Even Sodom!

By Francis Frangipane

"He then began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent" (Matt. 11:20).

Jesus has a word to say, not only to us as individuals, but to entire cities as well. In anger He rebuked Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum (Matt. 11:21, 23). With tears He wept over Jerusalem (Luke 13:34). If He expected cities to repent in the first century, He expects cities today to repent as well.

It was in this very context of reproving cities, however, that Jesus made a statement which, to me, unveiled the scope of God's redemptive power. Listen to His rebuke, but also to its hidden promise.

He said, "For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes" (Matt. 11:21).

Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities known for their debauchery and sin. Yet Jesus said that His life, revealed in power, can bring even the vilest of cities -- places that ought to be destroyed -- to "sackcloth and ashes." The strategy, therefore, to turn our cities back toward God is for the church to reveal Christ's life in power. Yes, the revelation of Christ living, loving and healing the world around us can turn our worst cities back toward God!

Today, many cities are ripe for revival. What hinders the turning of the people's hearts? Part of the answer lies with the church, with our sins of self-righteousness, indifference and unbelief. The Lord said if His people would humble themselves and pray, seek His face and turn from evil, He would then heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14). The future does not belong to the world; it belongs to the transformed church. Indeed, let us never forget: God "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4). With this in mind, Paul taught that entreaties and prayers should be made on behalf of all men, "for kings and all who are in authority" (1 Tim. 2:1-4). The sacrifice of Christ provides for the salvation of all men. Heaven waits only for the church to act.

One may say, "But, that was then. Our cities are worse. They are beyond redemption." Not so. Jesus continued His rebuke of cities, saying, "If the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day" (Matt. 11:23). Amazingly, when Christ is manifested in power, Jesus said even Sodom could find repentance!

I have heard ministers compare Los Angeles or New York to Sodom. Fine. These cities have seen hell, now let the church show them Heaven. The promise of Christ is that even Sodom could find repentance in the atmosphere and revelation of Christ's power. If there is hope for Sodom, there is hope for our cities as well!

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, When the Many Are One, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.