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The Folly of Ignoring the Last Chance

Luke 11:50-51
Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. (NIVUK)

Jesus had been pointing out the foolish inconsistency of one generation rejecting the truth and killing the prophets, while their children made heroes out of the dead men but continued to ignore the truth they proclaimed (Luke 11:47-49).  Jesus made the people of His day responsible for the persecution of all God's prophets over the previous 4,000 years.  But that might not seem fair.  Why would His generation be responsible for their deaths? Surely, they could not have been involved, as they were not yet born!

This was Israel's last chance to change their mind, to confess the sins of their forefathers (as the prophets did in Daniel 9:1-19); to admit that God's truth was right and that they had believed a lie.  Although some of the Old Testament prophets were heeded, most were ignored, abused and some were killed (Hebrews 11:36-38).  That was because they all spoke the truth with God’s full authority.  The generation Jesus was speaking to would prove what they thought of God’s Word: their attitude and judgement would all pivot on what they did with Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-4).

As in the parable of the tenant farmers (Luke 20:9-19), God was giving His people one last opportunity to stop rebelling against Him and to submit to His authority.  But as we know, they envied the holy authority of the Son of God (Mark 15:10) in order to preserve their own irregular powerbase.  Their actions proved that they had exactly the same heart attitude as the truth-crushers of the past.  And in ignoring the last opportunity to repent, that generation failed the whole nation for millennia.

All of us know of people in our families, tribes and nations whose hearts have been set against the Lord and the gospel of Christ.  Yet whatever is our own personal history of failure and disobedience, today could be the beginning of the 'start-again' generation.  All that is needed is to agree with God that we need His salvation, His love, His wisdom and His power.  Those who repent over their own sins, will also grieve over the wrong behaviour of their ancestors (along with their business practices, their community leaders and global corporates) which ignore God's truth, love, justice and compassion. Christians who are willing to weep over this and the attitudes of past generations who left Jesus out of the centre of family, community, cultural, business, workforce, academic and professional life - should do so because they also weep over their own contribution to the mess.  As believers repent, so God will open new doors to a new future with an eternally wonderful horizon.  So let today be a great day for repenting and starting again.

Loving Lord. Thank You for so much truth which You have poured into the world over the centuries - culminating in the sacrificial ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. I do grieve over so many opportunities which have been ignored, and could have led to repentance, faith and the flourishing of Your church - yet the pressure of the world, the flesh and the devil have seduced the people You have made into compromise and rebellion against You. I also grieve over my sins which prove that I have the same heart attitudes as others; but I want to change. Please help me to repent and believe Your Word so that I might live unashamed for You where I live and work. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams