Who is Jesus?
It seems to be a perpetual issue in this early part of Luke. Even though Luke has identified Jesus, there are still questions. The people believe he is a great prophet (7:16), or perhaps one of Israel’s former prophets now resurrected (like Elijah) or even John the Baptist raised from the dead (9:8).
Evidently, nothing from Jesus’ ministry leads them to believe he is the Messiah, much less the Son of God.
And yet, that is precisely the conclusion Jesus says they should come to. Who else but God could make the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and cleanse lepers?
But this isn’t what they are expecting and certainly not what they want.
Jesus underscores this with a visual of children playing in the marketplace. When a playmate fails to follow convention and fall in with expectations (that’s that whole “we played the flute for you and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not cry” business), he is rejected. And so, both John and Jesus are rejected by the people for the simple reason that they do not provide what is expected or wanted.
Christians are not called to meet what the world thinks its needs are. Christians are called to be like Jesus and submit to the rule of God – that’s what being in the kingdom of God is all about. Only then can we call others to submit to God’s rule, which is really the world’s greatest need.