What does Luke 7:33 mean?
ESV: For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’
NIV: For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’
NASB: For John the Baptist has come neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’
CSB: For John the Baptist did not come eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’
NLT: For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’
KJV: For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
NKJV: For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’
Verse Commentary:
Having defended John's unique prophethood and message (Luke 7:24–28), Jesus condemns both those who reject John and those who reject Himself. He compares these religious leaders and their followers to children who dictate the rules of the game then complain when others don't want to join (Luke 7:32).

Jesus isn't equating John's ascetic lifestyle to children who sang a dirge that the people refused to weep to; He's saying that when the Pharisees and scribes "played the flute," John did not dance. John did not worship the way the Pharisees wanted him to: according to the Oral Law. Nor did he take pride in his ability to keep the Law. Instead, he lived in the wilderness, wore camel-hair clothing, and ate wild honey and locusts (Matthew 3:4). Even worse, John called the religious leaders "vipers," questioned their descendancy from Abraham, and told them they needed to repent (Matthew 3:7–10). The respectable Jews, including the Pharisees and lawyers, reject him for his ascetic lifestyle and his extreme message.

John is fulfilling the purpose God has for his life in his message and his lifestyle. Meanwhile, his detractors reject God's purpose (Luke 7:30), replacing it with human tradition in the form of the Oral Law. It's not that God intends the religious leaders to live like John. But He does expect them to live out John's message of repentance.

"You say" shows that John's critics are present. That Jesus calls them "the people of this generation" indicates He means more than just the Pharisees and lawyers (Luke 7:31). Although many individuals and groups of Jews did become John's disciples, the Jews as a nation rejected his call to repentance and, consequently, Jesus' offer of salvation.

Matthew's account uses shorthand, saying, "For John came neither eating nor drinking" (Matthew 11:18). Luke uses the same terms in Luke 7:34.
Verse Context:
Luke 7:24–35 records Jesus making an interesting observation. John lived an ascetic, monk-like lifestyle in the wilderness; Jesus eats and drinks alongside moral and social outcasts. Yet both preach the same message of repentance of sins. The sinners and tax collectors respond to both John and Jesus, drawn to the message without concern for their lifestyles. Stubborn religious leaders, however, claim to judge their lifestyles; what they really can't accept is the message proclaimed by Jesus and John. This section is also depicted in Matthew 11:7–19.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 7 presents a chiasm: a set of themes mirrored around a reflection point. The humble centurion (Luke 7:1–10) contrasts the legalistic Pharisee (Luke 7:39–50). The widow of Nain (Luke 7:11–17) and the sinful women (Luke 7:36–38) have nothing to offer but gratitude for Jesus' blessings. In the center are John the Baptist and his disciples who struggle to trust that Jesus is worth following (Luke 7:18–23), then the sinners who do choose to follow Jesus and the religious leaders who refuse (Luke 7:24–35).
Chapter Context:
Luke 7 continues Jesus' mission primarily to the people of Galilee expressed as a series of pointed events and teachings punctuated by calls to follow Him. He has finished teaching the rigors of discipleship (Luke 6:17–45) and invited the crowd to place their faith in Him (Luke 6:46–49). Here, Luke describes different reactions to Jesus' miracles and message. Next, Jesus will reveal the mechanics of and reactions to His call (Luke 8:4–21) before showing His great authority over nature, demons, sickness, and worldly powers (Luke 8:22—9:17). After a final call to the disciples to deepen their faith (Luke 9:18–50), Jesus will turn toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51—19:27).
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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