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Matthew 11:18-19 meaning...

These verses are part of a discourse where Jesus addresses the people regarding the reception of John the Baptist and Himself. The contrasting responses to the ascetic lifestyle of John and the more sociable approach of Jesus reveal the stubbornness and inconsistency of the people's hearts.

  • Contrasting Responses to John and Jesus

Jesus begins by highlighting the different lifestyles of John the Baptist and Himself:

John's Ascetic Lifestyle: John came with a strict, ascetic lifestyle, refraining from typical social activities like eating and drinking. Despite his dedication to God's message, some accused him of having a demon, illustrating the people's rejection of even the most austere approach to righteousness.

Jesus' Sociable Approach: In contrast, Jesus adopted a more sociable lifestyle, participating in meals and gatherings. However, this too was met with criticism. The accusation of being a "gluttonous man and a drunkard" reflects the people's unwillingness to accept either extreme, whether ascetic or sociable.

  • Accusations of Association with Sinners

The accusations against Jesus go beyond his lifestyle to his associations:

Friend of Tax Collectors and Sinners: The derogatory label "a friend of tax collectors and sinners" reflects the religious leaders' disapproval of Jesus' association with those considered socially and morally undesirable. This accusation attempts to undermine Jesus' credibility and character.

  • Wisdom Justified by Her Children

The concluding statement, "But wisdom is justified by her children," suggests that the true wisdom of God's ways is revealed by the outcomes or "children" it produces. In other words, the fruitfulness and transformative impact of God's wisdom become evident over time.

Affirmation of God's Wisdom: Despite the accusations and criticisms, Jesus asserts that the ultimate vindication comes from the results of His ministry—the transformed lives of those who respond to the message of the kingdom.

Relevance for Believers Today

While rooted in the historical context of Jesus' ministry, Matthew 11:18-19 holds relevance for believers today:

Understanding Human Resistance: The contrasting responses to John and Jesus reveal the varied ways people resist God's message. It prompts believers to recognize the diversity of reactions they may encounter as they share the Gospel.

Faithfulness Amid Criticism: Jesus' response to accusations teaches believers to remain faithful to their calling despite external criticism. The focus should be on God's wisdom and the transformative impact of His message.


Proverbs 8:32-36: In the Old Testament, wisdom is personified as calling out to humanity, and those who find wisdom find life and favor from the Lord. This aligns with the idea of wisdom being justified by her children.

Luke 7:35: A parallel passage in Luke includes a similar statement by Jesus: "Yet wisdom is justified by all her children." This reinforces the concept that the results or "children" of God's wisdom validate its truth.

Conclusion: Matthew 11:18-19 provides insight into the contrasting responses to the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus. The accusations against both reveal the hardened hearts of those who resisted God's message. Yet, Jesus affirms that the true wisdom of God is ultimately justified by the transformative outcomes it produces. As we engage with this passage, it encourages us to remain faithful to their calling, recognizing that the impact of God's wisdom is revealed through changed lives.

Matthew 11:18-19. “John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”


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