Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
16“But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.’18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.” (John2:2;5:35,1Corinthians4:24-30)


The crowds raced after Jesus, not out of faith, but out of curiosity to see the miracles. They had already rushed to the wilderness to see John, the strange man calling people to repent and be baptized. Yet most of them did not turn from their devious ways, but continued in their wickedness. They mockingly criticized John because he was ascetic and called others to self-denial. Then the crowds mocked Christ, because He did eat and drink as others, and associated with well-known sinners and revolutionaries in order that they might repent and be saved. Many sought joy from the Baptist, and sorrow from Christ. They could never recognize the secret of their calling because of their childish, superficial, and stupid behavior.
Christ called the hypocrites, “children,” because they did not recognize the fact of life. They played and mourned, but did not know the reason for death, the chains of sin, or the bondage of Satan that captivated them. They did not long for Christ and His salvation, for they considered themselves godly and righteous. However, those who believe in Christ understand something of the mystery of the universe, that God is the source of life, that He is their Father, the One who forgives, and the giver of eternal life in His Son Jesus. They take the power of the Divine Spirit from reading the Gospel, and live eternally amidst the passing world.
The majority are foolish, mindless and playful as children. Would they but show themselves men in understanding, there would be some hope for them. The marketplace they sit or stand in is to some a place of idleness, to others a place of worldly business. To all it is a place of noise and diversion. If you ask the reason why people get so little good from the grace of God, you will find it is because they are too slothful to care, or because their heads, hands, and hearts are full of the world, the cares of which “choke the Word,” and ultimately choke their souls. Thus they are in the markets, and there they sit. In these things their minds rest, and by them they resolve to continue living.
Do you long for Jesus the Deliverer of the world, and rejoice when hearing His name? Or are you still following the devil, who trembles with fear when hearing the name of Jesus? Does your stability depend on the news of the day? Do you cling to the TV screen? Or do you love God, willing to cling to Him and look forward with interest and passion to the second coming of Christ? Are you consumed with this world concerned only with collecting its vanities of money and sins, wasting your valuable time? Or will you submit to the will of the King of Kings, knowing that you have to give an account of every penny and every second you have spent during your life? Christ invites you into His kingdom that you may be filled with His Spirit, do His will, and bear much fruit.
Within the parable is highlighted the different characteristics of John’s ministry and of Christ’s, who were the two great lights of that generation.
John came mourning, neither eating nor drinking, neither given to casual conversation, nor eating ordinary meals, but alone, in the wilderness, where “his meat was locusts and wild honey.” Now this, one would think, would speak to the hearts of the people, for such a sober life as this was in keeping with the doctrine he preached. The minister that practices what he preaches is most likely understood, but even such ministers are not always effectual.
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking,” He said to them. Christ had conversations with all sorts of people, not adhering to any peculiar standard. He was sociable and easy of access, not shy of any company, and sometimes attending feasts, both with Pharisees and publicans. Those who were not put off by John’s frown would perhaps be attracted by Christ’s smile. It would seem Paul the Apostle learned from this to become “all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Now our Lord Jesus, in His freedom, did not at all condemn John, any more than John condemned Him, though their character was so very different.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank You because You gave us the spiritual rebirth that we might know Your love. You unified us with Your Son that we may serve the lost by the power of Your Spirit. Forgive us if we neglected Your heavenly call and have become overwhelmed by today’s worries and worldly fear. Direct our sights towards the coming of Your Son that we may not behave as children, but prepare the way for the glorious Coming One.
Question
Why did Jesus compare the people of His time with children?