DECEMBER 11. ADVENT, FRI. WK. 2. (B) MATT. 11. 16-19
Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:
“We played the pipes for you,
and you wouldn’t dance;
we sang dirges,
and you wouldn’t be mourners.”
‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.’
What Jesus is demonstrating here is firstly, how much effort God puts into guiding and inviting his people to listen, to learn and to live in accord with the Will of God, but no matter what he does, the message is consistently rejected by the population!
He likened the situation to the behaviour of children playing games, rather than to mature creatures listening to the teachings and wishes of their Creator!
And is this not the way many of us listen to the teachings of the Gospel; - seeing it as dealing with some of the most important of life’s issues; - but also seeing it as a message that does not need to be taken seriously?
And Christ goes on to illustrate the problem with two very real examples of how his people reacted to the “Messages from God”:
First, there was the message of John the Baptist, who was clearly God’s Messenger as he was calling on the crowds to repent and turn away from sin. John came as the person the Prophet Isaiah prophesied as “A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths’”.
He was dressed in clothing made of camel’s hair, had a leather belt around his waist, ate locusts and wild honey, and preached a life of discipline and austerity as the way to “prepare for the coming of the Redeemer”.
Then there was the message of Christ, who came into the world as a helpless infant, dependent on the care of human parents, who lived a hidden and obscure life for thirty years, who “ate and drank with sinners”, and who preached mercy, love, and forgiveness!
When John came “neither eating nor drinking, they said, “He is possessed.”! When Christ came “Eating and drinking, they said, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”
The point Christ was clearly making is that no matter what format is used to deliver the Christian message, be it self-denial and the Cross; - or kindness, mercy, and forgiveness; - both messages will be seen as “not right” or “inappropriate” to today’s world!
And the reason for this non-acceptance of the message?
Pride and self-love; - together with a desire our present selfish way of life “not be disturbed!”