“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,
’We played the flute 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, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
The disciples of John the Baptist, the disciples of Jesus, and the Jewish leaders and their devotees are all struggling to figure out who Jesus is. They are each forming their opinions based on what they think, what they want, and what they see.
The trouble with that is that Jesus isn’t living His life according to what they think He should be or who they want Him to be. He is living in the most perfect union with God the Father that anyone has ever lived and to sinful eyes that can be a little confusing.
He tells the rich people to become poor and the poor people that God will make them rich in the kingdom. He tells the Pharisees that their righteousness has made them into whitewashed tombs, but then in the sermon on the mount He says that our righteousness must “exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees!” There are even the various conversations where Jesus tells people that ask Him directly that the most important thing for them to do is love their neighbor, or give all of their money to the poor, or quit washing dishes and sit at His feet.
The struggle only comes when people are looking to Jesus for a new law. Do we drink and celebrate and party or do we fast? Jesus would say (He said it in His daily life) it depends. That’s the nature of a relationship. That’s the nature of getting to know someone and being friends with them in their deep nuances instead of having a transactional contract relationship full of protocols and ‘rules of engagement’.
Whenever disciples swerved toward a law, whenever they went close to living according to some guard rails instead of a relationship with Jesus, He took away the car, the road, and the guard rails. Anybody could work hard to get the rules right and still take their self-righteous stone heart to Hell. Jesus wants to be friends with us in Heaven. He died for the sins of drunkenness and over-righteous fasting. He has lived to the glory of the Father for the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham so that all who call on Him can become His family and friends.
We might have apple peels stuck in our teeth from the garden of Eden, but He still calls to us against the wishes of the self-righteous older brothers and invites us into His house regardless. He’s even built a ramp so we don’t stumble up the steps on our way in.