We read in Luke 1:13-15 (NRSVCE) of the Angel foretelling the birth of John the Baptist:

Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink.

We go on to hear John saying in Mtt 3: 11

I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

One can relate that John the Baptist was restrained from drinking wine because he was to become an example of ascetic life and repentance. But, no such abstinence was mandated for Jesus except for the period of his fasting in the wilderness . He would in fact, remark on a later occasion:

Matt 11: 18-19: For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'

One is therefore, inclined to conclude that both Jesus John the Baptist were separately oriented for the Mission that each was entrusted with. But what was special in the Mission of John that mandated that he must not drink wine?

What was special with the Mission of John the Baptist which mandated that he must not drink wine?


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I think this is a mirror image of the command by an angel to the parents of Samson, the Nazirite child:

Judges 13:3-5

3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.

Both John the Baptist and Samson demonstrated their exemplary obedience through pure consumption practices and alcohol avoidance. It's like saying "How can you call my cousin John evil if you yourselves are so reckless that you occasionally get drunk!?"

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