Summary: In some ways, what was a parable for them, becomes for us an historical lesson. We look back to see that wisdom was indeed exonerated by a growing kingdom that could not have been through force or the means of men. And we see that when we pout and stam
Luke 7: 31-35
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.’
"They are like a group of children who complain to their friends, ‘You don’t like it if we play wedding and you don’t like it if we play funeral.’" (Living Bible)
"They’re like spoiled children complaining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk but you were always too busy.’" (The Message, p.135)
They are like a group of spoiled children. Period. Spoiled children need no explaining. We’ve all known someone who’s had some. Maybe you’ve been blessed with some yourself.
The whining. The crying. The foot stamping. The screaming. The Stop, Drop, and Roll drill for which they are trained to respond to only in public and at the sound of the word, "No".
John was the bell and telltale chime of the Ice Cream truck. Jesus is the ice cream man. And in Luke chapter 7 we find him surrounded, in Galilee, by reaching, waving, grabbing, pulling, shoving sticky little hands in the air as one calls out for chocolate and another for strawberry and another for a pop-up and another for star cluster…a butter brickle, a peach charm, a lemon-banana twist…
All Jesus has brought with him - is Chocolate chip.
Oh yes, it’s Deluxe French Chocolate chip.
But that’s just not good enough for the traditionalist who always takes a single dip strawberry cone.
That’s just not good enough for the risk taker who has her heart set on a double dip of cosmopolitan.
It’s just not Chocolate enough for the chocolate lovers, and for the ‘Nilla wafers in the crowd it is polluted with chips of chocolate.
The chunks of chocolate chip are too large, even, for those who enjoy regular chocolate chip. And the vanilla is too genuinely yellow for those who have grown accustomed to bleach white artificially flavored ice cream with absolutely no specks of vanilla bean.
But, I suppose that’s to be expected.
The longer we wait -- The longer we have to dream about it, and imagine -- The more the reality becomes anti-climactic. The Big disappointment—the Big Let-Down.
Some of those U.S. Presidents who are regarded as failures, are remembered that way because of the high tide of expectations that washed them into office. Jackson, Grant, Buchanan, Taft, Harding, Eisenhower, Carter… All pulled back into the sea of historical obscurity by the low tide of reality. For some the office was simply above them. Others discovered that running a country was a lot different than leading an Army. Yet, none of them failed. None of them are what we would call "failures." They just had no intention of doing in office what many imagined they would do. They made hard decisions that were unpopular. In some cases, the challenges of national crises were more than the leadership of one man could overcome in four short years. They were Batman trapped in a plot written for Superman. Batman is fine when you’re facing a mugger in a dark alley, but when gigantic asteroids are plummeting from the sky…
On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln astounds us. He became an American icon. Was he great because he lead the American people through a war? Not necessarily. Many Presidents have guided us through wars –even "World Wars". Was he great because he managed the nation through civil unrest? Maybe. But many national leaders have guided the nation through social conflict.
I suggest that he is remembered as a great president because nobody expected much out of him. He was a third party candidate who won because the Whig party and the Democratic party were split. The news media hounded him. Colleagues ridiculed him.
The extraordinary things he accomplished while president stand alone. We can stand back and appreciate the magnitude of them. But others who came before and after who washed up into the White House on the waves of high public hopes suffer in their legacies because whatever they did, whatever they began, is dwarfed by the backdrop of enormous and many times unrealistic expectations. Their best efforts, their greatest accomplishments, fell far short of the American dream.
The Messiah has come. The Kingdom is unfolding before our eyes! Jesus is here! The blind see! The crippled walk! The deaf hear! The dead are raised!
"Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Luke 7:20)
"Reachy", "grabby", sticky hands pressing in on the Master.
"No matter what was suggested, they did not want to do it; and no matter what was offered, they found fault in it" (Barclay, p.10).