May 5 - Children in the Marketplace

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Matthew 11:16-19

“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.”

Read that passage again.  I suspect that in any given day you can apply it to people and their criticism of just about anything. We are never satisfied … with our government, with our schools, with corporations, with ourselves.  No one can do anything right – there will always be criticism.

John the Baptist came as a very holy and sedate man. He lived simply and more than likely wasn't terribly social. He preached repentance and holiness … and he was labeled as a one who has a demon. So … they couldn't handle that type of simple living without accusing him of something awful.

Now, Jesus came into his ministry and taught a very different type of love for God. One that found itself in giving and community.  He spent time living among the people who not only needed to hear his message, but were willing to listen and open their hearts to change.

He was derided for spending time with sinners; accused of gluttony and drunkenness.

Like those in the marketplace who refused to participate in anything that was offered to them, whether it was songs of joy or songs of mourning, Jesus accuses his listeners of refusing to listen to the message. Nothing was going to draw them to the kingdom of God. Nothing would satisfy them.

The thing is, both men – John and Jesus – were killed because of their unacceptable message.  When people couldn't have the gospel presented to them on their own terms, they rejected it.  When they weren't in charge of the message, they dismissed it.

Are you open to the message, no matter what it might be?  Are you open to the message, no matter who might be delivering it to you?  Are you open to hear what God has to say to you … no matter what?