So if you have been following and reading along with us the last few weeks we have been thinking about the song, “This Old House”; the sad and creepy ending of the book of Ecclesiastes in chapter 12; what some have thought to be the meaning; the existential angst that takes place as we age and our ideas of home have to change; and we have touched on the whole societies notion of home and how it has changed.  If you have a home, a cabin at the lake and a place you go to in Arizona in the winter, my guess is that there may be some confusion as to where “home” is.

The image of home in Ecclesiastes is sad and depressing.  The image of home in the preaching of Jesus is frightening.  William Barclay called it a ‘compact and eerie little parable about a haunted house’. It doesn’t get much attention in sermons at least I have never heard one preached, and I imagine that in Bible study most just choose to ignore it.

Matthew 12:43-45 43“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

This image of the haunted house comes as the direct result of people looking at Jesus and hearing Jesus and hating the results of His preaching and His  “being” mercy.  As one commentator puts it “judgment is pictured as taking place in and by the revelation of God. The good news makes of the generation who heard it an empty, swept, and furbished house. Such a house is an invitation to the augmented powers of evil. Men who will not be filled by the Christ cannot remain empty; and God’s judgment is that men get what they invite. The tragic and terrifying thing is that the invitation is scrawled, as it were, across the pages of the neglected and rejected Gospel.”  This was spoken to the generation that Jesus was speaking to.  His mission to that generation’s repentance made them even more unrepentant.  His mission to change their hearts made their hearts more the dwelling place of demons than it was before.  We have to unpack that in terms of being home alone and what really is the nature of salvation.  It is practical and part of our day to day life and it is a bit frightening as well.

This has to do with the principalities and powers that we struggle with each day and demonic nature of our very religious instincts.   More tomorrow.