Matthew 11:16-19 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 4 Impossibility of Pleasing Everyone
11:16-19 – The Impossibility of Pleasing Everyone
|| Luke 7:31-35
MT11:16 “But, with whom shall I compare this generation? [This generation] is like young children, sitting in the market-squares, who yell at various ones, MT11:17 saying, ‘We played the flute but you did not dance! We cried but you did not mourn!’ MT11:18 For John did not eat [normally] or drink [wine], and yet they say about him, ‘He is demonized!’ MT11:19 [And yet] the Son of Humankind came eating [normally] and drinking [wine], and yet they say about him, ‘Look! a gluttonous human and a drunk – friend of tax-collectors and sinners.’ Now, wisdom is justified by its works.”
 This generation: The Greek is TEN GENEAN. It means his contemporaries. He uses the phrase several times (Matthew 12:41, 42; 23:36; 24:34; Mark 8:12; 13:30; Luke 7:31; 11:29-32, 50, 51; 17:25; 21:32).
 Various ones: The Greek is “different ones” and some render this: KJV: fellows; TCNT: playmates.
 We cried but you did not mourn: There is no pleasing these fickle children. One loses no matter which respond is taken. The phrase is rendered: PME: we played at funerals and you wouldn’t cry; RHM: we sang a lament. The Greek for “mourn” here is EKOPSASATHE and literally means “beat yourselves.”
 Did not eat: Of course actually John ate honey and locusts. So it is implied he did not eat as other people do (Luke 7:33). He was severely ascetic.
 Or drink: Obviously John drank water. The phrase “drink” is often related to drinking wine. Luke 7:33 explains this. PME: John came in the strictest austerity.
 Demonized: Or, demon-possessed. LAM: crazy. Jesus is later to be so criticized (Mark 3:21; John 10:20, 21).
 Came eating [normally] and drinking [wine]: Jesus was not an ascetic, nor a vegetarian. He was what may be called today “a drinker” in that he did imbibe wine. The KJV has the accusation: winebibber; WEY: tippling; WMS: wine-drinker. Wine in the Middle East and the whole Mediterranean area is a basic fluid at all tables (Genesis 27:25; 1 Samuel 16:20; Canticles 5:1; Isaiah 22:13; 55:1; Ecclesiastes 9:7). It is drank throughout the day, including breakfast, which might be merely dripping dried bread from the previous day into table wine. The English “wine” is a corruption of the Greek OINOS. These wines were generally of weak 4-8% alcoholic content, often mixed with water. It is possible the enormous miracle of making 120 gallons of water into wine – after the wine provided ran out – at the Cana wedding contributed to slanderous rumors (John 2:1ff).
 A drunk: Jesus would not be criticized for drinking wine for everyone did. The Greek is OINOPOTES and implies OINOPHLYGIA or drinking to excess. Compare Romans 14:21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Timothy 3:8; 5:23; Titus 2:3.
 Wisdom is justified by its works: Compare Luke 7:35. Some may have seen a contradiction in the way both John and Jesus came. Some may have had their own expectations on the manner of how these ought to come. Though God sent both men, His wisdom in the case of John and Jesus, is proved right or correct by the results. PME: wisdom stand or falls by her own actions; RIEU: God’s ways were proved to have been wise by their results; BECK: yet what a wise person does proves he’s right.