Do we want to be remembered like the scribes and Pharisees who will be known only for their opposition to John and Jesus, or will we be beacons of light in a dark world in imitation of the latter?
Matthew 11:16-19 - The Unteachable
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on Matthew 11:16-19. Listen.
(Jesus said:) “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
I have been teaching and preaching for nearly twenty years and discovered that some people are unteachable. They are so locked into their ideologies that they are not open to the truth (even though they often claim to be open-minded). And they find a reason to disregard anything presented to them, often without any recourse to logic. That's what Jesus is talking about here in this statement that seems like a riddle: "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn."
Let us understand this. Imagine a group of children playing music in the marketplace. They begin to play wedding music, but people shout, "No. We don't want to dance today." So the group plays funeral music, but the people again shout, "No. We don't want to act sad today." No matter what the children played, the people were unhappy.
It was the same thing with the Jews in Jesus' time. John the Baptist appeared on the horizon leading an austere life, inviting people to repent, but people said he had a demon. Then Jesus appeared, inviting people to join him in celebrating God's kingdom, and they accused him of being a glutton and drunkard.
We find the same thing happening today as well. We are selective about what we hear. When we don't hear what we want, not only do we close our hearts to the message of God, we sit on the sidelines hurling abuse at those who proclaim his message. We find fault with them, just like the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' time accusing John of being possessed and Jesus of messianic pretense.
But Jesus says that "wisdom is vindicated by her deeds." Although the scribes and Pharisees aren't there to see it, the ministries of John and Jesus are still impacting the world, while the former are a mere footnote in history. So, the question for us is: Do we want to be remembered like the scribes and Pharisees who will be known only for their opposition to John and Jesus, or will we be beacons of light in a dark world in imitation of the latter?
May the Spirit be with you.