Vol. 18, No. 38 – October 13, 2019
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
D. Activities of His Ministry, Luke 7:1-9:50.
3. Ministry in doubt, Luke 7:18-35, (continued).
Luke 7:28, “I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Our Lord first commends John for his faithful obedience to God and His Plan of Salvation by stating, “no one born of women is greater than John,” using the Adjective MEIZON μείζων that means, “greater, even more, or of greater degree.” Therefore, this is a commendation of John by our Lord of John’s faith and obedience to God, His Word, and His Plan for John’s life. He is the greatest prophet, the greatest person, up to this time.
But, we see a subtlety in this acclamation. John was “born of women,” GENNETOS GUNE. In other words, he was born of flesh and blood, born of water; he was the greatest in his humanity. Therefore, he was the greatest human to ever be born physically, according to our Lord.
Our Lord then gives us a contrast, “yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” To understand this phrase, we have to ask ourselves, “How does one enter into the kingdom of God, BASILEIA THEOS?” Did not John enter that Kingdom? Jesus tells us how to enter the Kingdom in John 3:3-5.
John 3:3-5, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water (physical birth) and the Spirit (spiritual birth) he cannot enter into the kingdom of God“.”
Well didn’t John believe in Jesus? Yes, he did! But, unfortunately for John he was born and died prior to the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord. As such, he was of the OT time period, the Age of Israel. Believers in that Dispensation did not receive what the believers in the Church Age receive, which is the power of the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit and being placed in union with Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit at the moment they believe in Jesus as their Savior.
Even though John was the greatest of the OT prophets (though his ministry is recorded in the NT), he lived during a time when believers were not placed in union with Jesus Christ at salvation. They were saved, but not “in union with Jesus Christ.” John’s greatness was that he functioned as a guide to prepare the people, get the people ready, for salvation as the forerunner to the Messiah. Yet, even though he had that tremendous privilege and responsibility, he was never “in union with Jesus Christ.”
But won’t John be in the Kingdom of God? Yes, he will be in the future / eschatological Kingdom of God, Luke 13:28.
Luke 13:28, “In that place (the Eternal Lake of Fire) there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.”
But, that is not what Jesus is talking about in this passage. When Jesus says, “Yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he,” He is speaking to the kingdom of God that is made up of those who are born again, born of water and the Spirit, and being “in union with Jesus Christ,” who are also called the Body of Jesus Christ. To better understand this, let us understand the use of “kingdom” in the NT.
“Kingdom,” is the noun BASILEIA, βασιλεία that can mean, “kingship, royal power, kingdom, dignity, or reign.” In our passage, it is used with the “Kingdom of God,” which speaks of the realm of God where the subjects are those who believe in Jesus Christ. When Jesus began to minister, He associated His message with the Messianic expectations that the “kingdom was at hand,” Mat 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:7; Mark 1:15; Luke 21:31.
Mark 1:15, “And saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’.”
Jesus’ preaching picked up on John’s announcement that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” cf. Mat 3:1-2; 4:17. Jesus announced that the time of fulfillment had come both in and with the preaching of the gospel, with His healing of the sick, Mat 4:23 f., and driving out evil spirits, Mat 12:28; Luke 11:20.
Mat 4:23, “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”
Mat 12:28, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Luke 11:20, “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Jesus’ preaching of the kingdom of God presented an overlapping of the present and the future “Kingdom,” just as was seen in the OT. Jesus’ announcement that the kingdom of God is “at hand” is thus not only a prophecy of the soon coming future Kingdom of God, it is also a declaration that the kingdom of God is actually present in the person of Jesus Christ. The King, Jesus, is present. Therefore, the Kingdom must also be here. As such, the Kingdom was manifested through the life and works of Jesus.
Obviously, this Kingdom is more than a physical, visible, tangible entity. Jesus stressed the inner, spiritual nature of the Kingdom. It belongs to the poor in spirit, Mat 5:3, and it comforts those who mourn. And as we noted above, only by being born again can one enter this Kingdom, John 3:3-5.
John 3:3-5, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.”
Therefore, the Kingdom that Jesus was speaking about saying that “he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he,” is the present spiritual Kingdom found in Jesus Christ that includes those who believe in Him and are placed in union with Him. This relationship would not begin until after the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord. Because John would die before these took place, he was not part of that spiritual Kingdom that would be a main asset of the Church Age Dispensation. Because believers of our current Dispensation would be “In Christ,” and “one in Christ,” 2 Cor 1:21; 5:17; Gal 3:28, they would be greater than John the Baptist who did not experience that union with Christ. Cf. Eph 5:5; 2 Tim 4:1; 2 Peter 1:11.
Jesus was not depreciating John. He was explaining that though John was a great prophet, he would not be part of that spiritual Kingdom because he was only “born of women,” and not “born of the Spirit,” although he would be part of the yet future visible Kingdom, Luke 19:11f.; 13:22-30. Therefore, how is the least person in the kingdom of God greater than John? In position, not in character or ministry! Because of their union with Jesus Christ the King, they would be greater than John. Even though John was the herald of the King, announcing the kingdom, believers today are children of the kingdom and the friends of the King, John 15:15. This is seen further in the next verse regarding God’s justice.
Luke 16:16, “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”
“Farrar reminds us of the old legal maxim which says, “The least of the greatest is greater than the greatest of the least,” which is as much as to say that the smallest diamond is of more precious substance than the largest flint. The least born of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12-13 and 3:5) is greater than the greatest born of women. They are greater in station, privilege and knowledge. The dispensations rise like lofty steps, and the lowest that stand upon the New Testament dispensation are lifted above the tallest who rest upon the dispensation of Moses. This is perhaps prophetically suggested by Zechariah—Zech 12:8.]” (The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels.)
Zech 12:8, “In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.”
“Geldenhuys writes: “He belonged to the period of preparation and had not yet learned to know Jesus as the Crucified One …. He will indeed … share fully his place in the redemption and blessings achieved by him, but as regards his place in the unfolding of the divine revelation which culminated in Christ, he still belongs to the preparatory stage and is therefore in this respect less than the most insignificant believer of the New Dispensation.”” (New Commentary on the Whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown.)
The fact that God’s kingdom is both a present and future kingdom, a spiritual reality to be experienced now and a future eschatological event is a recurring theme throughout the NT. And we see that the spiritual Kingdom is made up of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, Rom 14:17.
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
These things show God is ruling in the life of the individual Church Age believer. The Kingdom is not merely in word, it is actualized in the Holy Spirit’s redemptive power, 1 Cor 4:20, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.”
And, as for the future / eschatological Kingdom of God, its visible manifestation will initially take place at the return of Christ when the Man of Sorrows returns with His kingdom. At Christ’s Second Coming, the Kingdom will arrive with power. At that time, a period of 1,000 years, the Millennium, will be established and be the interim period between the appearing of the Kingdom and its total arrival, Rev 20:1f. The Millennium reflects a convergence of the two dominant ideas of the “Kingdom” in first-century Judaism, a nationalistic/political kingdom and a cosmic/universal reign of Messiah. The common denominator is an expectation that Israel’s kingdom would be restored in fulfillment of the OT prophecies about God’s kingdom on earth in the end time, Acts 1:6.
Acts 1:6-8, “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth”.”
When the Kingdom is fully realized, it will be called Christ’s kingdom, Luke 22:29; 2 Tim 4:18; 2 Peter 1:11, but 1 Cor 15:27-28, states that at the end, Christ will give it back to the Father from whom He received it in the first place. With the consummation of the Kingdom, Jesus’ Messianic function will come to a close. Throughout eternity the Kingdom’s throne will be both God’s and the Lamb’s, Rev 22:1.
Luke 22:29, “And just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you.”
2 Peter 1:11, “For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”
1 Cor 15:27-28, “For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
Therefore, the least of the Church Age Dispensation, who is in union with Jesus Christ because of the grace of God, will be greater than John the Baptist, who was the greatest of the OT saints because of his obedience to God and His Plan. The greatness of the Church Age believer is found in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who the Church Age believer has been made to be one with, as His body and wife for all of eternity. The greatness of the least is completely by the grace of God, not by works lest any man should boast, Gal 2:16.
Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Gal 2:16, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
Col 1:13, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
Luke 7:29, “When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John.”
Literally this reads, ““When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they justified God.” It reads like a rejoicing proclamation. It uses the Aorist, Active, Indicative of the Verb DIKAIOO δικαιόω that means, “justify, render innocent, or pronounce righteous.” It was a forensic term meaning, “to make or establish as right, to judge, or to execute justice.” Here, it is used for the sense of “proven right” as also found, Mat 11:19; Luke 7:35, and as “proven just” in our verse regarding God; cf. Rom 8:33; 1 Tim 3:16.
No one can nor needs to “justify” God and His actions, as all that He does is righteous and just. So, this means they recognized, understood, or acknowledged God’s justice in that everyone had an opportunity for salvation and greatest in the Kingdom of God. As we noted above, the greatness comes from being placed in Union with Jesus Christ, not by works. John had the greatest “works” as it were, being the greatest mortal born among women, but he was not of the Age / Dispensation when believers would be placed in union with Jesus Christ.
“Tax collectors,” TELONES, is used once again for those who collected taxes for the Roman government and were despised by the people. It also represents “sinners,” in the Pharisees’ eyes, as also noted in vs. 34, which in reality represents all people, because all are sinners, Rom 3:10, 23. When Jesus said that the least in the Kingdom of God would be greater than John the Baptist, they understood the justice of God, which means, salvation is not based on our works or good deeds, but on the salvation plan of God, i.e., the person and work of Jesus Christ. Those who enter the kingdom of God are those who are saved through faith in the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior, and not by their works.
Rom 1:17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” Cf. Rom 4:3/Gen 15:6; Rom 4:8/Psa 32:2; Gal 2:16.
Gal 2:16, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
This is acknowledged in the last phrase, “having been baptized with the baptism of John.” John’s baptism was to identify the recipient with the Kingdom of God through the Messiah. Since these people received that Baptism, they would be identified with God’s kingdom once Jesus completed His work upon the Cross. The people viewed this “equal privilege and equal opportunity” for salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of God as being just, therefore, “they justified God.” Then, “having been baptized with the baptism of John,” means having believed in the just plan of God for salvation, they declared their confidence in God’s Plan by accepting John’s baptism. They believed and obeyed.
I am sure that this was viewed in their minds in contrast to what the Pharisees and Scribes were peddling. They were preaching a system of works for entrance into the Kingdom of God. John and Jesus where preaching “faith” in the Messiah’s work, as entrance into the kingdom of God. For the people, anyone could have that kind of faith, and they viewed it as being part of the Justice of God. But, what the Pharisees were preaching was not attainable by all, and therefore was unjust! This leads into the next section where Jesus rebukes the unbelieving Pharisees and Scribes.
Section 3, Jesus’ rebuke of the unbelieving Pharisees, vs. 30-35.
Luke 7:30, “But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.”
Here, Luke uses for the first time “lawyers,” which is the Adjective NOMIKOS, νομικός used as a Noun here that means, “lawyer, legal expert, jurist, notary, pertaining to the law, or according to law.” These lawyers are somewhat equivalent to the “Scribes,” GRAMMATEUS that is a generic term and “lawyer” a specialized word for ones skilled in law and jurisprudence of the Mosaic Law. A similar word is NOMODIDASKALOS meaning, “doctor (teacher) of the law.” Cf. Luke 10:25; 11:45-46, 52; 14:3; Mat 22:35. As such, NOMIKOS is used in the contexts of administrating or understanding the Law of Moses.
In NT times, the NOMIKOS did three things:
1. They studied and interpret the Law. Due to the general nature of the Law, they clarified the Law in practical ways.
2. They taught the Law to the young Jewish men.
3. They had to act in decisions or questions about the Law. They acted as both judges and advisors to the court.
In our passage, like the Pharisees had done, they rejected Jesus as the Messiah by misinterpreting the Word of God, which led to “rejecting God’s purpose for themselves.”
“Rejected,” is the Aorist, Active, Indicative of the Verb ATHETEO, ἀθετέω that means, “nullify, reject, ignore, disregard, or make void.” It was used in regard “to breaking an agreement or a promise, and a breach of trust.” It commonly referred to “rejecting something/someone” or “disproving its validity.” Cf. Luke 10:16; John 12:48.
Jesus said in Luke 10:16, “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
He also stated in John 12:48, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”
In our passage, they were rejecting God’s “purpose for themselves,” where “purpose” is the Noun BOULE, βουλή that can mean, “plan, purpose, advice, or design.” This is the first use of this word in the NT. In classical Greek, BOULE carries the meaning of a “well-thought-out decision of the will.” It also was used for an official gathering or assembly. In our passage, it represents God’s Plan for their lives as it also does in Acts 2:23; 4:28; 13:36; 20:27; Eph 1:11; Heb 6:17.
So these men, who supposedly were experts of God’s Word, especially the Law of Moses, had completely misinterpreted that Word and as such rejected Jesus as their Messiah. As a result, they rejected “God’s plan for their lives,” as God had intended for them to be teachers and preachers of the Word in truth to teach the world about Jesus being the Messiah / Savior / King from the OT and the Law. These men could have had a tremendous impact on the world in God’s Plan, if they walked inside of God’s plan for their lives. Yet, they did not, having rejected God’s plan for their lives.
“Not having been baptized by John,” was the sign of misinterpreting God’s Word that led to rejecting God’s purpose for their lives. Why did these men not get baptized by John? Remember, John’s “baptism,” was not just a process of an immersion into water. John’s baptism was the concluding ceremony to what he had first preached to the people. John had taught from the Word of God much about Jesus being the Messiah / Savior / King, and then invited those who believed in Jesus to come and be baptized. Remember Billy Graham. He did not invite people to come forward and accept Jesus as their Savior at the beginning of his revival meetings. No! He first taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then invited the people to receive Jesus as their Savior based on what they had heard and then believed.
So, this was not just a refusal to be baptized, it was a rejection of the Word of God that John was teaching. Like the Pharisees, in their self-righteous arrogance, they thought they knew the Word of God better than others, including John and Jesus. And why not, they were deemed experts of God’s Word, especially the Law of Moses; they were “Lawyers.” They thought they knew what a right relationship with God entailed. So, they rejected the teaching of John the Baptist and did not get baptized, with the result of rejecting God’s purpose and plan for their lives. First and foremost, they did not get “saved,” or “born again.” Secondly, as a result, they could not be used by God to preach and teach others the truth of God’s Word for salvation nor the correct spiritual walk in their lives.
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.
In contrast, in vs. 29, the common people, including the tax collectors for the Romans, recognized John as God’s man with God’s message for them. They believed and were baptized.
Yet, for those who reject God’s plan and purpose for their lives, they become the kind of people Jesus describes in vs. 31-34. It does not 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 and Lawyers did with John and Jesus. They become the kind of people who commit themselves to themselves, their own interpretations, and their own way of trying to live the spiritual life, to their detriment.
2 Cor 10:12, “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.”
Jesus then gives a short parable to explain this in vs. 31-34. This is paralleled in Mat 11:16-19. In this parable, Jesus is using two comparatives to show the rejection of Him and God’s Plan for their lives of some of the people, especially the Lawyers / Scribes and Pharisees who in vs. 30, “Rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.” As such, they were unsaved people.
In the first part of the parable, vs. 31-32, Jesus points out the unresponsiveness of the Scribes / Lawyers and Pharisees as they were like unresponsive, self-absorbed children.
Luke 7:31, “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like?”
Here, Jesus says, “To what,” using the interrogative Pronoun TIS, and “shall I compare,” using the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb HOMOIOO that means, “make alike, be like, compare a person or a thing.” He then gives a generic object that He is speaking about, “Men of this generation,” ANTHROPOS GENEA. Therefore, Jesus is rebuking the “men of this generation,” meaning the self-righteous legalistic religious leaders and their followers, who have rejected Him and God’s plan of salvation.
Later, Jesus would further rebuke His unbelieving contemporaries by calling them “evil, adulterous, unbelieving, and perverse,” Mat 12:39-45; 17:17; Luke 11:29 ff.; Acts 2:40. This reflects the LXX’s translation of the OT using GENEA in connection with God’s judgment upon those rejecting Him, cf. Luke 17:25; Heb 3:10; Psa 95:7-11.
Luke 7:32, “They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep’.”
Some call this, “The parable of the brats.” “Children,” here is PAIDION that means, “infant, little, or young child.” It is used in contrast to the “children” in vs. 35, which is TEKNON. They are synonymous terms, but Jesus uses them to contrast the unbeliever in this verse, versus the believer in vs. 35. The context is what gives us this contrasting use.
“Sit in the market place,” KATHEMAI HO EN AGORA, is analogous to “living in the world,” i.e., Satan’s cosmic system.
Then we see the unresponsiveness of the Pharisees and those who follow them, in these two contrasting events that represent their unresponsiveness to God’s two messengers, John and Jesus. These two analogies of playing the flute and singing a dirge speak to children’s games that represent playing a wedding game and playing a funeral game, respectively.
In the first we see John, “playing the flute,” (AULEO, “play the flute or wind instrument,” Mat 11:17; 1 Cor 14:7), called them to the Kingdom of God to be joined in union with, (i.e., be married to), the Savior.
In the second, Jesus “sang a dirge,” (THRENEO, “mourn, lament, sing a dirge, or wail,” Mat 11:17; Luke 23:27; John 16:20), called them to join in the funeral procession that speaks to His death upon the Cross where He paid for our sins. It means, be identified with the death of Jesus Christ that purchased our sins for salvation.
Of the true believer and Jesus’ disciples He said in John 16:20, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” Jesus’ disciples would be identified with His death upon the Cross, while the world would reject it / rejoice that He was no more.
In Luke 23:27, the women “lamented” for Jesus while carrying His Cross from Gabbatha to Golgotha. For this occurrence it is helpful to compare KOPETOS that means, “lamentation for the dead” (in a ceremonial sense), that is used elsewhere, with our Verb THRENEŌ, because what the women did by accompanying Jesus was a form of burial procession. Therefore, they too were identified with Jesus’ death upon the Cross.
In both examples, there is unresponsiveness to the call. The first says “You did not dance,” and uses an interesting Greek word for “dance,” ORCHEOMAI that is only used in this narrative in our verse and Mat 11:17, and in Mat 14:6; Mark 6:22 for the daughter of Herodias who danced at Herod’s birthday party that led to the beheading of John the Baptist. So, it represents both a party and a death, as it contrasts the two events. But in our verse, “they did not dance,” means they did not participate in the wedding. They rejected the invitation.
The second act of unresponsiveness to the call is regarding a funeral that says, “You did not weep,” that uses the word we have previously seen KLAIO that means, “weep, mourn, lament, cry, or show emotion.” We noted this in Luke 6:21, 25, that told us those who weep now, (i.e., identify with the death of Jesus Christ), will laugh/rejoice in life and eternity, as Jesus also encouraged the grieving mother in Luke 7:13; cf. 8:52, while those who laugh now, (i.e., do not identify with the death of Jesus Christ), will weep in time and eternity due to their unsaved status. In Luke 7:38, we will see a beautiful picture of a great woman identifying herself with the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In both scenarios, the people who did not believe were not responding in a sensible way to the message of the Kingdom. Jesus is subtly pointing out their rejection to accept His wedding invitation and being identified with His death, burial, and resurrection for salvation. They are in fact, rejecting God’s Plan of Salvation as they are rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As such, the Pharisees, Scribes, and their followers were unresponsive to the Gospel; they would neither dance nor weep.
Then, in vs. 33-34, Jesus compares what they said about John and Himself by pointing out their attacks on both of them in the form of insults and rejection, while also pointing out their hypocrisy. He points out the contrasting styles between John and Himself, just as the Pharisees did in Luke 5:33, yet they reject both of them.
Luke 7:33, “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’”
John did not “eat bread,” ESTHINO ARTOS, nor “drink wine,” PINO OINOS. This refers to the fact that he came with all the marks of the OT Nazarite Vow, a holy devotion to God, cf. Num 6:1-8; Judges 16:17; 1 Sam 1:11-28; Luke 1:13, 15. Yet, the Pharisees criticized and rejected him, saying he had a “demon,” DAIMONION, which meant he was demon possessed in their eyes.
They should have admired him for being so humble, sober, and self-denying. They should have sought him out because he was a man of character and observation, someone who obviously lived in the very presence of God. But, because of their self-righteous arrogance, they did not see truth or righteousness in John and declared that John had a demon spirit within him.
Luke 7:34, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”
Jesus then contrasts Himself to John and what the Pharisees said about Him. He first referred to Himself as “the Son of Man,” HUIOS ANTHROPOS, that familiar title that told the people He was the “Expected One,” the Messiah / Savior / King. Then He said He came “eating,” ESTHINO and “drinking,” PINO in a contrast of style to John. This shows us that the “Son of Man,” Jesus, came as a sociable man, living / dwelling amongst the people, yet they insulted Him in 3 ways.
1. Irrespective, He too was insulted and rejected by them as He was called a “gluttonous man,” PHAGOS ANTHROPOS, where PHAGOS means, “one who is characterized by eating, lives to eat, or an excessive eater,” which is only used in this narrative in our verse and Mat 11:19.
2. Not only that but they called Him, “a drunkard,” with the Noun OINOPOTES, οἰνοπότης that means, “a drinker of wine, or drunkard,” also only used here and Mat 11:19. Being coupled with PHAGOS makes it clear that the Pharisees were not merely saying Jesus drank wine in moderation, as was common at meals in those days, but that He was falsely characterized by excessive wine consumption, hence a drunkard. They falsely applied this principle to Jesus, Prov 23:20, “Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat.” This fulfilled a potential prophecy of Jesus from Deut 21:20, “They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard’.”
3. Not only was He a glutton and a drunkard, but He was also “a friend of,” PHILOS, “Tax Collectors,” TELONES, and “sinners,” HAMARTOLOS, “sinful, sinner, or even heathen,” i.e., the lowliest of society. This had to do with His multiple associations with them during His ministry; not entering into their sinful ways, but trying to save them from their sins. Jesus was recalling the event of Luke 5:30-32, “The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” 31And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance”.”
As such, Jesus came with a compassionate heart that shared the life of the common people and showed the love of God through it. He associated with all types of people, including the Pharisees and lawyers vs. 36-50, even though He knew most of them did not like Him and would reject Him. He also fellowshipped with the despised tax collectors and sinners even though He knew he would be criticized by the elite Pharisees. The fact of the matter was that Jesus ate, drank wine, and was sociable without any sacrifice of principle and thus falsely accused of gluttony, drunkenness, and compromising with the sins of notorious evildoers. Unlike John the Baptist, Jesus entered into the social life of the people; He reached out in love to meet the needs of all. Yet, He was criticized and rejected, and eventually crucified for it.
In this passage and Mat 11:16-19, the Lord accused His generation of totally misunderstanding John the Baptist who lived sacrificially and managed without that which others felt was necessary. He also accused them of not understanding Himself for His behavior, which was socially acceptable. Therefore, that generation rejected both John and Jesus: the one because he was too unsocial, more like a demoniac living in the wilderness than a rational man; the other because He was too much the reverse, given to indulgences and consorting with the lowest classes of society. They had contrasting styles, yet both John and Jesus were insulted and rejected by the self-righteous. They refused to accept God’s messengers, which means they refused to accept God’s message, no matter which messenger presented it. Luke 10:16, “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
And, because of their rejection of the message, they were actually destroying themselves and did not enter into God’s Plan for their lives.
Luke 7:35, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
This verse is joined to the last verse in Matthew’s account, and has a different ending word, (Mat 11:19b, “… Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”), where in Luke’s, it stands alone.
Here, “God’s plan for salvation,” is called “wisdom,” which is the Noun SOPHIA in the Greek. God’s Plan of Salvation is found in the person of Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus is called “wisdom” in 1 Cor 1:24, 30. We could also call this “the Gospel,” message.
“Vindicated,” is the same Verb we noted in vs. 29, DIKAIOO that means, “justify, render innocent, pronounce righteous.” Here, it is in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative for the dogmatic reality that God’s plan of salvation will receive acknowledgement of being “just,” it will be “reckoned as just,” or “pronounced just and righteous,” based on the evidence being those who have accept it (the wisdom of God, i.e., the Gospel of Jesus Christ), are entered into the Kingdom of God.
It provides an interesting play on words, where in vs. 29, the people rendered God as just based on His Plan of salvation having equal privilege and equal opportunity for all of mankind, and here, those who have accepted God’s Plan for salvation will demonstrate the justice of God, especially to the unbelievers, simply by being in the Kingdom of God.
“Children” is the Greek Noun TEKNON that denotes a “child” and connotes the child-parent relationship. Here, it is used in regard to God the Father’s relationship with all believers throughout human history called His children, who will be in His Kingdom forever, cf. Mat 18:1-4; 19:13-14; John 1:12; 1 John 3:1
John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
Mat 19:13-14, “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’.”
1 John 3:1, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”
So, this means that in the end, God’s plan of salvation will be rendered and proclaimed just and right by the sheer fact that there will be millions or billions of people in the Kingdom of God, because they believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah / Savior / King, which every member of the human race has the same opportunity to do.
Therefore, “the proof is in the pudding,” as we say, that means you can tell a wise decision by its results. In this case, we could change that idiom to say, “the proof is in the putting,” which means, believers in Jesus Christ who are placed in the Kingdom of God, will prove the righteousness and justice of God’s plan for salvation. And as we have seen, the least of this Age, who believe, will be the greatest people in the kingdom of God because of their union with Jesus Christ. And, the greatest people of this world, (Satan’s cosmic system), who disbelieve, will not even enter the kingdom of God. As such, which is wiser: faith in Jesus Christ or unbelief?
Notice that Matthew ends this statement with the word “deeds.” “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” There, the most reliable ancient texts have ERGON that means, “work, deed, action, occupation, task, thing, or matter.” This word is first used in the NT, in Mat 5:16 that provides context, Mat 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We next see it in Matthew 11:2, “Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples.” And then it is used in this verse Mat 11:19.
Luke uses it only twice, Luke 11:48 for evil deeds, and in Luke 24:19 for the righteous deeds of Jesus.
Luke 24:19, “And He said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to Him, ‘The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people’.”
As you know, “good deeds,” also speaks to Divine good production, the “Fruit of the Spirit,” which is what Jesus accomplished throughout His ministry. As such, all that Jesus did had the intent and goal to bring people into the Kingdom of God. Therefore, all that are entered into that Kingdom, especially those who are placed in union with Jesus Christ, are called God’s children, which is also His fruit. And, the presence of these children / fruit in the Kingdom of God, will vindicate God’s grace plan of salvation, in contrast to the “work for your salvation” plan the Pharisees believed in and were peddling. Therefore, “wisdom,” SOPHIA, i.e., God’s plan of salvation through the person and work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, will be “vindicated,” proven and pronounced as just, by all her “children,” the believers in Heaven, which is Jesus’ and God’s Divine good production, the Fruit of the Spirit.
John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent’.”
This truth is illustrated in the following incident, vs. 36-50.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#19-105 & 19-106 & 19-107
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!