Luke 7:31 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentOur blessed Saviour in these words describes the perverse humor of the Pharisees, whom nothing could allure to the embracing of the gospel, neither John's ministry nor Christ's.
This our Saviour sets forth two ways, allegorically and properly: by way of allegory he compares them to sullen children, whom nothing would please, neither mirth nor mourning; if their fellows piped before them, they would not dance; if they sang mournful songs to them they would not lament: that is, the Pharisees were of such a censorious and capricious humor, that God himself could not please them, although he used variety of means and methods in order to that end.
Next our Lord plainly interprets this allegory, by telling them that John came to them neither eating nor drinking, that is, not so freely and plentifully as other men, being a very austere and mortified man, both in his diet and habit; all which was designed by God to bring the Pharisees to repentance and amendment of life.
But, instead of this, they censure him for having a devil, because he delighted in solitude, and was not so free in conversation as some men, according to the ancient observation, "That he that delighteth in solitude, is either an angel or a devil," either a wild beast or a god.
John being thus rejected, Christ himself comes to them, who being of a free and familiar conversation, not shunning the society of the worst of men, no, not of the Pharisees themselves, but complying with their customs, and accompanying them innocently at their feasts. Yet the freedom of our Saviour's conversation displeased them as much as John's reservedness of temper; for they cry, Behold a man gluttonous, a friend of publicans and sinners; Christ's affability towards sinners they account an approbation of their sins; and his sociable disposition, looseness and luxury.
Learn hence, that the faithful and zealous ministers of Christ, let their temper and converse be what it will, cannot please the enemies of religion, and the haters of the power of godliness; neither John's austerity, nor Christ's familiarity, could gain upon the Pharisees. It is the duty of the ministers of God, in the course of their ministry, to seek to please all men for their good: but after all our endeavors to please all, if we strenuously oppose the errors and vices of the times, we shall please but very few. But if God and conscience be of the number of those few, we are safe and happy.
Observe, 2. That it has been the old policy of the devil, that he might hinder the success of the gospel, to fill the minds of persons with an invincible prejudice against the ministers and dispensers of the gospel. Here the Pharisees are prejudiced unreasonably both against John and against Christ, that the success of both their ministries must be frustrated and disappointed.
Observe, 3. That after all the scandalous reproaches cast upon the Christian religion, and the ministers and professors of it, such as are Wisdom's children, wise and good men, will justify religion, that is, approve it in their judgments, honor it in their discourses, and adorn it in their lives: Wisdom is justified of all her children.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.