Questions From Readers
● What is the point of Jesus’ illustration, at Matthew 11:16, 17, concerning the flute playing and the wailing of young children at play?—U.S.A.
Matthew 11:16, 17 reads: “With whom shall I compare this generation? It is like young children sitting in the marketplaces who cry out to their playmates, saying, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance; we wailed, but you did not beat yourselves in grief.’”
Jesus Christ was comparing that generation to children with their varied games. Applying the point of the illustration, Jesus continued: “Correspondingly, John came neither eating nor drinking, yet people say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of man did come eating and drinking, still people say, ‘Look! A man gluttonous and given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”—Matt. 11:18, 19.
Truly Jesus’ fellow countrymen were behaving like children. John the Baptist’s simple life as a Nazirite did not suit them, for they did not lament over their sins and repent. And they did not take on the joyful mood of Jesus, for they did not rejoice over the good news of the kingdom that he preached. Their judgment was based, not on Scriptural guidelines, but on preconceived personal ideas. They simply could not be pleased with either of God’s representatives, either John or Jesus. They did not want these to set the mood for them by telling them straightforwardly God’s will for them and of their need to line up with it. They did not want to conform to God’s will.