Faithless Critics


Matthew 11:16-19
Isa 48:17-19 / Psalm 1

. . . wisdom is proved right by her deeds.
(Matthew 11:19)

Help me, Lord be firm in my resolve
Not be lukewarm, neither hot nor cold;
Only for Your kingdom be involved,
To proclaim Your Word, may I be bold.

Jesus said, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:16-19)

Reflection

The religious authorities in Jesus’ time found it hard to believe/follow Jesus as the promised Messiah, or John the Baptizer as the “Second Elijah” who was a true prophet of God. They were too proud and prejudiced to acknowledge one or the other as “higher” in authority over them, even though neither of them was seeking power or influence with the people. How could these Jewish leaders be “in tune” with what Jesus was teaching or doing when they were always trying to find fault with Him, and criticizing what did not conform to their antiquated ways of thinking? In their obsession with external forms of worship and tradition, they could not see beyond the superficial. They did not believe the teachings of John the Baptist because of his ascetic way of life, even though many believed he was God’s prophet. Neither were they willing to accept the teachings of Jesus, even though they were awed by His words and wondrous deeds, because He shared His table with tax collectors and sinners. In reality, their ears and hearts were stuffed with the wax of pride and envy, and fault finding provided a convenient excuse for their unbelief.

“Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” As prophesied, all the things that Jesus said and did were proved righteous and wise in the events of history, because none of them contradicted the will of God. Most of the time, cynics do not appreciate the wisdom of an action, or God’s hand behind an event even if the positive consequences are already staring them in the face. Their stubborn hearts refuse to believe, even if time and again in biblical history, God has shown them that faith is more powerful than knowledge.

Jesus exhorts us to be proactive and creative, and not to be mere fence-sitters who spend time criticizing others. We have to be positive, and look beyond the normal and ordinary, be more dynamic in our outlook in life. People who are creative and willing to face challenges everyday — like dancing to lively music or shedding tears to funeral dirges — live longer and fuller lives than those who prefer to remain in the background of events. In our breakfast fellowships, we are uplifted by the melodious praise songs of our music ministry; and the same group moves us to tears when we render prayer service for a member or his loved one who has moved on. In both cases we sing in harmony, whether in joy or in tears.

Lord, You are a God of harmony and a God of peace. Take away all kinds of discordance in our family and community, so that only Your grace of love and understanding be the bond of unity in our relationships. Help us to grow in Your wisdom, so that we may be more patient and forgiving of each other’s faults, according to Your will. Amen.

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