Matthew 11:18-19 says, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.”

Isn’t it amazing how that some people will find any reason to criticize?! To clarify the meaning of Matthew 11:18, let’s read Luke 7:33, “For John the Baptist came neither EATING BREAD nor DRINKING WINE; and ye say, He hath a devil.” John the Baptist did not partake of great eating, such as eating the finer foods. We read of him in Matthew 3:4, “And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.” I’m sure John was a sight to see! The camel’s hair he wore was the long, shaggy hair of the camel. Coarse, cheap cloth was made from it. Cloth like this is still worn by the poorer classes in the East today. John’s clothes were similar to what Elijah, the prophet, had worn. We read in 2 Kings 1:8, “And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.” John ate locusts and honey, which was a common food for the poor.

John was a Nazarite from birth, so it was fitting that he would not drink wine. When the angel announced to Zacharias that he would have a son, he said in Luke 1:15, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” The Jewish people were certainly familiar with the Nazarite, and they understood its vows, yet they criticized and condemned John for his obedience to his vow. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ, announcing the arrival of the Messiah. We read in John 1:29, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The world rejected the Lord Jesus as their Messiah, so it stands to reason that they also rejected his forerunner.

On the other hand, the Lord Jesus “came eating and drinking”, and they accused Him of being gluttonous (one who eats too much) and a drunk (one who drinks too much). We know the Lord did neither because that would have been sinful, and Christ “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22) Christ Himself was also accused of being demon possessed (John 7:20, Matthew 10:25).

Thankfully, not all of the accusations against Christ were false. He was accused of being “a friend of publicans and sinners.” GUILTY AS CHARGED!!! We read in Luke 15:1-2, “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” Again, GUILTY AS CHARGED!!! Of course, the Lord did not befriend sinners to join with them in their sinful lifestyles. Notice in Luke 15:1 that that publicans (tax collectors) and sinners came together “to hear him.” The Lord’s purpose was pure and holy. He met with the worst of the worst so that He might share the Word of God with them. His relationship with them had a purpose! He would never ‘join’ Himself with those people, but He would be-friend them all so that He might speak to them of their souls’ need…the need of salvation. In spite of these false accusations, twice we see God calling out of Heaven to commend His own son and announce His pleasure in His Son. (Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5)

“Wisdom is justified of her children.” Those who speak the truth in sharing true words of wisdom, will eventually be justified (declared just or innocent of charges) by those who benefit from their ministry. This may take a while, but may we patiently wait upon the Lord to make all things right. (249.2)