16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions,
17 and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not lament.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’
19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”
The illustration is taken from children playing with the real things of life, with joy and sorrow, and idling their time away. John appeared among them and they were dissatisfied with him. He was too strict, too severe; they cared not for him, and because he would not sit down and eat and drink with them they said, he has a demon.Then the Lord came. Truth and mercy were revealed through Him. He sat down with the tax-gatherers and sinners and mingled with them, eating and drinking. Divine mercy towards the fallen and outcast was most blessedly shown — the spotless One in touch with the defiled and lost, calling sinners to repentance. But they had no understanding for this, no heart for that wonderful grace. He was in their eyes but a man, for they said: “Behold a man — eating and drinking.” They put Him on the same level with the wine drinking company. Neither mourning nor rejoicing suited them. — Gaebelein, page 227.
children (v.19) — some manuscripts have “works” — in either case, it means that the wisdom of Jesus’ and John’s message is proved by the results, those who did believe.