There’s been a lot of buzz lately on today’s demographic of young adults. I personally fall under the “Millennial” group (born between 1977-1995). My generation started out being called “Generation Y” and later was renamed after specific characteristics which were evident.
Unfortunately, it seems my generation is ranking low on the outstanding character scale with some referring to it as “Generation ME.” *Ouch!
Currently, teenagers fall under a new generational category called “Centennials” (those born in 1996 and after). This title, too, will soon be renamed once your generation’s pattern of living has played out.
>>> How would you describe your generation?
In Matthew 11, Jesus was once again preaching to a crowd of people. Literally thousands followed Him to hear Him speak. By this time, John the Baptist was already off the public scene, being held in prison because of his preaching. As you may recall, John’s job was to prepare people to hear and see Jesus, the Messiah and Savior. Now Jesus was the One standing before them. But unlike John, Jesus could see their hearts.
Jesus’s sermon took an interesting turn. He didn’t preach The Kingdom of God or lay out a parable. He asked them questions about John. “What went ye out into the wilderness to see?” In other words, “Why are you here… what are you looking for?”
“A reed shaken in the wind?” They were suspicious about John and wanted him (and his teachings) to fail, but Jesus called him strong and steadfast.
“A man clothed in soft raiment?” They wanted a glamorous smooth-talker, but Jesus called him humble.
“A prophet?” People wanted to hear about the coming Messiah, but they didn’t actually want the Messiah to come. Jesus called him more than a prophet.
“Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” While the Old Testament prophets proclaimed, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive,” hundreds of years ago, John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” This made John greater than the prophets!
Why did Jesus need to confirm John the Baptist to this crowd?
Weren’t they already His followers?
Perhaps they wanted something more than what John and Jesus were offering them. Jesus often fed the crowds after a long day of preaching, and who would turn down free food?! Maybe it was to ease their conscience towards spiritual things, similar to how the uber-religious Pharisees lived. Jesus was no doubt popular in some cities, so following Him could mean a boost in their social status. Maybe they followed Jesus to please their family or friends.
Whatever the case, Jesus exposed their entitled, idle generation in so many words:
“Whereunto shall I liken this generation?”
“It [your generation] is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.”
Think back when you were a little child playing dress up and make believe. Children love to imitate grown-ups, playing doctor and house, and little girls walk down the aisle in mom’s wedding dress, pretending to lawfully marry the teddy bear. Kids in Bible days were no different. They loved to play weddings and funerals, pretending to rejoice and lament.
Don’t you hate it when you get together with a group of friends and no one can decide what to play, so you end up not playing anything at all? Jesus was comparing that generation to children who wanted to play, calling to their friends with music, but instead ended up sitting around playing nothing! They had every means to play (the costumes, the music, the act) but were dissatisfied doing it.
This generation was subjected to the greatest Preacher of all time, yet they were never better for it! It made no impression. They listened time and time again to His words of Life and wisdom… They were disappointed with the Message or the Messenger.
While we might not know their exact motive, there is one thing we do know about what they did with what they heard – they refused to act upon it. They wanted something more… something different. Maybe they didn’t even know what they wanted!
Jesus ends His sermon with this sober warning:
“But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom
in the day of judgment, than for thee.”
Those who know the truth and refuse to act on the truth (Bible salvation) will face greater condemnation than those who never heard the gospel story.
YOU make up your generation, beginning in your Youth Group. Your actions will impact your fellow Centennials and could even influence its future renaming. What will become of your generation? Will it be inundated with young adults who simply don’t know what they believe or why they do what they do?
Dear young lady, how about you – are you dissatisfied with the Bible? Are you looking for something more or new? Will you enter adulthood still wavering, insecure and unsure? Are you acting upon (not just hearing) the Words of Life that are constantly being set before you? Hold fast to the Word of God; let It not go: keep It, guard It… for It is your life. (Proverbs 4:13)