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(Read Luke 7:24-33)
Those last verses really struck me in light of the times in which we live. Jesus points us to a profound truth that will completely change your life if you recognize it. When you live your life to please an audience of one, some people will hate your performance. If your sole motivation for living is to please God, there will always be detractors who think that you have lost your marbles.
You see, back in first century Israel there couldn’t have been two people more different in their personality than John and Jesus. Even though they were cousins, their lifestyles were night and day. If you wanted to find John you had to take a trip to the desert. He fasted and lived a very ascetic lifestyle. Nobody ever considered putting John on the guest list to their party, because he was just too weird. John’s ministry called him to live outside the culture and shout at it from the fringes.
On the other hand, Jesus lived right in the middle of the culture. If you were looking for Jesus, you might go to town and find out where a party was going on and more than likely there you would find Him. Jesus lived his life in the middle of people, he loved them passionately and they loved him back. His ministry called him to interact with as many people as possible, and to touch them right where they lived.
But as you can imagine, both Jesus and John were criticized for the way they lived. When the religious leaders heard about the simple yet offbeat lifestyle of John they said he was a crazy person. Why else would he live out in the desert and look like some kind of Tarzan guy? But the same people who criticized John for being so abnormal, pointed their finger at Jesus and said, "Why He’s just like everybody else, there’s nothing special about him! He hangs out with normal people and does normal stuff.” From what Luke tells us in verse 30 it is obvious that the ones who are leveling these charges were the Pharisees. They saw themselves as the sole possessors of holiness, and from their perspective anyone who wasn’t like them must be corrupt.
So Jesus tells them a little parable. (Read vv. 31-32) Jesus challenged the Pharisees by saying, “You guys want to choose the song to decide how we dance.” The problem was that the Pharisees were not the audience that Jesus and John were dancing to please. They performed to please an audience of one and the result was a performance that ticked some people off immensely.
Have you ever felt that pressure? You know what I mean, the pressure to change the way you think and act because of the way other people might look at you.
You might feel it when an off color joke is told and you have to decide if you think it is funny or not. Do you risk being thought of as a prude or do you just go along with it and blend into the crowd?
It’s possible that you feel the pressure when you make lifestyle choices about your family. Will both spouses work or will one stay home? Can the family afford this luxury or will it stretch us so thin that it adds stress and constricts our ability to be generous? The culture we live in pushes us to have more and more, but a legitimate question we must ask is “What
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