Luke 9:23–24 (LEB) And he said to them all, “If anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life on account of me, this person will save it.”
Luke 9:40-41 (LEB) … they were not able to [cast out the demon].”
So Jesus answered and said, “O unbelieving and perverted generation! ⌊How long⌋ will I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here!”
Here is a simple question. Who does Jesus call perverts? Our societies, will use that word to describe particular people; however, since God is our intellectual foundation and Jesus is our salvation, it should be rather important to note who they call “perverts.” To pervert something is to make something curved when it was straight, or to make something that was running efficiently, to now run in a malfunctioned manner.
Jesus in Luke 9 says that famous quote about taking up your cross and following Him. To lose your worldly life, but find a new and better one in Him. Thus, with Jesus in a close context of saying this, and if He was going to use the word “pervert,” then one might suppose He would find a man caught with a hooker, and say, “look, this pervert has not taken up his cross to follow me.” However, that is certainly not the case here in Luke 9. Rather, the Scriptures found it important to highlight Jesus using the word pervert, but in a different context. Again, Jesus is still in near context of saying, “take up your cross and follow Me.” And soon later He points out some “Perverts,” who were not faithfully, taking up their cross. What we learn from Jesus’ use of a pervert is that bearing one’s cross is more than the obvious ethics of, do not murder, and help the poor, (etc.). To carry your cross, is to carry “faith.”
The followers of Jesus were asked to cast out a demon. This takes a level of faith to do this. In fact, dear readers, including you, how many people do you know that if Jesus ask you to cast out a demon, you have full confidence you/they can do it? This is the context that Jesus followers found themselves in. Their faith failed to produce this “goodness in the land of the living.” When it was exposed to Jesus that His personally trained disciples could not perform this basic act of ministry Jesus yells out, “O unbelieving and perverted generation!”
And so, the “perverts” were His very own apostles and other followers. Jesus discovered His disciples were not taking up their cross (putting off their old worldly unbelief and self-weakness), and following Him (putting on the new man who is filled with faith, courage and heavenly power). To carry your cross, is to carry miracle working “faith.” This Kingdom of God, or the new creation of the Christian, is a straight line. This straight line is faith, courage, and power. For a Christian to be weak, unbelieving, and fearful, is to make this straight line curved and bent. It is outright perversion.
Jesus yells out in public that His disciple were Perverts for not having the faith to cast out demons and work miracles. Imagine if that was you on the receiving end of Jesus’ outburst? What if you were being yelled at, in front of other people, by Jesus, that you are a pervert for not having faith to work miracles? Would you still follow Him? Would you be offended? What if you were hoping for Jesus to find an adulteress man to shame for not taking up his cross, when it was you He shamed for not taking up your cross, because you are a pervert who could not work miracles by your faith?
Thank God, the disciples did not leave Jesus. They received His rebuke, and continued to look to Him for help. One day not soon after, power came down from heaven and clothed them, so that even their shadows were more effective in ministry than entire churches today will ever be.