SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
Passage: Luke 7:31-35,
“And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying:
‘We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by all her children.””
Memory Verse: Luke 7:34 (NIV).
“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.””
Some people believe that the voice of men, is the voice of God. Due to this notion some people allow themselves to be influenced much more by what people say about them or tell them than what God has designed for them. But it is important to note that in many cases the voices of men have turned out to be the voice of the devil. In this edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today we want to find out how Jesus and John the Baptist were perceived by the people of their time against God’s divine plan.
After Jesus had praised John the Baptist in public, some Pharisees and experts of the law refused to accept what Jesus said concerning John. Realizing what the Pharisees and experts of the law were thinking, Jesus compared himself, his disciples, John and his disciples as well as the Pharisees and Scribes with children sitting in the market place. He divided them into those who played flute, those who played a dirge and those who refused to dance. This comparison is a bit difficult to explain, however, I would try to make it as simple as possible. Jesus and his disciples represent the children who played the flute and expected their friends, the scribes and the Pharisees to dance. Jesus and his disciples played the sweet and melodious tunes of the Gospel for the Pharisees and the scribes to rejoice and dance but they refused to dance. He also compared John and his disciples to those who sang a dirge for the Pharisees who refused to respond to the Gospel. John hoped they would mourn, but they refused to buy into the wretched, the continuous fasting and simple life which John presented to them. This means that the Pharisees and the scribes refused to listen to the joyful side of the gospel as Jesus presented it to them, as well as the mournful side of the Gospel which is characterized by John’s strong message of sin and repentance. They neither listened to Jesus nor John.
There are many people in our generation who act like the Pharisees. They have refused to accept the Gospel no matter how it is presented to them. They kick against those who speak against sin, live simple lives and remind people about heaven and hell. They also criticize those who emphasize fasting and prayers. These same people, because they do not want to accept the Gospel, go about criticizing those who preach on prosperity, motivation, financial breakthrough, healing and deliverance. They always have something wrong to say against messengers of God. They could be best described as the Pharisees and Scribes of our time who found nothing good in the ministries of Jesus and John. It is important however to remind ourselves that whenever we rise against true messengers of God, we rise against God and the consequences are obvious.
Instead of accepting the Gospel presented by John, they described him as demoniac or mad man. It is all because John lived a humble lifestyle, feeding on wild honey and locusts and wearing animal skins and girdle. John did not live a luxurious life but a life of fasting and prayers which the Pharisees found to be on the extreme and therefore found it too hard to accept. These same Pharisees could not accept the joyful life which Jesus did by eating and drinking and abstaining from much fasting and prayers as John and his disciples did. They described him as a glutton and drunkard. They described Jesus as a friend of sinners and tax collectors because he mingled with all sorts of people rejected by the Pharisees. The Pharisees and the Scribes found everything about Jesus and John wrong. They created the above erroneous impressions about John and Jesus and wanted everyone to believe what they said. Yet Jesus and John were unperturbed by the utterances of their accusers because they knew they were not speaking with the voice of God. They spoke with the voice of the devil and wanted everyone to believe in them. Even though they said so many negative things about Jesus and John, they were not discouraged; they continued with the missions assigned them by God.
What Jesus and John did are worth emulating. They did not accept the voices of the Pharisees and Scribes as God’s. They continued to listen to the voice of the God who sent them and accomplished their missions. In the end, Jesus, the wisdom of God is proved right by the virtue of the many people who have been touched and saved through his ministry. Should Jesus and John had listened to their detractors they would never have been able to accomplish their missions. In the same way, messengers of God in our time must refuse to listen to the voices of their detractors and focus on what the LORD has commanded them to pursue. Satan will do everything possible through his agents to divert our attention. He would get people to say all sorts of bad things about us even when we have done nothing wrong. We should remember our enemies are not God. Therefore their voices are not God’s. Our ears must be opened to listen and obey the voice of God instead of the voices of human beings. This however does not mean we should reject the counsel of God through his faithful servants. May the Lord helps us to follow his command prompts even as we snub the discouraging and demeaning words of the enemy!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.