“Woe to you!” — Luke 10:13-16

Luke 10:13-16 (NKJV)

13 “WOE to you, Chorazin! WOE to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades. 16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” 


Some presume that Jesus cursed these  nations. That’s false. The word “woe” translates the Greek word “ouai” which is an expression of calamity, incoming danger or grief. (Like “Yikes!” in today’s parlance).


So that phrase “woe to you” simply means “destruction or calamity is coming upon you.” You would observe that most times, those whom Jesus addressed when He used this expression (“woe”) had rejected the Gospel in unbelief, either unrepentant nations or the Pharisees. He even used that word for Judas.


In Luke 10, Jesus used this expression after He sent the 70 disciples to preach and the nations rejected them. (see vv. 1-12). So “woe to you” simply means “you will be destroyed” because you have rejected the Gospel which saves from destruction.That’s a fact, not a curse.


Similar to what Jesus said in Mark 16:15-16


Mark 16:15-16 (NKJV)

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe WILL BE CONDEMNED.  (Or we can say “he who does not believe, woe to him, he will be destroyed.” Same thing!)


This is not a curse but stating a fact of the Gospel. That’s what “woe to you” means. It is a statement of a fact, not a curse pronounced out of indignation.

(For a detailed study on this, get the sermon “Coals of Fire: How to pay back your enemies” by Pastor Josh Banks)


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2021.


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