Uncle Ben, the erstwhile mentor to comic book hero Peter Parker, is credited with the oft-quoted line: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
That sentiment inspired Peter Parker to become Spiderman, but it can easily be understood as a curse. As the village of Chorazin in rural Israel came to understand.
What’s left of Chorazin are the remains of several basalt-rock structures, including the synagogue. Chorazin is a short hike from Capernaum, Jesus’ base of ministry. The view of the Sea of Galilee is beautiful.
Yet what they did not appreciate was the even more spectacular view they had of history.
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ admonition to the people in the villages of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. These are places in which the residents had witnessed what Jesus Himself described as “mighty works” but nonetheless rejected Him. They were given a front-row seat to the performance of miracles, yet shrugged them off.
With powerful knowledge, comes great responsibility.
“Woe to you” Jesus said to them, adding it will be “more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom” than for those places.
As heirs in America to a biblically based system of self-governance, we have the highest standard of living in all of human history. We take for granted conveniences unimaginable just decades ago. Yet never in American history has the call for socialism (and the tyranny to which it inevitably leads) been louder.
We are witnesses to the bounty the blessing of liberty can bring, but in our sloth we risk – like the people of Chorazin – shrugging it off… and falling woefully away.
When people in countries that have never known liberty make bad choices, it shouldn’t surprise us. They don’t know better; but we do. We have no excuses. We have been witnesses to mighty works. We have a responsibility to respond accordingly.