Scripture Readings: Luke 3:1, Matthew 12:38-45
It’s scary to me how Jesus did not hold back to his audience. He had some pretty nasty things to say about the generation he was living among. Things had changed in his lifetime, no longer was Augustus Caesar (Octavian) in power; his son Tiberius was in charge. Jesus was a teenager when Augustus died, the first Roman Emperor, who brought peace and wealth to the empire. Unfortunately, his son Tiberius was quite different. His apathy about politics played into the hands of a very deviant generation. He was known for being very sexually immoral, not available to his people, and allowed others to govern for him.
A very well known poet and writer of satire, Juvenal, wrote about life during these roman days. His manuscripts are still available to read. He wrote extensively about the immoral depravity of that generation. He describes in details many atrocities. He was the gentleman that coined the term mentioned yesterday, “bread and circuses” or panem et circenses. The term referring to the masses, especially the poor, being wooed and distracted from their surroundings only to be governed by the superficial and blind to the corruption. Can you think of examples in your own life where this plays true? I will share first. I’m distracted easily by popular TV series sponsored by one of the big powerful entertainment industries, watching mindlessly hours after hours filling my head with violence, provocative material, and demeaning language. And usually I do this because I heard from a friend , “Hey have you watched so and so? It’s so good. You have to watch it.” , and I succumb, not often, but I have. Now, it’s you turn.
Our society is affected by the larger views, the political party in power, the newest TV show filling the airways, the next expensive gadget, or the next greatest fast food product. We have to train ourselves to live above this as followers of Christ. We don’t want to be part of a generation even worse than Nineveh. Let’s read Jesus’s words again. This time imagine the generation of people that were the worse of the worse and Jesus speaking to them. Then read it again and imagine he is speaking to our generation. The following words of Jesus are translated in contemporary form by “the Message” Bible
“When a defiling evil spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return it finds the person spotlessly clean, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits more evil than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse off than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place. That’s what this generation is like: You may think you have cleaned out the junk from your lives and gotten ready for God, but you weren’t hospitable to my kingdom message, and now all the devils are moving back in.” (Matthew 12:43-45)
Pretty terrifying, huh? Tomorrow let’s focus on how to fill our soul so there are no vacancies.