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Children Playing Games

Luke 7:18-50

John the Baptizer is a significant person in the gospels. Isaiah 40 had predicted that before the coming of God to save Israel he would send a messenger to prepare the people for his coming. John was that messenger calling people to repent before the coming of Jesus. At this point in the gospel, John has been imprisoned for speaking the word of God and has become discouraged. Jesus affirms to John that he is indeed God come to save his people. Jesus points to his work in causing the blind to receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers to be cleansed, and the deaf to hear, the dead being raised up, and the poor having good news preached to them. All of these things were predicted as the work of God in Isaiah 35.

How should one respond to John the Baptizer and to Jesus the Messiah? Jesus speaks about children playing ‘funerals’ in the marketplace who call on the other children to pretend to cry and mourn. However, the other children did not want to play that game. He then speaks of the same children playing ‘weddings’ calling on the other children to sing and dance but again the other children didn’t want to do that either. When John came he called for repentance – crying and mourning over sin – but John’s hearers did not want to do that. When Jesus came, he was the Messiah having come and the appropriate response was to joyfully sing and dance – but Jesus’ hearers didn’t want to do that. Wisdom is to know the right response at the right time.

The story of the sinful woman is an example of a daughter of wisdom. She begins with weeping and crying over her sin as she anoints the feet of Jesus with oil and dries them with her hair. She would later have cause to rejoice and sing when her sins are forgiven by Jesus. A son or daughter of wisdom will cry in repentance and sing in forgiveness.