Today’s parable is a short one, but is a good one to think about. You can find it in Matt. 11: 16-19 and Luke 7:31, 32. Although I have only been posting one version of the parables, go ahead and read each instance of the parable. You can often receive further insight by studying the different gospel perspectives. Here is today’s in Luke:
“To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep’.” (Luke 7:31,32 NASB)
In today’s language, it might look something like this:
What shall I call people of today’s world? You are like children playing together. Some call to the others and say “We sang songs, and you did not dance; we told sad stories, and you did not cry.”
The children of the parable appear to be God’s chosen people, the Israelites. The ones that call to the others are the prophets sent to the Israelites by God. The messages from God (songs in the parable) spoken by the prophets were ignored. They refused to rejoice when the message was joyful, or mourn when the message was sad, or repent when the message was convicting. God (and as a result, Jesus) is constantly reprimanding His children for ignoring the prophets and the messages they brought.
The context of this parable is centered around Jesus as He is speaking to the people about John the Baptizer. Jesus tells the people that John was the prophet they had been waiting for. One of the many signs the people were waiting for before the coming of their Messiah was the return of Elijah:
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers totheir children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5,6 NASB)
Jesus tells the people that John was indeed Elijah (at least the symbolic reincarnation of Elijah). Some believed this, others were skeptical.
One of the problems that faced the Jews was that it is one thing to know what to look for, it is another thing entirely to recognize it when you see it. God promised His children special signs to point to their deliverance. Unfortunately, everyone had their own ideas of what those signs would look like when they were fulfilled. Many of the Jews were expecting a true resurrection of Elijah, Elijah in the flesh, so they rejected John and his teaching. Others were expecting a powerful, earthly king to deliver them from the Romans, so they rejected Jesus, the holy King.
Luckily for us, we have a chance to learn from their mistakes. We have to be careful not to let our own expectations get in the way of what God is truly trying to accomplish. He will exceed our expectations every time if we will only let Him.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20, 21 NASB).