[Jesus said] “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Matthew 11:2-19
Sunday morning my discipleship class was tiny. Summer is officially underway around here, and our church seems to have been emptying out as people head to the mountains or the beach. But a small group often translates into great conversation, and that was certainly the case in our ongoing study of Matthew.
This week my class was scheduled to talk about chapter 11:2-19; we found the entire passage very helpful in light of the precarious state of our world, and last week’s Orlando massacre in particular.
JESUS’ COMMENTARY ON TODAY: I especially love the way Jesus characterizes the culture, and his words seem to fit today like a glove. I can just see him calling out contentious politicians, and those I’m-right-you’re-wrong religious people who are so fond of pointing fingers at others:
“You’re like children in the street yelling names at one another! Your double standards are laughable, and your inconsistency is blatant. First you say John is crazy because he’s an ascetic and hardly eats or drinks – then I get hung out to dry because I love all people regardless of who they are, I enjoy dinner parties, and I most certainly do eat and drink!”
That’s when Jesus probably pauses, waits for the murmuring and the indignation to settle down, fixes the entire audience with his sweeping, penetrating, gaze, and drops one more pearl of divine “aha” on them:
“Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds…”
You know, people, we can talk talk talk all we want; we can posture, point out the faults in the other guy, and make a loud parade touting everything that’s great about ourselves, our party, our church, our campaign, our rightness; we can spend millions of dollars closing the deal… But if we are wise at all, the evidence of our intelligence, shrewdness, smartness and circumspection will speak volumes.
Are we good news people? Do we lead good news lives?
“You will know them,” Jesus said later in Matthew, “by the fruit that grows on their tree.”
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, you will know them by their fruit.” – Matthew 7:15-20