Today’s Reading: Luke 7:18-35
18 The disciples of John told him of all these things. 19 And John, calling to him two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said,”John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?'” 21 In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answeredthem, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.” 24 When the messengers of John had gone, he began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who shall prepare your way before you.’ 28I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” 29 (When they heard this all the people and the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John; 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.) 31 “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to one another, We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.’ 33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, He has a demon.’ 34The Son of man has come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”
A reed shaken: At one level, Jesus is speaking of the familiar reed plant that grew plentifully in the Jordan valley; on another, he is making a riddle-like comparison between a wavering reed and the immediately following image of a king living in luxury (7:25). These images come together in Herod Antipas, the chief opponent of John the Baptist. Not only was Antipas a tetrarch (ruler) who resided in the royal palaces at Tiberias, his capital city beside the Sea of Galilee, but he also commemorated the founding of Tiberias by minting coins stamped with the emblem of a reed. The contrast implied by Jesus’ questions is stark: John is an uncompromising leader and even more than a prophet, while Antipas is an accommodating leader, whose weakness of character makes him less than aking.
like children: Jesus compares his generation to children who complain regardless of what games are suggested by others. Both the joyousness (We piped) of Jesus’ ministry and the somberness (we wailed) of John’s preaching were invitations to the kingdom, yet both were refused.