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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1055. This wicked generation (14/5/24)

This week, in our devotionals, we are focussing on Luke 11:29-32. Today, we reflect on how all of those who follow Christ, will experience the sufferings of Christ. 

‘As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.’ (Luke 11:29-30) 

Lesson: Jesus experienced rejection for His message and so will we. So let’s be content to be like Christ and to seek Jesus for His love and courage to continue. 


You can listen to this devotional at:


Jesus experienced the rejection of Himself and His message. Having performed numerous ‘signs’ through healing and deliverance, many continued to ask for more signs in order to prove that He was the Messiah - the promised saviour and king (11:16). Having already given many convincing signs that He was their Messiah, for which many accused Him of being empowered by evil (11:15), why would He give them any more signs?Jesus knows their hearts and He knows that their sinful hearts didn’t want to even contemplate that Jesus was their Messiah, Lord and Saviour! He says of them, ‘This is a wicked generation’. What does He mean by this? In chapter 7, we read:

‘Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?  They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.”’ (Luke 7:31-32)

In this short parable, Jesus reveals the ‘generation’ that He has in mind when He says these condemning things. He has in mind many of the religious authorities and people who, having seen Jesus’ signs and heard His teaching, still rejected and condemned Him. ‘This wicked generation’ are those particular people at that time. 


What does this mean for us?

Luke records this growing tension between Jesus and ‘this generation’ - the religious leaders -  for a number of reasons:


i. Evangelistic challenge

Luke records this so that those who read lead, like Theophilus to whom this gospel is written, and ourselves, would be challenged to ask: “Will I believe in Jesus through the signs given in this gospel, or will I refuse and reject Him?” 


ii. Evangelistic wisdom

This account teaches that we, like Jesus, will meet people who, no matter what, will hate Christ and us. ‘This generation’ is a sort of person who will reject Christ and His message not matter what. We are to seek to bring all people to Christ, but, we will meet such people and we must be wise. We must offer Christ to all, but not push the gospel on people who hate it! Of ‘This generation’ Jesus says: 

‘“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces”’ (Matthew 7:6). 

This is not teaching us to be quick to reject people. Rather, this is about being wise and not putting ourselves in unnecessary danger and discouragement if it can be avoided. As Jesus also teaches (if you remain unconvinced): 

‘But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say,  ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’  I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.’ (Luke 10:10-12). 

Paul’s words of warning to Timothy are very informative on how we ar to be careful regarding the people of ‘this generation’ 

‘Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.  You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.’ (2 Timothy 4:14) 

Response

The religious leaders who rejected Jesus are called, ‘This wicked generation’, and these kinds of people still exist. The devil works through such people to discourage us. The world and the internet are full of such people who are opposed to Jesus and the gospel. Jesus experienced rejection for His message and so will we. So let’s be content to be like Christ and to seek Jesus for His love and courage to continue. 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


This week is ‘SIV’ Week. During our time together, let’s give more focus to how we are bringing our community to Jesus through Serving, inVesting and inViting.


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals, which are accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday, based upon Jesus’ teaching  from Luke 11:29-32. Here, in response to opposition and requests for Jesus to prove Himself by given them more signs, He responds by telling them that they will be given the ‘sign of Jonah’. 


Please read Luke 11:29-32, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What is meant by ‘The sign of Jonah’ (See also Matthew 12:39-41)?

  • We are to continue to share about ‘the sign of Jonah’ with our community; why should this be the focal point when sharing our faith (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)?

  • Why does Jesus use the response of ‘The Queen of the South (Sheba)’ and that of the Ninevites in order to shame the religious leaders, whom He terms ‘This wicked generation’? 

  • Jesus shows how the Queen of Sheba and the those of Nineveh respond to the words of Solomon and Jonah. Jesus then compares Himself to these characters as ‘something greater…is here’. Through this, how does Jesus expect us to respond to His Word? 

  • SIV - What three different responses to God do we get in this passage, and what does this say about how people will respond to us?

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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