Question:

Brother Hamilton,

I have a brother in Christ who keeps trying to get me to believe that Jesus turned the water into alcoholic wine. He keeps trying to suggest that it’s not a sin to drink, but it’s a sin to get drunk, which is why Jesus turned that water into alcoholic wine. The brother also believes that Jesus drank alcohol and gave me the scripture: Matthew 11:18-19. I’m not trying to justify drinking because I believe that drinking is sinful and it has no benefit. Neither do I believe that the sinless Jesus gave others “more” alcohol to drink. I also have a question about that scripture Matthew 11:18-19. Did Jesus actually drink since it says he came “eating and drinking?” Can you please explain this to me?

Answer:

"For 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!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds" (Matthew 11:18-19).

"Eating and drinking" refers to attending parties or social gatherings. We don't assume that John somehow survived without food or liquid. Instead, we know that John lived on locust and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). He lived a plain and austere life and did not socialize with people. Because of that, people assumed he was crazy.

Jesus was different. He ate the same foods and drinks most other people consumed. He attended parties and other social gatherings (Matthew 9:10; Luke 15:2). He didn't turn down invitations when sinners were also invited.  He didn't observe the fasts that "proper" Jews kept. Because of that, people charged him with being a glutton and drunkard. We know the charge if false. We don't assume Jesus overate or ate things not allowed by the Law of Moses just because rumor had it that he was a glutton. Nor do we assume Jesus over drank or consumed intoxicating beverages just because rumor had it that he was a drunkard. The charges do not prove what Jesus actually consumed.

That is the mistake your friend is making. He assumes that anyone charged with excessive drinking must have been drinking something intoxicating. But the problem is that a charge is not evidence. It is only a charge -- and in this case one without foundation.

Jesus' point is that, because of what both John and Jesus taught, those who rejected their teachings sought out anything they disliked about them and made it into a claim that they should not be listened to. We all know that some people can never be pleased. However, the proof is in the action. We know that what John and Jesus actually did proves that the charges were false.

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