Saturday 03 February 2018

Bible Book:

“To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like?” (v. 31)

Luke 7:31-35 Saturday 3 February 2018

Psalm: Psalm 14


Jesus ends the passage about John the Baptist that we had been considering on Wednesday and Thursday with a little saying or parable about a group of children playing lively and slow music, probably the music of weddings and funerals. It shows a bit of Jesus’ humour and humanity, yet the content is a little ambiguous. What is not known is whether the story is of one group of children who first played wedding music and then funeral music, discovering that neither satisfied their audience. Another alternative is there was one group of children playing lively music and another group whose music was a dirge and neither would join in with the other.

Yet the application is clear, and you can almost hear Jesus laughing as he says it. ‘John was very austere and serious and you didn’t like that or join in with him. I came as completely the opposite and you don’t like this either!’ Jesus was in no way criticising John’s approach. Rather he was despairing at those who would reject the purposes of God however it was presented.

For the second time in this set of passages, Jesus refers to the tax collectors (Luke 7:29). It can be very easy to assume that they were all corrupt traitors working for the Roman empire. The truth is that most would likely have been in the employ of Herod Antipas, the Jewish ruler. Whilst there were some, maybe even many, who were dishonest, it would be wrong to write them all off as crooks. Equally wrong would be to assume that all Pharisees were uncaring towards the ordinary people and rejecting of Jesus’ message. Yet Luke’s Gospel often uses these two groups in opposition to one another to speak of those normal people who so readily responded to Jesus and those in authority who generally didn’t.

The passage ends with reference to wisdom. In the Old Testament (eg Proverbs 8-9) Wisdom is often personified as a woman, maybe the female personification of God’s purposes. Whilst many rejected both John and Jesus, those who did respond positively were witnesses to God’s wisdom demonstrated in both men.

To Ponder

  • Who do you see as the equivalents to tax collectors and Pharisees in today’s society?
  • What are the potential positives and pitfalls of favouring a more austere or more radical approach to the ministry of the Church?
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