While the “regular people” rejoice, the religious and cultural elites have the opposite response. God does not oppose people with position and power in this world. However, the elites of this world are often so proud they live as if they don’t need God. That’s the meaning of verse 30. The religious rulers didn’t think they needed John’s message of repentance and preparation for the kingdom. They assumed they were just fine the way they were. In the process they “rejected the plan of God for themselves”. Can you think of a more devastating statement than that? God had a plan for them, but they chose their own plans and purposes. Many people make that same tragic mistake every day. They become the kind of people Jesus describes in verses 31–34. It doesn’t matter whether an evangelist comes in a happy, kind way with the message of the gospel or if a preacher comes in a stern, direct way. Either way they reject the message, just as these Pharisees did with John and Jesus. They become the kind of people who commit themselves to unbelief and doubt.
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