SCRIPTURE: Luke 7:29-35
29 When they heard this, all the people—even the tax collectors—agreed that God’s way was right, for they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan for them, for they had refused John’s baptism.
31 “To what can I compare the people of this generation?” Jesus asked. “How can I describe them? 32 They are like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends,
‘We played wedding songs,
and you didn’t dance,
so we played funeral songs,
and you didn’t weep.’
33 For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 34 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!’ 35 But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.”
There is a huge difference in being childish and being child like. Jesus wants us to be child like, especially in our faith. Children have extraordinary faith, a vivid imagination, and they are very trusting. Christ does not want us to be ‘childish’ and this is exactly what He labels the Jewish religious leaders, they were acting like spoiled rich kids that play at the market. All the poor kids had to work.
So Jesus compared the Jewish religious leaders to spoiled children in the market place. In other words, He accused them of being CHILDISH.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHILDISH
I. THE CHILDISH ARE SELFISH–THEY DEMAND THEIR WAY
Our granddaughter Chloe is three and she is a pistol with a capital P. Recently she was performing for me in the living room. She was singing a song out of a recent Disney movie “Frozen” and she was singing and twirling at the same time. I decided to help her sing. That was a mistake: she stopped instantly and turned to me and said, “Hush, Granddaddy, this is my show.” Now I had to sit on the couch and watch with interest but I was not allowed to sing.
Fifteen years ago we had twin girls that were three and we were driving all over the country to see Christmas lights. Lara was our active one, much like Chloe and she didn’t like Grandmother and Grandmother was not fond of her because they both want everyone’s undivided attention. Lara was riding in the middle seat and Mother was sitting directly in front, in the shotgun seat. They were both trying to get the floor and Mother kept interrupting Lara so Lara reached up and pulled Mother’s hair. She wheeled around and grabbed Lara by the hair of the head and was about to yank it out when I caught her out of the side of my eye, “Mother, what on earth are you doing?” “I’m pulling her hair.” I said, “I can see that but why are you pulling her hair?” Mother said, “Because she pulled mine.” I said, “Mother, she is three years old.” She said, “I don’t care, she pulled mine and I’m pulling hers.” Both were acting like a child but one was three and other was 85.
Growing old is not an option but growing up is: some times adults act childish instead of child like. It is all about us. We want our way and we pout and pitch a fit if we don’t get our way.
I am reminded of the words of Isaiah–All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way. Really, this is the essence of sin, it is our rebellious self-will. We are find as long as we get our way. If we don’t get our way there is heck to pay.
II. THE CHILDISH ARE PEEVISH–CANNOT BE PLEASED
A spoiled child cannot be satisfied. You can please them. They have to name the game and you have to play by their rules and still they will not be happy. Jesus said, “Its like kids at the market place. We played happy music and they did not like it; so we played sad music and they didn’t like that either. No matter what we played they were unhappy and complaining.
John and Jesus were related [Luke 1:36] and some even say they favored but in personality and temperament, they were polar opposites. John was introverted. He was a recluse. We believe his father died when he was a child and his mother fled to the wilderness with John when Herod started killing babies. Eventually, John is raised by the Essenes. The Essenes lived in the wilderness in small communes. They lived a simple life and kept their distance from the general public. John was like the Essenes, he lived outdoors, ate honey and locust. He was a rugged survivalist much like Elijah. John was very austere and ascetic.
Jesus was just the opposite. He was an extravert who loved people and parties. Jesus was a socialite, He attended banquets, parties, festivals and He had a sense of humor. Actually He said a lot of funny things but much of it was tongue and check and you would have to have seen His gestures and His face to get the humor. Jesus even used sarcasm and satire. The Jews accused Jesus of being a drunk.
John was deadly serious, very solemn, all business. He fasted, prayed, lived a very disciplined life. Did tell jokes, didn’t laugh at Jokes and the Jewish religious leaders said he had a demon which may have been idiomatic for crazy. They rejected John and his baptism and they also rejected Jesus. They were beyond pleasing.
III. THE CHILDISH ARE FOOLISH
The word foolish means a person or action lacking good sense or judgment; something unwise.
Did you do anything foolish when you were a child. If you are like me, your answer is ‘yes’ I did a lot of foolish things. I made a parachute around the age of 10, used burlaps for my fabric and baling twine for my ropes. Let me tell you, you can make a parachute our of burlaps. I jumped from the top of the barn and fell like a rock, hit my chin on my knee, loosened my teeth, could have bit my tongue off. The only thing that saved was about 16 inches of wet cow manure.
We raised a small patch of sugar cane one year and daddy put it in a shock, a huge one that looked like and Indian Tepee to me. I knew there was some space in the middle of the shock at the bottom so I weasel my way in and sure enough there was enough room to sit up. One problem, it was dark at pitch so I went to the house and got me some matches and carried just a little bit of kindling into my Tepee. I bet you already know what happened. I crawled in, started my fire but there was one huge problem, there was no vent at the top of my tepee and I had to evacuate in a hurry before I chocked to death. I crawled out to safety and was laying on the ground trying to get my breath. It was probably a couple of minutes before I looked at the shock of cane and by the time I looked, it was too late. Smoke was boiling out and it wasn’t long till I saw flames. The watering trough was 100 feet away. I didn’t have a prayer. You would be surprised at how dark cane smoke is and it was ascending almost straight up. It drew a crowd. I wasn’t worried about the crowd, I was worried about Daddy.
Paul said in I Corinthians 13, When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. I still do some foolish things. I cut a vine and fixed it where the kids could swing across a little branch. Someone dared me and here I go. I was wearing a back brace. Not smart, I admit.
The Jewish religious leaders were my age and older but although they were grown physically, they had not put away their childish ways. They rejected Jesus without analyzing the substance of His word and work. They just didn’t like Him. We all do foolish things from time to time but the ultimate foolishness is to reject Jesus.