Luke 7:31-34 (TPT)
31 Jesus continued, saying, “How could I describe the people of this generation? Can’t you see? 32 You’re like children playing games on the playground, complaining to friends, ‘You don’t like it when we want to play Wedding. And you don’t like it when we want to play Funeral. Why will you neither dance nor mourn?’
33 “When the prophet John came fasting and refused to drink wine, you said, ‘He’s crazy! There’s a demon in him.’ 34 Yet when the Son of Man came feasting and drinking, you said, ‘Look at this man! He is nothing but a glutton and a drunkard. He spends all his time with tax collectors and other notorious sinners.’
35 “Nevertheless, the wisdom of God will be proven true by the expressions of godliness in everyone who follows me.”
In our passage today, Jesus basically tells the Pharisees there is just no making them happy. Although their messages were similar—proclaiming the need for a relationship with God—John the Baptist was perceived very differently than Jesus. John invited people to repent, be baptized, and get ready for the Messiah; to move beyond dead religion in order to enjoy a relationship of blessing with God. The Pharisees rejected John’s message, because it was outside the Temple, too sad, required self-sacrifice (rather than animal sacrifice), and he was too odd and extreme for them as an individual; therefore, they labeled God’s messenger demonic. They would not accept that John actually spoke under the loving unction of God’s Spirit, so they could be prepared for the liberating Bridegroom and the Wedding feast Messiah would soon offer to the world.
Then, Jesus is revealed—as the fulfillment of John’s prophecy—and he is feasting, drinking wine, healing the lame, restoring broken lives, and performing miracle after miracle, and the Pharisees see him as too casual, self-indulging, lawless, and unprofessional to be their Messiah or Bridegroom; therefore, they labeled him demonic, too. The very Grace that offered them salvation was rejected, because this messenger of God did not make them happy either. Remember, arrogance opens the door to deception; we are to come humbly to God. Deception causes people to proclaim what is actually holy and true to be demonic and false because it does not make their flesh happy.
Interestingly, both John and Jesus accomplished the purpose for which they were sent whether or not anyone believed them. The proof of Truth is found in changed lives: 1) If we believe God sent John with the message of repentance, we will turn from wickedness and cry out to God for salvation; and 2) If we believe God sent Jesus to shed his blood in order to save and forgive us, we will welcome and respond to the work of grace and the godliness extended to us by the Holy Spirit. How could Jesus describe the people of this generation?
Prayer: Lord, I have heard the message of John and Jesus; please guide me toward expressions of godliness, so others will know I am following your Holy Spirit. Manifest your presence in and through me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.