Matthew 11:16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions,
Read: Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35
somewhere in cities of Galilee – Jesus’ “itinerant” ministry, after sending Twelve out (Matt. 10:5ff)
John Baptist’s disciples have asked question, received answer
Jesus continues instructing crowd – connecting dots from Luke 3:1-18, esp. verse 15
Person(s) being questioned:
probably not really directed at crowd – “this generation”
thinking out loud, talking to self but ok if others listen in – not intended to be private conversation
Question behind the question:
Why are you so committed to stereotypes?
Why do you behave so immaturely about such serious things?
Jesus probably did not expect a response
intended to answer his own question for benefit of those really listening
already knew attitude of majority toward John’s ministry and his
people had idea (“the people were in expectation”), had rubric (complete Old Testament)
application to real life using wrong rubric – stereotypes promoted by religious leaders intended to maintain status quo
John – fasting, criticized/discounted for being too strict; must have picked up a demon out there in the desert
Jesus – feasting, criticized/discounted for not being strict enough; must be lowlife like those he associates with
were evaluating (both John and Jesus) in light of humanly developed standards – principle easily applies to any situation
should have been mature enough to use God’s standard the Bible to evaluate against, then accepted the evidence
didn’t mind using Bible to find promises that give hope, should have gone rest of the way… asked most important question – is what we are seeing a true work of God?
e.g., Edwards on Revivals: Containing A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls in Northhampton, Massachusetts, A.D. 1735
easy to construct mental image, stereotype of some kind – is ok when faithful to what is portrayed in Bible
should carefully evaluate at each use for something of this magnitude, going back to original for validation
easy application: they way they do things (church, evangelism, missions, music, outreach, mens/womens ministry) over there
doesn’t matter whether results appear favorable/positive or unfavorable/negative – is God at work?
second easy thing to do: judge validity of method by (apparent) results – Bible repeatedly cautions against that
where God / Bible prescribes method we must follow, responsibility for results is God’s