Scripture: Matthew 11:16-19
16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, 17 `We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon’; 19 the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
Meditation: The prophets remind us that God’s kingdom is open to those who are teachable and receptive to his word. Jesus’ parable about disappointed playmates challenge us to examine whether we are selective to only hear what we want to hear. The children in Jesus’ parable react with dismay because they cannot get anyone to join in their musical medley. They complain that if they play their music at weddings, no one will dance or sing; and if they play at funerals, it is the same. This refrain echoes the words of Ecclesiastes 3:4 — there is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. Are you in tune with the message of the kingdom or reign of God? Jesus’ message of the kingdom of God is good news and it produces true joy and spiritual freedom for those who will listen; but it is also a warning for those who refuse to listen. Why did the message of John the Baptist and the message of Jesus meet with deaf ears and with stiff resistance? It was out of jealously and spiritual blindness that the scribes and Pharisees attributed John the Baptist’s austerities to the devil and they attributed Jesus’ table fellowship as evidence for messianic pretense. They succeeded in frustrating God’s plan for their lives because they had closed their hearts to the message of John the Baptist and now to Jesus’ message. What can make us spiritually dull and slow to hear God’s voice? Like the generation of Jesus’ time, our age is marked by indifference and contempt, especially in regards to the things of heaven. Indifference dulls our ears to God’s voice and to the good news of the gospel. Only the humble of heart can find joy and favor in God’s grace. Do you know the joy of the gospel and is you life in tune with Jesus’s message of hope and salvation?
“Lord, open my ears to hear the good news of your kingdom and set my heart free to love and serve you joyfully. May nothing keep me from following you wholeheartedly.”
(c) 2002 Don Schwager