DayBreaks for 06/24/13 – Neither Dancing Nor Weeping
Luke 7:31-35 (MSG) – “How can I account for the people of this generation? They’re like spoiled children complaining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk but you were always too busy.’ John the Baptizer came fasting and you called him crazy. The Son of Man came feasting and you called him a lush. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
What a bold man Jesus was! For some reason, this passage had skipped my attention until one morning’s quite time in Ghana. Jesus wasn’t afraid to let his frustrations show, though I’m sure that we don’t know even a tenth of his frustration with mortals.
In context, some of John’s followers had just come to ask if Jesus was the Messiah, or if they should go away and look for someone else. No wonder Jesus was frustrated! John himself has testified to Jesus, and now even John was having doubts. These two emissaries asked their question and then observed for two or three hours while Jesus healed and wrought wonders. He then instructed them to go and tell John what they’d seen, then reinforces the greatness of John. Next, however, he lights into the fickleness of humanity.
I think that the problem many in Jesus’ day had with Jesus is the same problem many have today: the people of that generation didn’t get what they expected from Jesus. In short, they blamed Jesus for not dancing to their tune, for not fitting in with what they wanted the Messiah to be. They only wanted to sing and dance, not do anything that required repentance or effort to move toward holiness. They wanted entertainment and not spiritual reformation or anything hard.
This is the story of the American church and Americans today. We want show and glitz, not the hard words such as John and Jesus spoke. The Word is a two-edged sword and it cuts, causing us to bleed if we have a soft heart that can be cut.
The children in Jesus’ illustration complained that they didn’t sing (something that would have been done at a wedding) nor mourn (a funeral activity). John’s message was like the dirge and they refused to listen to him. Jesus was accused of revelry (drinking and feasting at weddings) and they rejected him.
We really don’t want what we often ask for, and when and if we do get it, we reject it and say we want something else. The last thing we want is conviction and the bad news (we are sinners destined for hell) that must of necessity precede the good news that sets us free.
PRAYER: The truth is hard for us to hear and we don’t like it when You back us into a corner and force us to confront the truth about what we are. Strip away our pre-conceived notions of what you are like and what you should do…and simply accept You for what You truly are! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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