Matthew 11:16-19

“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Matthew 11:16-19

Did Jesus get frustrated? That is a real question. Did Jesus get frustrated?

I know I get frustrated. I get frustrated a lot. I frustrate myself – I expect much more from myself than I deliver. I get frustrated at other people – far too often. Did Jesus get frustrated?

Often frustration is rooted in the desire to control. We want other people to do what we what them to do, how we want them to do it, and when we want them to do it. We might not even tell them what we expect but still we get frustrated when they don’t deliver. We even want institutions to work the way we want them to work. When they don’t, we get frustrated.

Did Jesus get frustrated? It looks here like he did. The people just don’t seem to get it. They criticize John for being too spiritual and Jesus for being too worldly. Jesus feels like he is surrounded by party poopers and that is frustrating. Come on, people, dance!

Frustration can also be rooted in being misunderstood. The people around Jesus didn’t seem to get it. That is frustrating. They are looking AT John and Jesus rather than THROUGH John and Jesus. They are looking AT their behaviors rather than seeing THROUGH those behaviors to the people who are being helped, given hope, and healed. That is frustrating too.

Life today is fraught with frustration. Just when we think we are getting somewhere, something happens and everything gets thrown into disarray. People don’t act the way we think they ought. The weather turns against us. We lose respect. We lose patience. We lose a sense of compassion. We get battered into a corner where we either sulk or strike out. We see this at every level of our lives.

Of course I believe Jesus experienced frustration. He can’t know us if he can’t know our feelings. We all feel frustrated at some point. But what does Jesus do with that? He takes a deep breath and he presses on. He remembers who he is and what he is about. He is driven by love. He strives for compassion rather than control. He takes the long view of life rather than the short view which can’t see past the obstacle of the moment.

This is the path he invites us to follow.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, from disaster to disaster, from tragedy to tragedy, from the unwillingness to be heard to our own unwillingness to listen, life is full of frustrations. You know this, you know this about us. Forgive us our impatience, our rashness, our pride. Help us slow down and take one step at a time. Help us recognize you in our midst. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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3 Responses to “Matthew 11:16-19”

  1. Gary Reese Says:

    Today’s comments on frustration were well written with a good assessment of how to handle it. Thank you for your perspective.

  2. Dave Armstrong Says:

    Thank you! I really need this devotion this morning. Right on target for me!

  3. Carolee Groux Says:

    Lately our world is full of frustration, disappointment, anxiety, stress and worry. We are weary of it and we cannot control it. Like Rev. Kerry says, “we need to take a deep breath and press on like Jesus. We need to strive for love, for compassion and not for control.”
    Also I found Rv Kerry’s prayer to be particularly meaningful to me.

    “Gracious Lord, from disaster to disaster, from tragedy to tragedy, from the unwillingness to be heard to our own unwillingness to listen, life is full of frustrations. You know this, you know this about us. Forgive us our impatience, our rashness, our pride. Help us slow down and take one step at a time. Help us recognize you in our midst.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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