Daily Readings and Thought for January 9th. “To what shall I liken this generation?”
We read this morning how Jesus asked a question, “to what shall I liken this generation?” [Matt. 11 v.16] and gave a strange answer. Each generation has had those who search for answers as to the meaning of life, but today many think they have all the answers! John the Baptist, shut up in prison appears to have wanted reassurance when he sent his disciples to Jesus, asking, are you really the one?
Notice how Jesus never gives plain ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers; his response was to say, look at what is happening and consider events in the light of what God revealed through the prophets. (v.2-6) Those with their own way of thinking were offended at him, he refused to fit into a mould. We read today in Genesis of Abraham’s conversation with the angel of the LORD [Ch. 18] who said, “because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me” [v.21]. Abraham obtains a promise that even if only 10 righteous are found there God would not destroy the city. But only 3 were found and saved! Tragic!
Yet Jesus, as we read today, mentions Sodom, saying [v,22] that if the amazing miracles that the people of Capernaum were witnessing had been done in Sodom they would have responded and it would not have been destroyed. Jesus then states, “I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgement for the land of Sodom than ]for you” [v.24} What is this is telling us? At the day of judgement it will not be a case of getting a high enough mark, like you need to be able to go to University; rather God will know how you have responded according to the evidence available to you. No one will “earn” a place in God’s Kingdom. The cities in which Jesus did his miracles failed the test [v.20-21]. But all him accepts into his kingdom will need his mercy and grace, for he sees the motivations of our heart against the background of the circumstances in which we have lived.
Jesus said the generation that heard him (v.16-19) were like children at play who refused to grow up, wilfully misinterpreting the actions of Jesus, saying he was “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” So what would he say of today’s generation and its attitude to the Bible? Are you influenced by that attitude? Today, the world has discovered far more of the absolute wonders of creation. It refuses to face the obvious meaning of the evidence, just as many in the generation that saw the wonders Jesus refused. Each will answer for their own failures: what failures will you have to answer for?