Last Sunday we looked at Luke 7:28-35 where Jesus provides commentary on why so many in Jesus generation (especially of the Pharisees) had rejected him and John the Baptist. John was a great prophet that was in Jail and questioning whether he had misunderstood whether Jesus was "the one." It seemed clear before, but prison and a looming death sentence can try the faith of the best men. Jesus bends over in love to show him again, and even to honor him before the listening crowds.
Then Jesus replies with a parable. He says that his generation is like children that go the to market place (the place where you are supposed to play), and yet refuse to play no matter which game is suggested. One kid suggests they play the wedding game with music and dancing. "look, I brought flute." "Nope." Another says, "Well why don't we play funeral? We can act sad and cry and sing those funeral songs." "Get lost."
Why would Jesus tell this story? Because the pharisees and others claimed that they reason they didn't listen to Jesus or John was because of their methods. "John is strange, he lives in the wilderness, eats bugs, and wears strange clothes. He is always talking about judgment. He must be crazy, demon possessed. Jesus is always hanging out with the wrong people. John was an ascetic, but Jesus is a festival man. And he goes to the wrong parties. He must be a drunk himself. No self control. Junkie." That is what they said. "We aren't listening to these guys and repenting because of the way they do business." Jesus says: No, not really. You pretend to want to play, but in the end you aren't willing to sing or dance. The given reasons weren't the real reasons.
One of the takeaways for me, is that this passage shows the diversity of methods and ministries God will use. These men had different methods, but a similar message. They called people back to God in repentance. John did it as an Old Testament prophet. He lived a life of self denial. He wore strange clothes, ate grass hoppers and never drank wine or strong drink. Jesus did it as the messiah, the savior himself. Jesus did it with a full plate and a full glass of wine. He called the worst kind of people to the best thing of all: Forgiveness and Fellowship with God. And he did it in a way that depicted the very message he preached.