Sometimes I think that we must be living in a generation of people whose hearts are stubborn in believing that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light! People today seem to want to believe in a form of religion but not in real truth. Many say that they are Christians but their lives do not tell the same story as their lips do. I don’t want to be judgmental but there are some facts about being a Christian that we can’t ignore and our walk of faith has to match up with our words. I was reading last night in Matthew and discovered that my generation is not the first to be stubborn in believing the truth. Take a look.
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “ ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “ ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” Matthew 11:2-19, (New International Version or NIV).
John the Baptist who was the one who came to clear the way for the Messiah to come was also Jesus’s relative (Luke 1). He was a man of integrity as well as truth and a great prophet of God. He had been put into prison and would soon die at the whim of an evil woman who despised him for telling her “husband” the King that he was living in sin with her (Matthew 14). John had a large following and had disciples who he sent to Jesus to make sure that Jesus was the Messiah. I can understand why John would wonder. He probably thought like most of Israel that the Messiah would have an earthly kingdom and most likely John wondered why Jesus had not sprung him from his prison cell and vindicate him. Of course this was not God’s plan and Jesus knew this. Jesus told John’s disciples to go back and tell John all that they had seen. They did this and it was of great comfort to John no doubt. But John still was beheaded and died. It is hard to live without your head! The King and his “wife” were certainly stubborn hearted but there were others as well. Jesus says that the generation He was born into, the generation He lived among was the most stubborn generation. Why are they stubborn and what are they stubborn against? The signs and wonders that Jesus preformed, the miracles that He did should have been enough to open their hearts and minds to hear His words. Even the ones Jesus healed often didn’t truly appreciate what He did for them. Some did, but not many. Most people just wanted Jesus to make them well so that they could go on living as they had before they met Him. If that isn’t the description of a stubborn generation I don’t know what is. Imagine if you were ill and you were healed instantly wouldn’t you want to know why you were chosen to be healed? I guess the stubborn hearted person thinks of the miracles of Jesus the same way that I do when I go to the doctor and get antibiotics to clear up an infection. I don’t care about the doctor or what the doctor believes or stands for as long as I get the pills to make my aching head and throat feel better and be well again. The crowds seemed to be in awe but only for a short time. Jesus throws out some woes to the stubborn generation. I think they are worth a look.
Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Matthew 11:20-24, (NIV).
If you were a resident of one of these towns do you think that you would have changed your heart to believing in Jesus or would you still remain stubborn? I don’t think we can truthfully answer that question, but I sure would like to think that I would have believed in Jesus as God’s only Son! So what did Tyre and Sidon do that gained them God’s wrath?
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning Tyre. Say to Tyre, situated at the gateway to the sea, merchant of peoples on many coasts, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘You say, Tyre, “I am perfect in beauty.” Your domain was on the high seas; your builders brought your beauty to perfection. Ezekiel 27:1-3, (NIV).
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.” But you are a mere mortal and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god. Ezekiel 28: 1-2, (NIV).
“ ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘Because you think you are wise, as wise as a god, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor. They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die a violent death in the heart of the seas. Will you then say, “I am a god,” in the presence of those who kill you? You will be but a mortal, not a god, in the hands of those who slay you. You will die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners. I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord.’ ” Ezekiel 28:6-10, (NIV).
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Sidon; prophesy against her and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘I am against you, Sidon, and among you I will display my glory. You will know that I am the Lord, when I inflict punishment on you and within you am proved to be holy. I will send a plague upon you and make blood flow in your streets. The slain will fall within you, with the sword against you on every side. Then you will know that I am the Lord. “ ‘No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. Ezekiel 28: 20-24, (NIV).
Do you get the feeling from reading these verses that actually are only highlights of two chapters in Ezekiel concerning Tyre and Sidon, do you get the feeling God doesn’t like humans to think they can replace Him? God won’t tolerate human denial that He exists, and when Jesus warned the two cities Chorazin and Bethsaida that they were going to be judged more harshly than the people of Tyre and Sidon because they are more stubborn in not believing in Him as the Messiah, as the Son of God, I believe Him, don’t you? This is a serious warning to anyone who has a stubborn heart and refuses to even look at the Bible as truth! This is a warning to you and to me and to our generation as well as every generation since the time of Tyre and Sidon! Wow!!!!!! Please take some time to read and study the Bible, there is so much to learn from it and to apply to our daily lives. Keep loving people, keep believing and keep praying!