Friday, May 24: They are like children sitting in the marketplace
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Luke, which emphasizes the way God acts among people and across history through Christ.
Read Luke 7:31-35
Jesus went on to say, "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 pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.'
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is proved right by all her children."
The people of this generation who Jesus refers to are the leaders who had rejected both John and Jesus. They had rejected John in part because of his simple, ascetic lifestyle. Neither his clothes nor his food choices were stylish: camel's hair and locusts. Ugh. He was no fun to be around. But then they rejected Jesus in part because he ate and drank with notoriously sinful people. Their hypocrisy was showing. They can't have it both ways.
The issue for Jesus was not whether you live a simple life in the wilderness or a festive life in the city. Either can reflect a heart of love for God and others.