Sunday, June 25, 2023

A Study of Matthew Chapter 11:16-19 - This Generation

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 11:16-19 - This Generation of Rejectors

The target of this discourse, "this generation" is going to be important, and indeed Jesus speaks about "this generation" several times going forward. It is "this generation" that is going to come under judgment for the rejection of the King and His Kingdom.

The definition of "this generation" in this context refers to Jews born in this particular time when Messiah was revealed. The use of "this generation" is related to the rejection of the King and Kingdom, and the application of the unforgivable sin.

Luk 9:41 "You unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? ..."

Luk 11:29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.

Luk 11:50-51 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, (51) from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

Luk 17:24-25 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. (25) But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

Mat 12:41-42 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. (42) The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.

In this pericope Jesus presents an analogy of children playing games to address "this generation". This generation is like children in the marketplace playing games while their parents are busy about their business. This is compared to the Jews playing at religion while denying the reality of God's redemptive plan for mankind through His Kingdom. They were more interested in their own entertainment than having it upset with the real business of redemption.

In this analogy, the flute is used for both joyous and sad occasions. Jesus is saying that nothing would please the Jews. When the flute was played for a happy time, they would not response with dancing. When it was played for a sad occasion they would not mourn. They were just unresponsive.

John came as a stoic solemn man, like the dirge, but the unbelieving Jews were not happy with him. They threw him in prison, persecuted him, called him demon possessed, and killed him.

Jesus came as a sociable man friendly with tax collectors and sinners like the piper. The unbelieving Jews called Him a glutton and drunkard.

Neither of these two approaches was acceptable to the unbelieving Jews, as they rejected both.

Ultimately, the wisdom of what John and Jesus spoke of would be vindicated when the King is finally accepted and the Kingdom is established.

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