“To what then should I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance;
we wailed in mourning, yet you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
Speaking of a different group of people to those that had accepted His teachings (v.29) Jesus compares the Pharisees of v.30 to a group of children that only want people to do things their way. If you’ve got or had or ever spent time with younger children, you’ll know exactly how this is: everything can be provided for them, yet there is always something that is not-quite-right.
For the Pharisees, John the Baptist was too severe and hard-line (v.33) and Jesus was too full of liberty and love (v.34). Neither John nor Jesus were dancing to their beat and they didn’t like it. But, as Jesus said, wisdom is vindicated by all her children (v.35). His point is that the correctness and truthfulness of their teachings is demonstrated by the followers they had attracted (all her children).
This is a delicate point to make, isn’t it, as many have been led astray by charismatic and catastrophically wrong teachers. What makes Jesus’ claim here different? Well, as the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. People would have seen the lives that John and Jesus led, people would have seen the lives that their disciples and followers led and then decided if it was worth following and emulating.
As people saw and decided then, so people will see the truth of your life now. They will see if you are simply wanting people to do things your way, see whether the life you claim to live is actually visible, and most people will make a decision as to whether they want to pursue the Christian life based on what they see around them.
Today then, think on and live out the words of Matthew 5.16:
“In the same way, let your light shine before people,
so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.”