“Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation, and to what are they like? They are like unto children that sit in the marketplace, and call one to another; who say,
‘We piped unto you, and ye did not dance; we wailed, and ye did not weep.’
For John the Baptist is come eating no bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, ‘He hath a demon.’
The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!’
And wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:31-35).
Jesus has sharp words for those in “this generation.” They were never satisfied– they always found some reason for not believing. Many did not approve of John the Baptist because he lived in the desert, eating locusts and honey, and not drinking, and preached righteousness (cf. Matthew 3:4, Luke 3:1-17). Jesus lived among the people, eating bread and drinking wine, and they condemned Him for doing that!
Jesus understands that, in the end, it does not matter what He does or does not do– the unconvinced will find reasons to justify being unconvinced. John’s statement toward the end of Revelation ought not be taken to extremes, but does present reality fairly well:
“He that is unrighteous, let him do unrighteousness still: and he that is filthy, let him be made filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him do righteousness still: and he that is holy, let him be made holy still” (Revelation 22:11).
In the end, it was only probably a very few people, if any, who were genuine seekers and yet disturbed by Jesus eating and drinking, and that with sinners. Those who were willing to consider who Jesus was and what He did would understand that He was performing His mission of seeking and saving the lost of Israel who could be redeemed (cf. Luke 19:1-8). People had really already made up their minds– they just then searched for whatever reason would work to justify it. The fact that Jesus ate and drank, and that with sinners, was an easy justification. So was the belief that He was born in Nazareth, and thus could not be the Messiah (cf. John 7:41, 52). The Pharisees were willing to ascribe His miracles to the power of Satan in order to “save face,” only to be more fully exposed (cf. Matthew 12:22-37)!
Is our generation that much different than His generation? Many people find reasons for not believing in Jesus. Perhaps you have some reasons that you do not believe that Jesus is the Christ. What are those reasons? Are they really legitimate reasons, or are they justifications to make you feel better about the decision you made in advance? Could any amount of evidence be provided to help you understand that Jesus really is all that the Scriptures say He is?
In the end, let us know that wisdom is indeed justified. Bad reasoning gets exposed. Desperate arguments are seen for what they really are. Let us be honest with ourselves: are deep-seated difficulties, for whatever reason, really worth the cost of the soul? Can we see that Jesus was a good man, and that He taught good things to which people should listen? If so, how can we deny that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, without saying that we think that an egomaniacal lunatic is a good teacher?
Anyone can come up with reasons to not accept what Jesus teaches. But are we willing to take another look and really explore not just what we believe, but also why we believe it, and to dispense with that which is false, even if it requires a change in our lives and a dose of humility?
Let us consider what Jesus taught and did and ask ourselves– are we like “this generation,” or will we step out, be a little different, and serve the risen Lord?
Ethan R. Longhenry