A Spoiled Generation

Matthew 11:15-19, NLT

15 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! 16 “To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, 17 ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’ 18 For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.” Jesus compares His generation to spoiled children who cannot be pleased. Jesus and John had opposite personalities. Jesus was extroverted and a fun lover. He enjoyed parties and people. John was an introvert and very ascetic in nature. He enjoyed fasting and spending a lot of his time alone. He was anything but a socialite. The Pharisees attributed John’s austerities to insanity; they said he is crazy and they said Jesus had a devil. John was too morbid like a funeral dirge and Jesus was too happy like dance music but the Jews turned a deaf ear to both. Jesus is saying, “What would take to please you guys?”


The first thing that comes to my mind when dealing with spoiled children is that they pout when they don’t get their way. Neither Jesus nor John  appealed to the Jews because neither would compromise. John told them to repent and called them a brood of vipers. Jesus referred to them as white washed tomb stones and hypocrites. Both John and Jesus preached the truth about sin and repentance and the Pharisees and Jewish religious leaders did not want to hear it. They wanted to be commended not convicted. They did not respond to either John nor Jesus because they were demanding to have their own way. You can not serve God your way! Millions have tried but it cannot be done. Cain was the first to attempt serving God with the will of the flesh. God taught the boys through Adam what was required for forgiveness; there had to be shedding of blood, the innocent die for the guilty. Cain rejected the doctrine of atonement and he took it upon himself to rewrite the laws of sacrifice. He said to himself, I will present what I please and God will accept it or else. Well, it turned out to be else. Abel went by the book, he sacrificed according to God’s requirements and God accepted his sacrifice. We cannot worship God our way. We cannot serve him our way. We cannot honor him our way. “Our Way” is the problem. He does not want anything “Our Way” but demands that it be His way. There is enough self-will in the average Baptist Church to sink it to hell. We have committed people, but they are committed to doing it their way and then some have the audacity to call it following the spirit. They are following the spirit but it is the wrong spirit. Have you ever wondered why the devil worshipers choose a goat as their symbol. Goats are stubborn and self-willed. A goat will kill itself rather than surrender. I have seen a goat butt a tree until it broke both horns off and almost bleed to death. When you make a goat mad, they go crazy. They will not only hurt others, they will hurt themselves. The Jewish religious leaders had the nature of a goat. It was their way or else.


It really doesn’t matter what you do, you cannot please a spoiled child. If you play happy music, they want sad and if you play sad, they want happy. Most of them want to be unhappy and they want to blame someone else for their being unhappy. John was ascetic and they didn’t like him; said he was crazy. Jesus was happy and hung out with common people and they said he was full of the devil and at one time called Him a bastard. Unhappy people choose to be unhappy but they blame others for their condition. I’ve been in the ministry for  45 years and have served churches for 43 of those years and I am telling you that some people cannot be pleased and you will compromise your convictions if you try and even then you will not succeed. It is a lose/lose and a waste of time. I always have people that are upset with me because I am not upset that they and others are upset. It is not that I dislike people but I have learned that we cannot make pleasing people our priority. There are conviction that govern my life and I live by those convictions.

  • There is only ONE person that I have to please and give an account to and that is Jesus. That does not mean that I am unaccountable to people or that I do not listen to their advice. It does mean that when the final decision is made, my greatest consideration is whether or not I have pleased the LORD. Some will admire and support that while others will disapprove but that is the point, I don’t wait for their approval. It most cases it is something that I will never have.
  • Practically, you cannot please everyone and if you are the leader of an organization, you are going get blamed for all mistakes or lack of progress so it is best to make wise decisions regardless to how they are perceived by the general public or even your followers.
  • God gave John his message. Jesus most certainly spoke for the Father. They could not change their message without disobeying God the Father.


Have you tried to entertain a brat? They are unimpressed with anything you do. Jesus said that His generation were like bratty children; they were filled with indifference and contempt, especially in regards to the things of heaven.  You could play a happy song and dance and they did not respond: you could do slow funeral music and they did not respond. They were unresponsive to John, unresponsive to Jesus, unresponsive to anything that was of God. Jesus even compared them to the generation that lived during the days of Sodom. He said, “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.” We make too big of a fuss over the delivery boy instead of praising the editor. When God called Moses in Exodus 3-4, Moses repeated informed God that he was a poor speaker. The LORD assured him that his speech was not a problem. I will tell you what to say. Moses thought the Pharaoh would have to be confronted by an articulate man. The LORD told him, it will not be your speech that moves him, it will be my power. This generation of Jews heard two of the all time greats preach but it was like water off a ducks back. People make fun of my inability to articulate things clearly. My diction is horrible but that has nothing to do with nothing. I’m not going to move my generation with slick or eloquent sermons. We are as bad as the Jews. God sent Moses before Pharaoh as His spokesman but it was God’s power that broke Pharaoh’s will. I like the Black preachers version of Moses and the burning bush: it goes like this….

  • Moses–Wow, what a bush!
  • LORD–What are you talking about Moses?
  • Moses–The bush, I’ve never seen a bush like this, ever. Wow, What a bush!
  • LORD–Turn Moses and look behind you and tell me what you see.
  • M0ses–I see an ordinary bush, Lord, and then over there another ordinary bush.
  • LORD–Look all around and tell me what you see.
  • Moses–I see bushes LORD, in every direction there is a bush.
  • LORD–Moses, it is not the bush, it is my glory on the bush, any bush will do.

If Jesus could not reach the Pharisees and Scribes of this world, you and I are not going to reach them. They are spoiled, self-willed, contemptuous and content. They are not going to respond to anything we do or say. Indifference dulls our ears to God’s voice and to the good news of the gospel.   Only the humble of heart can find joy and favor in God’s grace.  Do you know the joy of the gospel and is you life in tune with Jesus’s message of hope and salvation?


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