My neighbors have a little fire thing in their yard so people were roasting hotdogs and Peeps! Thankfully they were not the bunny or chick peeps sold at Easter. Jamie asked Joyce, "Do we have any marshmallows?" (You know the white gooey blobs that people roast over fires on long sticks?) We laughed when she said, "No, but I have Peeps!" They weren't marshmallowy/sugar animal shaped ones, but Christmas trees and snowmen! Yeah, in July! We laughed, but, hey, they were a hit. Everyone said they were great!
Thanks to those who have left comments on my Matthew posts. I hope to acknowledge the ones I've missed very soon! In the meantime, I appreciate your feedback!
This morning I want to discuss this passage briefly.
12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15He who has ears, let him hear.
16"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17" 'We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge
and you did not mourn.'
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, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions." (Matthew 11)
1. What does Jesus mean about the kingdom of heaven "forcefully advancing" and forceful people laying hold of it?
2. What does all the Prophets and Law prophesied until John mean?
3. And he is the Elijah who was to come if you are willing to accept it? Indeed Luke tells us John came in "the spirit and power of Elijah." When the angel Gabriel announced John's upcoming birth, he told John's father, Zachariah:
16"Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1)4. "He who has ears, let him hear" is kind of strange. Don't we all have ears? Or maybe some have purposefully shut their (spiritual) ears to the truth and Jesus is speaking of this.
I don't often consult the commentary-style translation called The Message, however, I wanted to see how this short passage was told in more modern terminology. I'll share it with you as it may help you understand what Jesus might have said if he were speaking to one of us.
11-14"Let me tell you what's going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him. For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God's kingdom. But if you read the books of the Prophets and God's Law closely, you will see them culminate in John, teaming up with him in preparing the way for the Messiah of the kingdom. Looked at in this way, John is the 'Elijah' you've all been expecting to arrive and introduce the Messiah.
15"Are you listening to me? Really listening?
16-19"How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, 'We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.' John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don't count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating." (source)
Kind of cute, huh?
About the last few verses, my Quest Study Bible states: "John's simple lifestyle fit his message of repentance and self-denial, while Jesus' attendance at public dinners expressed his gracious willingness to mingle with those who needed him. John and Jesus were neither demon-possessed nor over-indulgent, as their opponents charged; they simply refused to play along with their critics' childish games." (pg. 1400)
What thoughts or comments or questions do you have from this passage? Or anything written on this post for that matter? :)