatives in leading the people, but they were continually discredited. 

    We await the days to come, convinced they are now near, when the earth will see widespread evidence of divine power on earth for, as we read in Hebrews 6 v.4, “the heavenly gift” in the time of the Apostles were “the powers of the age to come.”

We will see in Ch. 11 how Jesus ridicules their attempts to deny his heavenly powers [v.15-23], he ends by saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me..”  It is clear there is no neutral position to take when it comes to our personal relationship with Jesus.   Are you “for” or “against” Jesus?  Do not hesitate between “two opinions” – remember the lesson in 1 Kings 18 v.21.

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