“But to what can 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’” (Matthew 11: 16-17).
This verse in the Bible’s New Testament tells us how to live a full Christian life with all of its peaks and valleys, faith leaders say.
To more fully understand it, it’s worth taking a deeper look at the Gospel of Matthew.
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The book of Matthew is the first gospel — an account of Jesus’ life and ministry — in the New Testament, according to Overviewbible.com, a Christian resource website.
In Matthew, Jesus teaches what it means to be part of his kingdom, the “kingdom of heaven,” the website notes.
He is betrayed and crucified. He rises again and “commissions his disciples to spread the good news.”
The site adds, “The apostle Matthew (who is traditionally credited with writing this book) seems to have written this gospel to a Christian audience who was either Jewish or highly familiar with the Jewish religion.”
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Matthew presents Jesus as the Messiah, “the promised descendant of King David who would bring God’s kingdom to earth and establish a time of peace and justice,” the site also says.
Matthew quotes the Old Testament “extensively,” the site also says, and places “special emphasis” on Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecies, “which would have been important to a Jewish audience.”
One South Carolina faith leader said that Jesus, in his preaching, “shows us how to live as God’s children.”
Jesus “laughed, worked with his hands, showed compassion and loved selflessly,” Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, told Fox News Digital.
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“He calls the human family to dance with the flute and to truly grieve when they mourn,” he also said.
Jesus “calls us to live the full human experience,” said Fr. Kirby — not to be “Pollyanna believers” on the one hand, or “sour-faced believers on the other.”
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He added, “Life is a gift to be lived, in all its ways. It is a mystery to be cherished.”
He then offered a fervent prayer for believers who seek to live a full Christian experience.
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“Heavenly Father, you bless us with the gift of life. It is a gift full of joys and sorrows, but a gift that is always good. Give us the joy to dance with the flute and to grieve in our mourning. May we experience the fullness of life and embrace each part as a portion of your goodness. Give us the strength we need to live fully human lives. Amen.”
Stay tuned for more Bible verses of the day during the Advent season. To see yesterday’s Bible verse, click here.