If they were kids, says Jesus, they’d be that group of kids that just couldn’t play well with others. No matter the game, if it wasn’t their idea they’d just take their ball and go home. Unless they were “first captain second pick,” or “second captain first pick,” they weren’t prepared to be on a team. And though they didn’t really know what they wanted, they knew what they didn’t want when they saw it. No pleasing them, says Jesus.
“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at Him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” ~ Jesus (Luke 7:31-35 ESV)
John the Baptist comes to the barrenness of the desert, living in extreme austerity, calling people to repentance for sin, and the religious leaders avoid dealing with his message by labeling him a nut. Demon possessed, they say, he’s out of his mind.
Jesus comes to the feasting tables of those He created, living as men lived, calling people to the kingdom of God, and the religious leaders dismiss His message because of the company He keeps. Only a sinner hangs out with sinners, they declare, he’s out of our league.
No pleasing them, says Jesus. No reaching them, warns the Savior. Pick up the flute and pretend you’re at a wedding, they don’t want to dance. Wail out a lament, and have a pretend funeral, they won’t cry. Doesn’t matter the song, they won’t sing.
But the kids who embrace the pretend wedding, hear the band strike up and will “bop-boppity-bop” . . . and the kids who can put on the sad face when they hear the minor key and play along with the funeral game . . . those kids are the children of God. They are those, who by heaven’s grace, have come to know heaven’s melody and heaven’s lyric.
The religious leaders of the day, like so many of our day, wanted to pick and choose what righteousness should look like . . . how the message of God should be delivered . . . what the Messiah should look like and how He should act. And they never found it. It wasn’t this . . . and it wasn’t that . . . and they never found out what it was.
But for those whose eyes have seen Wisdom, . . . who have, by the Spirit’s illuminating and regenerating power, recognized Jesus as the Shepherd come for His sheep . . . who have humbled themselves, recognizing their sin and their need . . . and who have, by grace, believed Jesus came to save sinners . . . who have heard the song of heaven and embraced it’s tune . . . for those, there is a peace and a quiet confidence knowing that they’ve found it. Or rather, that it has found them.
No longer dissatisfied with this or discontent with that, submitting to Christ there is a stability. While the pretend songs of earth can only lead to dissatisfaction of soul, the new song of heaven envelopes the soul and brings rest and contentment.
And Wisdom, God’s beloved Son, is acknowledged by His children as the Righteous One . . . and what’s more, as the source of righteousness for all who believe.
And when He plays the flute, we dance.
Dance by His grace . . . Dance for His glory.