So Jesus says that the Son of Man came “eating and drinking.” Does he mean:
- Men in general eat carbohydrates and drink liquids (which is too obvious)
- Jesus eats carbohydrates and drinks water (again, somewhat obvious).
- Jesus eats stuff and drinks wine.
- Jesus always came eating and drinking (impossible)?
29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) 31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
The general populace, including the tax collectors, responded favorably to Christ’s words both about John the Baptist and God (v.29). But the Pharisees and “experts” in Mosaic Law did not (v.30). It was this last group that elicits Christ’s further comments to draw a parallel (v.31), which is in a chiastic structure:
(A1) We played the pipe for you, <------------------------------------------------ (A2) and you did not dance; | (B1) we sang a dirge, <------------------------------------------- | (B2) and you did not cry. | | | | (B'1) For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, <--- | (B'2) and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ | (A'1) The Son of Man came eating and drinking, <-------------------------------- (A'2) and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
The concepts of A1 corresponds to A’1, A2 to A’2, B1 to B’1, and B2 to B’2.
For B to B’ group, these children who were making a sorrowful proclamation by singing a dirge, are not getting a mournful response from the other children, who were not crying. Likewise John the Baptist came with a mournful proclamation of “repentance for the remission of sins” (Lk 3:3), and many tax collectors and sinners were responding (Lk 3:10-14), being baptized of John (Lk 3:7; i.e. identifying with John’s message). But the Pharisees and lawyers were not remorseful, and were unrepenting (Lk 3:7; cf. Mt 3:7), rejecting John the Baptist’s message to be baptized (Lk 7:30) because they thought he was possessed of a demon, because he “came neither eating bread nor drinking wine.” That is, because he was a loner not having companionship with others, not eating at feasts and gatherings, and not wearing fancy clothes or dwelling in a house (Lk 7:25), but lived outside of town (Mt 3:1), clothed in camel hair, eating locusts and wild honey (Mt 3:4). All things opposite of the Pharisees and lawyers (Lk 20:46), and thus they deemed him demon possessed.
For A to A’ group, these children who were making a joyful proclamation by playing music, are not getting a joyful response from the other children, who were not dancing. Likewise the Son of Man came with a joyful proclamation of the “gospel [i.e. good news] of the kingdom,” and many tax collectors and sinners were responding (as Scripture testifies many places, crowds were following Him), seeking to enjoy His companionship (i.e. eating and drinking with Him; Lk 5:29). But the Pharisees and lawyers were not responding joyfully. They were rejecting Christ’s message because he was associating with this crowd (Lk 5:30), whom in their pride they looked down upon (Lk 18:10-13). They also assumed Christ was being a glutton and a drunkard along with this crowd (for such was the behavior of the tax collectors and sinners).
Conclusion on “eating and drinking”
So the phrase “eating and drinking” is not meant to reflect at all upon “what is he eating and drinking” in contrast to John the Baptist, it is that He was having companionship with a crowd the Pharisees and lawyers rejected, in contrast to John the Baptist who had companionship with no one.