Was Jesus accused of eating and drinking too much?

Indeed, Jesus was accused of being “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” The phrase is found in Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34 where Jesus contrasts himself to John the Baptist who was known for his asceticism in both diet and drink. Opponents of the two managed to find fault with both styles of living.

Certainly the Bible, especially Luke’s gospel, portrays Jesus as someone who sometimes feasted well and enjoyed a good party — think of the wedding at Cana. However, except for the above accusation, the gospels don’t give us any evidence of Jesus acting drunkenly or inappropriately. There are also examples of Jesus abstaining from eating and drinking (ex; the forty days in the desert). Perhaps it is best to look at Jesus as one who can both teach us how to celebrate with abundance when appropriate, but also how to show restraint over our physical cravings.

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.