The Lunatic and the Glutton
Have you ever been called a lunatic or a glutton? It is not exactly a compliment to be called such. When we think of lunatics, men like Adolf Hitler come to mind. When we think of gluttons, we think of people with excessive eating disorders and no self-control. To be called a lunatic or a glutton is usually derogatory, not complimentary. In Luke 7:31-35, we read of two men: one was called a lunatic, and one was called a glutton. Unexpectedly, these two men are none other than John the Baptist and Jesus Himself.
John the Baptist was a man who lived a very different lifestyle from the normal crowd. He spent much time in the wilderness; he wore rugged clothing; he ate locusts and wild honey. He did not indulge in normal food and drink as the other Jews did. Because of John’s behaviour, the Jews said “he hath a devil” (Luke 7:33); i.e. he is possessed, he is crazy!
John was of course not a lunatic. However, we stood out from the crowd. In a similar manner, Christians are also to be different from the world (1 Peter 2:9). We do not belong to this world (John 15:19). Therefore, we must conform to this world, but rather be transformed according to the will of God (Romans 12:1-2). In our dressing, our entertainment choices, our conduct, we ought not follow after the world’s standards and values. Are we different from the world? When we set ourselves part from this world, that is when others may call us weird or crazy!
Jesus, on the other hand, lived a very different lifestyle from John. He spent much time living among the people. He even ate together with the publicans and sinners. He enjoyed the same food and drink that the normal Jews would. However, He apparently did not fast as often as the Jewish leaders did. Hence, they called Jesus a “gluttonous man” (Luke 7:34).
Jesus was of course not a glutton. However, He was someone who spent much time reaching out to the lost. Although we ought to be separate from this world, Jesus does not call us to go and isolate ourselves in caves. Rather, Christians need to meet people in order to fulfil the Great Commission, to go out and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Spending time with people often involves food. How about having Bible studies over lunch? Are we actively meeting people to share the gospel?
It is interesting to note that, in order to save the lost, God would send different types of prophets. John impressed the Jews with his abstinence from worldly influences. Jesus was personally involved in the lives of sinners. God does not have a one size fits all solution to evangelism, and often we need to employ different methods to reach out to the lost (cf. Jude 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 9:22-23).
However, sometimes no matter what method you use, others will still reject the gospel. John the Baptist did not indulge in food and drink, and they mocked him. Jesus enjoyed food and drink, and they mocked him. That is why Jesus said: “They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept” (Luke 7:32). No matter what you do, they will not be happy! When the heart is hardened, they will find any excuse to reject the truth (Matthew 13:15).
Jesus ends off by saying: “But wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:35). Those who are wise will accept the evidence and embrace Jesus. It is not wisdom to be as the Jews, to reject all shapes and forms of the truth. As Christians, we are reminded also that we should not be as the Jews, to be hard to please and unhappy with everything. We ought to “do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14).
So, would you like to be called a lunatic or a glutton? John the Baptist and Jesus were called such. However, it is not because they were literally lunatics and gluttons; the people rejected them because they preached the truth. Let’s not be afraid to be zealous for God, and to do the right thing. People may call us crazy and other things; but above all we want to be acknowledged as wise and faithful servants of God.