The key to understanding the book of Matthew is wrapped up in today’s passage. Let’s look:
2 Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.
In yesterday’s Sunday’s Cool (Sunday School), we studied a passage of Scripture that has always fascinated me. Here it is:
43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45
This passage, in my opinion, holds the key to reading the entire book of Matthew. It’s tied up in the term that Jesus used concerning Israel, “this evil generation.” Your translation may say, “wicked;” both indicate a generation that basically lives without God’s direction in their lives. In fact, that generation rejected God’s direction for their lives when they rejected God the Son, Jesus Christ.
The verses about the unclean spirit may be a parable, but it sounds more like a lesson on demonology. It certainly described what happened to Israel once Jesus ascended into heaven to His throne. Note the downward spiral:
- The persecution of the Church
- Several false messiahs
- The Great Rebellion in 66 AD
- Three major factions within Jerusalem according to Josephus
- The corruption of the system
- The corruption of the people
- The fall of Israel in 68 AD
- The fall and total dismantling of Jerusalem in 70 AD
- The fall of Masada in 74 AD
- The dispersion of Israel for nearly 1900 years
Later in Matthew, Jesus told His disciples that “this [same] generation will not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matthew 24:34). A generation is counted as 40 years, so everything through the fall of Jerusalem came true! They had missed Jesus!
Tomorrow, we will look at the danger of trusting in the sacrificial system both then and now. Today, let’s not miss Jesus in our lives. Let’s look to Him for everything, even the air that we breathe. He wants more than anything to have a personal, ongoing relationship with us.
Abba, do not let us miss the importance of having You lead us. Only You know the true way to life, and it comes to us through You with each step we take with You. May we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the peace that comes through a personal relationship with You, Lord Jesus. Amen.