Theology around cities

Matthew 11: 20

Jesus begins to denounce the cities where most of His miracles had been done. The reason He gives is that “They did not repent.” Very specifically He pronounces a judgement on Corazon and Bethsaida; Capernaum also gets a special mention. Judgement as we understand but what does it mean to be lifted up the skies. A more preferred state I would assume. Then He says that there is a day of judgement coming for the cities. On this day, the cities will be called to give an account. What does that mean? If I am part of a city as a resident or a citizen, then my presence there indicates responsibility. It might not even be a city of my choosing. I may be there, purely out of circumstance. Work, parents, study or convenience all plays a part in how you got to live where you live. My presence in Pretoria was because I felt called to plant a church in that city. In actual fact, I dare not say it as if it was mine to give. I made myself available to relocate to plant a church called 3ci (Capital City Church International) and now heaven breaths life into that city and the church acts as one of the cities many lungs. Many Pretorians now have a changed future and a new destination. The presence of the people of God who gather under that banner have impacted and effected change in that city. These same folk have gone out and are now impacting nations. That same local congregation of believers have also planed churches in other regions. All this is in a space of 25 years. Perhaps the planting of local churches is the only way that change can truly be bought above.

The city Korazin is associated with mighty works and with pending judgement. When looking at the King James rendering of this text, Capernaum it would seem, was very elevated in it’s reputation. When a city is judged, it is literally wiped out. What is left are ruins. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah – it is clear some cities are more open than others. What then are some of the things that determine the openness of a city? A professing to be wise attitude, those who are filled with self-conceit and pride. A self-sufficient community, of raiding bands preying on the innocent. This could well be the reason whey we should be planting more in the Gospel prone regions. I feel most cities are tightly shut up the Spirit of God anyway. Every city is ruled by principalities and powers. Our job is to go there, and pray.

What is this thing of cities being important to God?

Well, for one it is where people are. Let us never underestimate the power of an indigenous testimony (i.e. the possessed with a legion of demons in Mark 5: 19 “Go home and tell … and all the people were amazed.” Also the woman at the well returns to say she had met a man who told her everything about herself. Then she calls them to “come and see.” The point really is they listened to her. Of course there is the flip side to that and it is that the prophet is never accepted in his own home town. This was the case of Jesus. So it’s a bit of both. The local accent is helpful and then again the disciples and Paul were foreigners in their context although they all spoke Greek.

Part 2 to follow …

By Ashley Bell