Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 5 Study # 4
November 9, 2008
32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.
1901 ASV Translation
32 They are like unto children that sit in the marketplace, and call one to another; who say, We piped unto you, and ye did not dance; we wailed, and ye did not weep.
33 For John the Baptist is come eating no bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a demon.
34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold, a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
35 And wisdom is justified of all her children.
- I. Jesus' Comparison of "the Men of This Generation".
- A. Jesus' meaning of "the men of this generation".
- B. Jesus' comparison of "this generation" to children in the market place.
- 1. His choice of the word for "children" is a choice that Matthew used to describe Him at the time when Herod was seeking to kill Him and the wise men came to Him in Bethlehem. Luke 1:59 and 2:21 uses the term of an eight-day-old baby, John 16:21 uses the word of a newborn, and Hebrews 11:23 refers to Moses at three months of age.
- a. Matthew also used this term in his description of the kinds of people in attendance at the feeding of the 5,000 (14:21) as well as the feeding of the 4,000 (15:38).
- b. Mark 5:39-42 uses this word of a girl of twelve years [This reference makes the Online Bible's synonym comments erroneous ("this word...refers exclusively to little children")].
- c. Mark 9:21-24 also indicates a youth of some age because Jesus specifically asked how long the boy had been suffering from demonic possession and the father used a form of the same word to refer to his "childhood", but he is now "beyond" that.
- d. Our text declares a level of "musical skill" that also implies some age.
- e. Thus, the issue of this particular descriptor is not "age". Paul used the term in 1 Corinthians 14:20 to address the issue of "understanding" as an outworking of the ability to discern (how to act). This is specifically appropriate to our text in Luke as Jesus is pointing out how utterly lacking are they who reject John's doctrine.
- 2. His "setting" in the "marketplace".
- a. The "marketplace" was the place where workers gathered to see if anyone needed their labor in the fields (Matthew 20:3) and where people "greeted" one another (Matthew 23:7). Mark 6:56 translates it "streets", but the idea is more likely "the typical gathering places".
- b. The focal idea is "where people gather to interact with each other".
- 3. Thus the issue is how people interact with one another when they have little to no discernment. When we combine that with Jesus' "the men of this generation", we are dealing with how "vipers" react to God's dealings with them.
- a. The "particular" issue is one of "high emotion"... dancing or weeping. This is, after all, the most significant issue of "life". Without "emotion", "life" does not even enter into the picture.
- b. The particular "method" is "music": it is no accident that one's musical exposure is, in some ways, determinative. Even Nebuchadnezzar understood the impact of music (Daniel 3:5) and God deliberately had music as a fundamental issue of true worship (1 Chronicles 15:16). A most fundamental element of edification is the right use of music (Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16).
- c. The focus is upon the "intention" of the children in the solicitation of a certain kind of response from their playmates and their frustration with the refusal of those playmates.
- C. Jesus' "application" of His comparison.
- 1. In some ways the "application" does not seem to "follow": who is/are the one(s) doing the "solicitation"? Is it God Who "plays" and "laments" by sending "opposites" to "this generation"? Is He, in Jesus' comparison, one of the "children"? The answer here is obvious: God is not one of "the men of this generation". But, He is involved with these "men/children" and it is their reaction to His involvement that is at issue.
- 2. On the other hand, the point of the illustration is twofold: the attempt by one set of "children" to dominate what their playmates do is on one side of the coin; and the refusal of the other children to "play along with" their associates and "do" what their associates wish for them to do is the other side. This means, then, that the issue is not whether "God" is in the picture as one of the "children", but whether the "men of this generation" are simply self-willed in their "play".
- 3. The application of Jesus' comparison is this: the "men of this generation" are not willing to be controlled by "principle", or, for that matter, by anything but their own volatile lusts.
- a. God sent them a man whose most obvious lifestyle choices were relatively severe and they reacted as if he was a demon.
- b. God then sent them a man whose obvious lifestyle choices were oblivious of any idea that carefree eating and drinking were "wrong" and they reacted as if He was a degenerate.
- c. The point being that they simply despise anyone's influence but their own.