7634 - Playing Games


Today we’ll get to study what Jesus had to say about His cousin, John the Baptist.

We will explore Luke 7:24-35 today.

After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces.

But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
"`I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

"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.'

Friend, in this passage Jesus seeks to set straight the perspective regarding John the Baptist.

Jesus asked if the crowds had journeyed into the desert to see a common reed swayed in the air by the political pressures of the day? (The heads in the crowd denied this implication.) John was a fiery man of God declaring truth about sin and righteousness.

Then He asked if they had gone out to see someone in a tuxedo or fine clothes? Again the crowd reacted with a “No!” John was no rich man. His attire was of camel’s hair. He did not dress to please men.

“Did you go out to see a prophet?” Jesus asked. Then He gave true insight into John’s ministry. He was the one prophesied as the messenger sent by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. “No human on earth is greater than John,” Jesus said.

Then He adds, “The least one in the kingdom of God is greater than John.” The vast majority of the people gave affirmation. In this statement Jesus was saying that as great as John was on this earth, that the very least person in the spiritual kingdom of God would have much greater privileges than that which John experienced down here.

The crowd was made up of two vastly differing groups. First, there were common people from near and far who had gone out into the desert to hear John. Many of these people had come to agree with God’s truth about repentance and confession of sin, and they were convicted in their hearts. John baptized these as an indication that they had truly turned back to God. Even tax-collectors had seen the truth and turned to God.

But the group, which should have been most perceptive to these truths, the Pharisees and experts in the law, had actually closed their hearts and rejected God’s purpose for them. In their pride they denied that they too were sinful and needy of spiritual cleansing. So they had refused to be baptized by John.

Their blindness and stubborn attitude set the stage for the animosity and opposition these leaders would perpetuate until they finally succeeded in placing Jesus on the cross.

Jesus compared this group to children who played games in the market area. They played the flute and invited their friends and other children to dance, but they would not. Then they played funeral music and the other children would not cry and mourn as for a funeral.

Jesus implies this group made the rules to fit their mood, then react when others do not join in their games.

However, the rejection by the religious leaders would not hinder God’s plan from being fulfilled.