Monday, July 9, 2018

Times and Occasions

To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?” (Luke 7:31).

After Jesus’ speech about John the Baptist, some of the people praised God, but others were angry at Jesus (Luke 7:29–30). This provoked Jesus to condemn the people of that generation. He states that they are like children who refuse to play the game. First, the other children call to them to dance, but they refuse. Then the other children call them to play the mourning game, but still they refuse. Like such contrary children, the Pharisees and other leaders of Jesus’ generation were refusing the kingdom.

Jesus draws the analogy to John the Baptist and Himself. “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say ‘He has a demon’ ” (Luke 7:33). John was calling them to play the “mourning game.” John was practicing a form of asceticism, refraining from strong drink and even daily bread. The Pharisees, however, said John had a demon.

Then Jesus said, “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” ’ ” (Luke 7:34). Jesus had called them to dance, but they had refused that also. They tried to make Jesus look bad because He participated in the social life of the people, going to the wedding parties, drinking wine and enjoying normal food, and worst of all, befriending the “untouchables” of His generation.

Jesus concluded, “But wisdom is proved right by all her children” (Luke 7:35). The point of this aphorism is that a wise course of action is shown by the fruit that it bears. As the Old Testament wisdom literature (Ecclesiastes 3) shows us, there is a time to sing and dance, and a time to weep and mourn. There is a time when associating with the needy and lost, even to the point of joining in their feasts, is a very appropriate course of action for a man or woman of God. There are also times when withdrawing from society into rigorous discipline is appropriate.

Some people display a contentious spirit with respect to Jesus and find Him at fault no matter what He said or did. Like the Pharisees, they hope to excuse their rejection of Him in so doing. Be prepared to respond to such charges against the character of Christ.