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Week 1 July 2023, Devotion Part 1

But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, and calling to their playmates, “We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” Matthew 11:16-17

A smiling Jesus must have watched these children at play. Perhaps a pensive look stole on His face as He listened to their protest, “We played wedding and you did not act happy. We played funeral and you refused to be sad.” Their game mimicked significant community events and required full participation to flesh out the mood. Some of the youngsters apparently were bored with it, while others might have rained on the leaders’ parade for some petty reason. No doubt they settled their differences and went on to play the 30 A.D. version of Cops and Robbers.

Jesus, we imagine, preferred the children’s shrieks of laughter to the rumble of dissent aimed at rocking His ministry and ruining His good name. John the Baptist had just been thrown into prison and felt anxious. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus on his behalf, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” This is the John who had called himself the friend of the Bridegroom. He rejoiced that the crowds were flocking to his cousin as they had once flocked to him. Jesus sent word back that the sick were being healed, the dead raised, and the Gospel was preached to the poor. “And blessed is he,” Christ concluded, “who takes no offense at me.” John, He explained to the crowds pressing in on Him, came neither eating nor drinking, yet had the “demon” label slapped on him. I, however, came eating and drinking, and guess what? They say I am a glutton and drunkard who parties with the scum of society. (Part 1 of 2)

Comment: Jesus saw kids at play and used it as a teaching occasion. As I took in the scene, my mind wandered off in a somewhat logical, but also ludicrous direction. In my June devotions, the subject of marriage had come up. Here I had a chance to put children into the picture. Oddly, the Playground Song known as The K-i-s-s-i-n-g Song hijacked my brain: “(Girl’s name) and (boy’s name) sitting in a tree, K-i-s-s-i-n-g (spell it out). First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage, sucking his thumb, wetting his pants, doing the hula, hula dance!” Not a chance of that today, because the baby is strapped in. Besides, who wants to dance when you can glance at mom’s smartphone and be entertained effortlessly? Living in suburbia with our fenced yards and “devices” available in every room and to every bored hand in the family home, few kids climb trees and none play in the “market places.” Why not allow Jesus to have a summer break by coming alongside Him to enjoy watching those bundles of energy at play? Why not perceive Him keenly as the Son of Man with the rare luxury of reflecting back on His boyhood with all its perks and pitfalls? Incarnating the Son of God is hardly fun when your critics call you glutton and winebibber. Yes, let’s give this beloved Teacher His well-deserved summer break!


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