1) The Call
The call is a call to listen, to pay attention, to wake up and see the evidence that is right in front of you. Many people ask God for a sign and what they ignore is all the signs He has sent.
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
It is not that people do not see the truth, it is that they see it and do not like it so they come against it. They become violently opposed to the truth and the signs of God instead accepting them and having to change their lives. John the Baptist was attacked for his message not because it was not true but because people did not like it. They not only want to ignore the message they want to get rid of the messenger so that they will not be faced with hearing it again. That is why King Herod had John the Baptist arrested so he would not have to hear the truth anymore and be confronted with his adulterous lifestyle.
Luke 1:16-17 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
John the Baptist had a calling to call others to repentance and those who would listen to his message would turn and find the Lord. That is the same call we have today even when the world system is violently opposing us standing up to sin. In some instances people do not want you calling their lifestyle choices sin so they would rather pass laws against you than have to hear the truth. Soon calling some things sin will be considered hate speech and punishable by jail time or fines. You may not think that will happen in America but because people want to live their lives without criticism they will go to great lengths to squash the speech of others.
Jesus makes it clear that John the Baptist was the Elijah that was foretold about in Malachi 4:5-6 and by doing that Jesus is letting it be known that He was the long awaited Messiah. Jesus was continually showing them the signs that they wanted to see but all the signs did not matter.
He who has ears let him hear
Jesus was saying look at the evidence and you will see if you want to see but just like people today the evidence is not what matters but people being King of their own lives is the number one priority.
2) The Critics
Read Matthew 11: 16-19
Jesus compared them to children
Parents would come into the market place to buy and sell their goods and so the children would all go and hang out together and play in the midst of the trading and selling. The children in the market place would mimic what the adults did in real life and they would usually act out a wedding or a funeral with every child having their role to play.
When the flute was played you were supposed to dance like at a wedding, or when the dirge was played you were to mourn just as you would at a funeral. What would happen is the kids who did not want to play that certain game would make fun of or criticize those who were playing making it miserable for everyone else. They were spoil sports and brats and that is exactly what Jesus was comparing some of the people who were listening to Him.
Critics always find something to criticize
John only ate locust and did not drink alcohol so they said he was demonic. Jesus hung out with sinners and they said he was a drunkard and glutton. John acted like he was at a funeral and Jesus acted like He was at a wedding but the critics criticized them both.
Since they could not refute their message they tried to discredit them as individuals. Anyone can make accusations because with accusations they do not have to be true to be affective. Since John and Jesus could not be reasoned down then they were shouted down through false accusations.
Like many of the television shows today, people get louder instead of making good points or evaluating what they believe. When people want to live their own lives with no one telling them what to do or why their lifestyle is damaging, then they will try and discredit anyone who questions that lifestyle.This is why you always hear “Birds of a feather flock together” because people feel better when people act and think like themselves. If you only hang around those who think and act like you do then there is no reason to think any differently.
The religious people of the day wanted their God but they just wanted Him on their terms. When John the Baptist and Jesus were calling them to a different standard than that messed up their view of their religion and called their lifestyle practices into question.
“…there is no way for a faithful Christian to avoid offending those who are offended by Jesus Christ and His cross. The truth claims of Christianity, by their very particularity and exclusivity, are inherently offensive to those who would demand some other gospel. (Culture Shift, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, pg. 35)
If we hold up the claims of Christ then we will be criticized because people want a religion that can coexist with other religions and a religion that can coexist with their lifestyle. It is not just Christianity but several religions that are exclusive in their teaching but it seems Christianity is the one that always gets blamed for being exclusive.
Christianity is exclusive and you can investigate it’s message to find out if it is true or you can criticize it and try to discredit it. Jesus let it be known that He was the only way to the father in John 14:6 and it is that very claim that you have to determine if it is true or not.
William Barclay said “ The plain fact is that when people do not want to listen to the truth, they will easily enough find and excuse for not listening.”
They will say the church if full of Hypocrites or the Pastor is always asking for Money as an excuse why they do not believe in Christ. Yes there are people in churches that are hypocrites and I would say we all are. Yes there are Pastors that are in ministry for money and one day they will stand before God for that. If people and pastors are keeping you from searching for the truth then that is a weak excuse for you to stop looking for the truth. I would guess if you had a bad experience at one restaurant that it would not keep you from going out to eat ever again. If you want an excuse for not wanting to know the truth then you will find one but that is not Christ fault because He has continually given you signs for you to know the way.
Wisdom is justified
The truth will eventually come out and both Jesus and John could not be criticized for their lives but only because their message was hated. If people want to reject Christ they will find a way. People that want a religion that fits their needs and their longings will find excuses but in the end the truth will be known.
3) The Complacent
Read Matthew 11: 20-2
These cities did not criticize Jesus they just ignored Him.They were just busy doing things that did not matter.
Matthew 22:2-5 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business
They were invited but their busy lives kept them from coming. The complacent are those who hear but they do nothing with the information they have received. Instead they focus on the things of this life ignoring the things that matter most.
Luke 17:26-30 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
Just like when Noah was preaching for all those years there were many who just ignored his message and some even scoffed at him.
It is not for a lack of information that keeps people from discovering God but a lack of priorities.
Most people believe in some sort of after life so wouldn’t you want to discover which one is true?
These people not only got to hear the message from Jesus they also were able to witness His incredible miracles legitimizing what He was saying. Just like the critics were not interested in the truth so these people were too busy with their daily lives to care to stop and see that truth was standing right in front of them.
Jesus began to rebuke those in front of Him and He named cities that were so evil that the people would have never thought that those cities would get off easier from the judgment of God than themselves.
Religion and religious duties can blind you to the sin that corrupts you.
These people were religious but they did not know the truth and the truth did not change their lives. Jesus even mentions Sodom were we get our word Sodomy because of how bad they were and yet they missed Jesus meaning.
The people of Capernaum never persecuted Jesus, ran Him out of town or even criticized Him. They just simply ignored Him and Jesus was saying that was worse than those who did do those things.
How much more will we give an account living in America than those who do not have access to what we have? We all probably have at least 4-5 Bibles in our house if not we can go to the bookstore and buy one. Christian television, podcast, books and trinkets yet we still with all of this stuff miss out. We will give an account for not only what we heard but what we have had access to. Some say ignorance is bliss but I say ignorance is deadly.
We have more information available to us to really compare and discover one if there is a God and two how we can know that God. It is not a lack of information for Americans but a lack of caring to even know the truth. If Jesus was in America would He say “Woe to you Americans?”
It will be more tolerable on the day of Judgment
No one wants to hear the bad news and some have even tried to discredit Hell but Jesus made it clear that there will be a judgment and the punishment is separation from God. You cannot have the good news of the Bible without there being bad news. Jesus is letting them know that when they stand before God there will be a higher judgment because of what was available to them to see that Jesus was the Messiah.
Does Christianity change you or are you like those who watched the miracles of Jesus but it made no difference in their Life? Just like the critic must evaluate his criticisms to see if they are true the complacent must evaluate what is really important.