Revelations from the Word

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And wisdom was justified by its works

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not lament. 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, Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! But wisdom is justified by her children (or its works)" (Matthew 11:16-19).

Having just spoken an elegy over John the Baptist, a man sent by God to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus then said to the crowd, "The people and even the publicans approved God in having themselves baptized with the baptism of repentance" (Luke 7:29). But the Pharisees and the doctors of the law, by refusing the baptism of repentance, have set aside the purpose of God for themselves (Luke 7:30 Interlinear). Because they knew the Scriptures, they thought themselves wise, but they did not recognise the way of God’s righteousness in the baptism of repentance of John the Baptist (Matthew 21:32), they did not rejoice in the fulfilment of the prophetic word in Zechariah 9:9 and they didn’t even believe in Jesus the Messiah or His works (John 14:11 Darby).

That is why Jesus praised His Father for having hidden these things concerning the coming of the Messiah and of the Kingdom of God from the wise and the learned, that is to say the Pharisees and the doctors of the law (Matthew 11:25). And so the prophetic word of Isaiah was being fulfilled, "This is why I will again strike this people with signs and wonders; and the wisdom of its wise men will perish, and the learning of its learned men will disappear" (Isaiah 29:14).

When the word 'wisdom' appears on its own in the New Testament, it is referring to human wisdom, otherwise it is accompanied by a qualifying phrase: wisdom of God (Luke 11:49), spiritual wisdom (Colossians 1:9), wisdom from on high (James 3:17), word of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8), Holy Spirit and wisdom (Acts 6:3), Jesus Christ and wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24). By His wisdom, God confounded that of men whose works have shown their blindness and lack of understanding (Isaiah 44:18). He made the wise, who will not enter the Kingdom of God, step back and turned their knowledge into folly (Isaiah 44:25). That is why Jesus demonstrated that the wisdom of men only produced dead works and sons of Gehenna (Matthew 23:15).