“He says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:44-50)

Permanent solutions rarely are. Jesus compared the state of the people of Israel in his generation to the state of a man who’d been freed from a demon who would get that demon back, plus an additional seven. How did the Jewish people of Jesus’ day fit that picture?

Their Messiah had arrived to free them from their sins. But they could only think about getting freed from the Roman Empire. Within less than forty years the Jewish people would launch a rebellion against the Romans. But the rebellion would fail. Their situation was bad before the rebellion. It would become far worse afterwards. Jerusalem would be leveled, the temple burned to the ground, and the population scattered across the Empire. They would be even more oppressed by the Roman government than they were before.

The Jewish people, like the man cleansed of a demon, could choose to turn to God. They could have accepted what God’s kingdom actually was: God in their hearts. Or they could reject that, turn to their own devices, and suffer for their poor choices. Unfortunately, they chose poorly.

God’s way doesn’t always seem to be what we really want. But God knows our hearts, and our needs more thoroughly than we know them ourselves. Don’t be reluctant to do what God wants. Don’t imagine that what he wants is bad for you. It isn’t.

Become a part of God’s family; he loves you more than your real family ever can.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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