October 22, 2012

A Generation That Refuses to Respond

Matthew 11:12-19

“The kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.”
—Matthew 11:12


There are so many voices trying to get our attention, time, and money that sometimes we just tune out and refuse to respond. We even become callous to God’s words and choose the easy path of floating through life, paying attention to our personal well-being.

In today’s parable, Jesus talks about children who try to involve others in a game. First they play as if they’re in a wedding, with some playing flutes while others joyfully dance. But no one wants to play along. Then they act out a funeral by singing a dirge to create an atmosphere of mourning. But again no one participates.

Jesus points out that this generation is lethargic, sluggish, apathetic, uninvolved. John the Baptist proclaimed a thunderous message of the coming judgment, but few listened. Jesus overwhelmed the crowds with the amazing grace and mercy of God, but most people refused to join in the kingdom dance of discipleship.

Would Jesus recite this parable to us today? Are we so caught up in our puny pursuits that we cannot see the advancement of God’s kingdom? With Jesus’ help, clear convictions and spiritual fervor can overcome fuzzy thinking and apathy.

Jesus closes with a proverb: “Wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” In contrast to indifferent people, we can respond to Jesus. Through God’s grace we can become attentive to the movement of the Spirit, whatever that may be.

Lord, we hear your lament. Help us to be attentive to your voice in our everyday lives. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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