But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
In this passage Jesus uses the perceptions of his listeners to compare their rejection of him to those of past prophets. This is the way that Bob and Gretchen Passantino put it at their Answers in Action site:
The common misunderstanding of these passages rests on two interpretive problems. First, Jesus is using an ad hominem argument - he is assuming something his opponents believe and then using it against them. Second, Jesus is using a common rabbinical argument, arguing from the lesser to the greater.Rejecting the message of a prophet sent by God is serious business. It is dangerous because the prophet speaks for God. Such is the case with those that Jesus sends - both then and now. Sadly there seems to be groups of people that are predisposed to reject the gospel. These prefer so-called rational thinking to believing the gospel of Christ.
His argument can be paraphrased this way: "If Sodom, Gomorrah, Tyre, and Sidon were justly condemned by God for rejecting the prophets how much more just is God's coming condemnation against those who reject the very one the prophets prophesied about."
Lord, help me to remember that I am often called to speak for you. Please give me ears to hear and a tongue to speak.