Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Experts claim that in the first three years of life a child is not capable of understanding true sharing and sacrifice. They are self-centered and want what they want when they want it. At around age four, they begin to understand the concept of giving, but unless it is nurtured they will quickly decide to remain in their selfish ways. They will continue seeking to fulfill their lives by getting more for themselves. They will become little “devils” and soon alienate their peers. They will grow up to be teenagers who are hurtful and hateful, seeking to improve their own lives at the expense of others. They will become adults who are judgmental of others. If someone dares to point out their flaws and offer words of correction, they quickly jump on the defensive and attempt to discredit the criticism and solidify their own position. Such was the status of the people of Jesus’ generation.
Luke 7:31-35 “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
Jesus compared the people to children at play. When they would get together at their playground called the marketplace, they would imitate the adults having either a wedding dance or a funeral procession. One group of children would decide to have fun by pretending to play flutes in celebration of a marriage, and the other children would not be interested in that game. The same would happen when they tried to mourn and wail as if in a funeral march. No matter what games were chosen by some, the others would reject them.
Jesus said that the adults of his time were the same way. John the Baptist came with the seriousness of a funeral procession and preached repentance from sin or suffer death. He modeled the seriousness of the message with his lifestyle choices. This should have appealed to every person who was self-righteous, and they should have praised his choices and external appearance. But self-righteousness is a destructive bondage that refuses to admit wrong, so repentance was out of the question. They looked past the outward appearance and judged the condition of his heart to protect their own.
Jesus came with the same message of repentance, but wrapped in the clothing of grace and love. His emphasis was not on the external appearance but rather on the inner condition of the heart. But He too was rejected by the self-righteous people because they did not want to acknowledge the sin in their own hearts. They instead chose to focus on His externals, believing that if they could prove an action to be wrong then the message of the heart could also be rejected.
This brings us to one key point for today – wisdom does not judge others to protect self. God has called us to be children of wisdom: His wisdom. God’s wisdom is first and foremost humble, and humility never honors self. Humble people do not seek to build themselves up at the expense of others. Humble people do not cover their own sins and shortcomings by pointing out the defects in others. Humble people are not children who reject the suggestions of others, but surrender their own desires for the betterment of others. Humble people do not criticize other Christians because their methods are different than their own. Humble people expose their own weaknesses so that the grace and love of Jesus can have its full effect on their lives, which in turn will witness to others of His transforming power.
Ask yourself the question that stems from Jesus’ final statement in this passage – Does my life prove that I am a child of wisdom, living humbly and selflessly?
Now answer the question honestly.