Comments on Luke 7, 31-35, by Matthew Henry.
Christ here shows the strange perverseness of the men of that generation, in their cavils both against John and Christ, and the prejudices they conceived against them.
(1.) They made but a jesting matter of the methods God took to do them good; “Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation? What can I think of absurd enough to represent them by? They are, then, “like children sitting in the market-place”, that mind nothing that is serious, but are as full of play as they can hold. As if God were but in jest with them, in all the methods He takes to do them good, as children are with one another in the market-place; they turn it all off with a banter, and are no more affected with it than with a piece of pageantry. This is the ruin of multitudes, they can never persuade themselves to be serious in the concerns of their souls. Old men sitting in the sanhedrin, were but as “children sitting in the market-place”, and no more affected with the things that belonged to their everlasting peace than people are with children’s play. O the amazing stupidity and vanity of the blind and ungodly world! The Lord awaken them out of their security.
(2.) They still found something or other to carp at.
John Baptist was a reserved, austere man, lived much in solitude, and ought to have been admired for being such a humble, sober, self denying man, and hearkened to as a man of thought and contemplation; but this, which was his praise, was turned to his reproach. Because he “came neither eating nor drinking”, so freely, plentifully, and cheerfully, as others did, ye say, “He has a devil: he is a melancholy man, he is possessed as the demoniac whose dwelling was among the tombs, though he be not quite so wild.”
Our Lord Jesus was of a more free and open conversation; He came “eating and drinking”; He would go and dine with Pharisees, though He knew they did not care for Him; and with publicans, though He knew they were no credit to Him: yet, in hopes of doing good, both to the one and the other, he conversed familiarly with them.
By this it appears that the ministers of Christ may be of very different tempers and dispositions, very different ways of preaching and living, and yet all good and useful; diversity of gifts, but each given to profit withal. Therefore none must make themselves a standard to all others, nor judge hardly of those that do not just as they do. John Baptist bore witness to
Christ, and Christ applauded John Baptist, though they were the reverse of each other in their way of living. But the common enemies of them both reproached them both. The very same men that had represented John as crazed in his intellects, because he came “neither eating nor drinking”, represented our Lord Jesus as corrupt in his morals, because he came “eating and drinking”: he is “a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber”. Ill-will never speaks well. See the malice of wicked people, and how they put the worst construction upon everything they meet with in the gospel, and in the preachers and professors of it; and hereby they think to diminish them, but really destroy themselves.
Lastly, He shows that, notwithstanding this. God will be glorified in the salvation of a chosen remnant; “Wisdom is justified of all her children”. There are those who are given to wisdom, as her children, and they shall be brought, by the grace of God, to submit to wisdom’s conduct and government, and thereby to justify wisdom in the ways she takes for bringing them to that submission; for to them they are effectual, and thereby appear well chosen. Wisdom’s children are herein unanimous, one and all, they have all a complacency in the methods of grace which divine wisdom takes, and think never the worse of them for their being ridiculed by some.