For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

So Jesus says that the Son of Man came "eating and drinking."

Does he mean:

  1. Men in general eat carbohydrates and drink liquids (which is too obvious)
  2. Jesus eats carbohydrates and drinks water (again, somewhat obvious).
  3. Jesus eats stuff and drinks wine.
  4. Jesus always came eating and drinking (impossible).

Is the 3rd correct?

I mean Jesus says he came eating and drinking. What is he eating and drinking anyway? Specifically, is he referring to drinking wine?

  • I think Jesus would have kept a "sober mind."
    – Bagpipes
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 12:04
  • I think that if you infer that "drinking entails alcohol" then "eating" must also be interpreted in the pejorative sense, as in: feasting, in the somewhat sensuous, self-fulfilling, gluttonous sense, (not necessarily engorgement). Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 15:04

6 Answers 6


Jesus is being compared to John the Baptist by the Pharisees in that John ate sparingly and only things such as locust and honey and drank no wine. Jesus ate pretty much whatever he wanted to and drank wine, and was accused of gluttony and being a winebibber or drunken, because of this. They thought John the Baptist diet strange and too controlled, but when Jesus ate normally, what others ate, they condemned him for having no control. Since there was no sin attributed to food and wine, other than a practice of excess (gluttony and drunkenness), the charge was a slander. Basically they hated that he ate with sinners and publicans as well. So yes, 3 would be correct.

  • How do you know that drunknness is sin? In canae wedding, if the drink is indeed wine, which you seem to have no problem with, Jesus produces copious amount of wine. So Jesus is helping drunk people to get even more drunk.
    – user4951
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 5:40
  • 1
    @JimThio: Who said ANYONE got drunk? I don't remember reading that in the text of Scripture. A few observations: 1) Wine in those days was safer to drink that plain ol' un-chlorinated water (before the germ theory of disease was discovered); 2) wine in those days was likely very weak; whereas most wines today contain 13-15 percent alcohol content, wine in Jesus' day contained perhaps a third or a quarter of that amount of alcohol; 3) the wedding reception in Cana was a joyous occasion, and wine in moderation makes the heart glad (Psalm 104:15 NAS). In short, Jesus was definitely NOT a killjoy! Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 21:55
  • 1
    Well, who said that all people in the party drink in moderation? John 2:10 says that typical in typical jewish party, people get drunk. Also Jesus produce copious amount of wine.
    – user4951
    Commented Apr 19, 2014 at 7:54
  • @J.Chang John 2:10 doesn't say that the celebration at Cana, wherein Jesus partook, was an occasion where John 2:10 happens. Jesus didn't anywhere promote drunkenness. Jesus implies it is a sin when He complains that both He and John are WRONGLY accused of excesses in even the most innocent of things, namely, eating, and drinking licit amounts of wine. cf. Lk 21:34. Not all wine needs to be drank immediately. You're surely aware these celebrations didn't just last the one day, but several. Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 17:14

Jesus means none of the four things you noted

Here is a slightly expanded context to the words you quote. John the Baptist had just sent messengers to confirm some things about Jesus (Lk 7:18-23). After they leave, Jesus says some very impressive words about John the Baptist (Lk 7:24-28). At this point is...

Luke 7:29-35

29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) 31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

‘We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
 we sang a dirge,
    and you did not cry.’

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”


The general populace, including the tax collectors, responded favorably to Christ's words both about John the Baptist and God (v.29). But the Pharisees and "experts" in Mosaic Law did not (v.30). It was this last group that elicits Christ's further comments to draw a parallel (v.31), which is in a chiastic structure:

(A1) We played the pipe for you, <------------------------------------------------
   (A2)   and you did not dance;                                                 |
(B1) we sang a dirge,            <-------------------------------------------    |
   (B2)  and you did not cry.                                               |    |
                                                                            |    |
(B'1) For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine,  <---    |
   (B'2) and you say, ‘He has a demon.’                                          |
(A'1) The Son of Man came eating and drinking,   <--------------------------------
   (A'2) and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, 
             a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

The concepts of A1 corresponds to A'1, A2 to A'2, B1 to B'1, and B2 to B'2.

For B to B' group, these children who were making a sorrowful proclamation by singing a dirge, are not getting a mournful response from the other children, who were not crying. Likewise John the Baptist came with a mournful proclamation of "repentance for the remission of sins" (Lk 3:3), and many tax collectors and sinners were responding (Lk 3:10-14), being baptized of John (Lk 3:7; i.e. identifying with John's message). But the Pharisees and lawyers were not remorseful, and were unrepenting (Lk 3:7; cf. Mt 3:7), rejecting John the Baptist's message to be baptized (Lk 7:30) because they thought he was possessed of a demon, because he "came neither eating bread nor drinking wine." That is, because he was a loner not having companionship with others, not eating at feasts and gatherings, and not wearing fancy clothes or dwelling in a house (Lk 7:25), but lived outside of town (Mt 3:1), clothed in camel hair, eating locusts and wild honey (Mt 3:4). All things opposite of the Pharisees and lawyers (Lk 20:46), and thus they deemed him demon possessed.

For A to A' group, these children who were making a joyful proclamation by playing music, are not getting a joyful response from the other children, who were not dancing. Likewise the Son of Man came with a joyful proclamation of the "gospel [i.e. good news] of the kingdom," and many tax collectors and sinners were responding (as Scripture testifies many places, crowds were following Him), seeking to enjoy His companionship (i.e. eating and drinking with Him; Lk 5:29). But the Pharisees and lawyers were not responding joyfully. They were rejecting Christ's message because he was associating with this crowd (Lk 5:30), whom in their pride they looked down upon (Lk 18:10-13). They also assumed Christ was being a glutton and a drunkard along with this crowd (for such was the behavior of the tax collectors and sinners).

Conclusion on "eating and drinking"

So the phrase "eating and drinking" is not meant to reflect at all upon "what is he eating and drinking" in contrast to John the Baptist, it is that He was having companionship with a crowd the Pharisees and lawyers rejected, in contrast to John the Baptist who had companionship with no one.

Did Jesus Drink Wine?

Though your question content did not clarify it until I edited it in, your title to the question was pointed at resolving this. I assume this is at least in part because of John the Baptist it is said: "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born" (Lk 1:15, NIV).

So because of this contrast, you are wondering if Jesus then partook of wine.


First, a little background of the Old Testament view on it:

  • The Aaronic priesthood was not to drink (Lev 10:9-11); the passage specifically notes both during their service in the Lord's tabernacle, but also so they could rightly teach the Lord's commands (which would be at any other time).
  • For kings and princes (rulers of Israel) it was not wise to drink, for it would impair their judgment to rule (Prov 31:4-5), which God would hold them accountable for (e.g. Isa 28:1-10).
  • For all others, it was not wise to drink, for it would impair their judgment to obey the commands of God, and thus bring "woe" upon themselves (Isa 5:11-12, 22-25).

So those seeking to teach God's truth were specifically forbidden to drink (to them it was sin). To rulers, warning was given to not drink, else they might get drunk and rule unrighteously, and bring judgment upon themselves. To others, warning was given to not drink, else they might get drunk and disobey God's commands. So the possibility of being "lead astray" (Prov 20:1) was the chief reason to not drink, and specifically to not do so in excess. Proverbs is full of calls to wisdom.

This command against excess was carried over to the New Testament (Rom 13:13; Eph 5:18). The call for wisdom is also to the Christian (e.g. Col 1:29).

Of Christ

He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:20). The Melchizedek Christ is being compared to brought wine with him when coming to meet Abraham (Gen 14:18). He was not under the Aaronic command of law. Christ's order of priesthood does not specifically forbid Him from drinking wine.

Christ was born to be "king of kings" (1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14), so he was to be wise in ruling.

Christ was born to be obedient to God the Father (Jn 5:30), and fulfilled the Law (Mt 5:17) in obedience to God (Rom 5:19).

Christ is in the place of all those who were to be wise about drinking intoxicating beverages. It would seem the wisest thing of all would be not to drink at all, but that is still speculation as to whether He ever drank or not. It would not be unwise to take a sip (as, say, during Passover time); but when He blessed the cup during the last supper, He did not partake, but gave it to the disciples (Mt 26:27-29; Mk 14:23-25; Lk 22:17-18, esp. v.17 notes who the cup was distributed to).

However in Mk 14:25, Christ says "Truly I say to you..."

ὅτι   οὐκέτι    οὐ μὴ       πίω        ἐκ  τοῦ  γενήματος   τῆς    ἀμπέλου   ἕως   τῆς
that  no more  not ever  will I drink  of  the    fruit    of the   vine,   until  the

ἡμέρας  ἐκείνης    ὅταν  αὐτὸ   πίνω    καινὸν    ἐν  τῇ   βασιλείᾳ τοῦ   Θεοῦ.
 day   that [day]  when   it   I drink  new/anew  in  the  kingdom   -   of God.

The interesting word here is οὐκέτι (ouketi; "no more" or "no longer"). This at least implies Jesus had partaken of drinking of "the fruit of the vine" with them before. Of course, "τοῦ γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου" ("the fruit of the vine") is broader than the term that is not used here, οἶνος ("wine"). The former can encompass many levels of fermentation. He also specifically refers to that which He will partake of in the future as καινὸν ("new"), however, even "new wine" could potentially cause drunkeness (Act 2:13).


The best I can determine from this short survey (there may be evidence I have missed, this was just a couple of hours of investigation), is that Christ never would have drunk wine to the point of any level of intoxication that would impair judgment. Whether He might have partaken of sips of wine during any of the Jewish feasts seems plausible (given Mk 14:25), but not conclusive.

All that we do know that He drank for sure was water (Jn 4:7).

  • Nice, evenhanded answer. Kudos. Don Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 22:03
  • Excellent. How about disciples and saints, are you saying they drank wine and were allowed to do so as long as they did not get drunk? Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 14:16

If one does not twist the text of Gospels and quibbles too much, of course He drunk wine, for He definitely says what people say about Him (cf. Luke 7:34): "you say about Me that I am a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners", and as it is the true fact that He was, in His divine manner, friend of tax collectors and sinners, for He was often going to their houses, but not to participate in and share their sins and wickedness, but to heal them from their wickedness and give them blessing, so also the first in the list of the people's accusation, the "winebibber" is also the true fact, but of course He drunk wine not to get drunk, for He never would do that, which He would not like also people to do, and He constantly enjoined to be alert and never slacken (Mark 13:37; or Luke 12:45), and His disciples also taught the same (1 Peter 5:8), but did of course drink themselves wine in moderate and healthy amounts (1 Tim. 5:23).

That wine is a blessing if correctly used, is shown also by His miracle of turning water into wine in Cana wedding (John 2:1-11), when His mother asked Him to do so and help the hosts out from their predicament when they fell short of wine, and Jesus' wine was even a better wine than that provided by the hosts before, only a manichee or a text-torturer may think that Jesus forbade Himself or His disciples drink of this wine, while allowing it only to others. To be in a wedding and not participate in celebration, not drink wine provided by hosts at all, is a big embarrassment for the latter, and who may suppose Jesus went to the wedding with His disciples to embarrass the hosts purposefully, and even more, to exacerbate this embarrassment by providing more wine while not touching a drop of it Himself.

Moreover, when He says at the final days of His earthly mission "I will not drink from fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it new in my Father's kingdom", he clearly implies that He drunk it before (Matthew 26:29).

Thus, the answer is He drunk wine, neither forbade it to others to drink, but was not getting drunk and the same He taught the people also.


The interesting word here, in Mk 14:25, is οὐκέτι (ouketi; "no more" or "no longer"). This at least implies Jesus had partaken of drinking of "the fruit of the vine" with them before. I think the inclusion of ouketi, "no more" and the inclusion of oinopotés "winebibber," (drunkard) settles the matter. Using Rabbi Ishmael's rule of "hekesh" (comparison) of Mk. 14:25 to Mark 9:8 "And suddenly, looking around, they no longer (ouketi | οὐκέτι | adverb) saw anyone, but only Jesus with them." we see that ouketi requires a cessation of something that previously 'happened;' in this case (Mk 14:25) Jesus took a vow as a nazir not to drink wine 'again,' (or no longer) until a later time (in the kingdom anew). Clearly, Jesus drank wine just like Yoseph (Joseph) and his brothers did (Brashith - Genesis 43.34).

The response Jesus gives, "wisdom is justified by her children" seems to imply that each generation is judged by how they treat the out-casts of society.

What seems to get in the way of understanding whether Jesus drank wine is the fact that his message was one of tshuva (repentence) to the whole house of Israel, a time for gathering in of the "sheep" (all those deemed social misfits by the aristocracy). Making Jesus into a super-human by denying that he didn't drink wine or get drunk goes against the whole social strata or millieu he lived in - prostitutes, tax collecters, winebibbers and gluttons - those deemed unrighteous.

In fact, what seems to get lost in translation is his message: A perfect example is that he said (in Matthew 10.34), "Think not that I come to send peace, I come to send a sword." Here, in Matthew 10.34, sword can mean a literal sword or "a branch" if translated back into Hebrew as in Isaiah 27.11. He came to send a branch of Judaism into the world: the message or the gospel is one of teshuva - "Except ye repent ye shall like-wise perish."

If Jesus did not drink wine then Mk. 14.25 would not have used ouketi; "no more" or "no longer" just as in Mk. 9.8.

  • 1
    Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange, thanks for contributing! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. We're a little different from other sites. || This answer provides some very useful thoughts and insights to the passage the OP has brought to us, but does not make a clear attempt to answer his question.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 13:07
  • Could you clarify this answer a bit? You say "here" but then you quote a verse from a different book than the question was asking about. Are you suggesting that Luke uses the same word or are you answering about an altogether separate passage? Without a direct connection to the text of Luke this might not even be an answer to this question.
    – Caleb
    Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 7:11

Jesus drank wine. John the Big Dipper didn't drink unmixed wine but it would be very unusual if his water did not contain any wine though perhaps he was a tee-totaler. This is because the water could not be trusted. By mixing wine into the water the alcohol killed off the dangerous bacteria. This is why Dr. Paul insisted that Timothy mix his water with wine:

New International Version 1 Timothy 5:23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

The scriptures celebrate wine as a gift from God to improve men's moods:

NIV Psalm 104:14He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, 15And wine which makes man's heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man's heart.

So Jesus seemed to enjoy the intoxication of wine and it was as scandalous as such indulgence would be today. And since God likewise made marijuana which the same psalm identifies as a gift from God it is possible that he would have vaped if he were here today. However, it is also possible that he chose to abstain and he still got holier-than-thou from the clergy.

However, since the original question was "does Jesus drink wine" the answer is "no", not at the moment:

NIV Luke 22: 17After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Matthew 26:29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until the day when I drink it anew with you in My Father's kingdom."

But when that day comes, he'll drink plenty of wine:

NIV Isaiah 25: 6On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.

In that day and all days you should feel free to abstain, of course.


I'm not sure Jesus actually drank wine. The reason is because when His birth was foretold in Isaiah 7:14-15, 22, it was said, "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and chose the good." Valerie Biegon's claim that Jesus drank "milk and honey" is in the 22nd verse of Isaiah 7. It says, "And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land." Luke 24:42-42 corroborates this. It says, "And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honeycomb." Verse 43 - And he took it, and did eat before them. Recall Jesus was always speaking in parable. The fact that He said in Luke 7:34, "The Son of man is come eating and driniking" does not mean He was substantiating His accusers' claim that He used to drink wine or was a "winebibber." He knew quite well that "all drunkards and glutton shall come to poverty" (Proverbs 23:21). I guess you remember that the mother of Samson was to abstain from wine when she was pregnant of him. John the Baptist too was to avoid wine (Judges 13:4, 13-14). I hope you know that Jesus is a King. Proverb 31:4 - It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink. Could Jesus have overlooked such a vital instruction or advice? No way! Acts 10:41 - Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. Could this have meant eating and drinking wine or strong drink together with Jesus? I think not. In Jeremiah 35:5-6 we're made to understand that the sons of the house of the Rechabites declined to drink wine because Jonadab their father had commanded them not to drink wine nor give to their children ever. If such mortal beings could hold on tenaciously to the instruction of their earthly father, how much more Jesus (Proverbs 31:4 - It is inappropriate for kings to drink wine). Jesus Himself noted in John 5:30, "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." I'm certain Jesus, as the King of kings, was not unaware of the instruction in Proverbs 31:4 not for kings to drink wine and James 4:17 - Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not; to him it is sin. And I'm sure Jesus committed no sin of any kind: be it the sin of disobedience, gluttony, anger, dishonesty, etc. Let me buttress the aforementioned claim that Jesus was sinless all through His earthly sojourn. John 2 Corinthians 5:21 - For he hath made him to be sin for us, WHO KNEW NO SIN. Hebrews 4:15 - Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are, YET WITHOUT SIN. 1 Peter 2:22 - WHO DID NO SIN, neither was guile found in his mouth. 1 John 3:5 - AND IN HIM IS NO SIN. John 14:30 - Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and HATH NOTHING IN ME. This simply means that the Devil (the accuser of our brethren - Revelation 12:10) couldn't could not find any fault in Christ. Thereore, in a nutshell, Jesus could not have taken wine regardless of his statement in Luke 7:34 "The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!"

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