“Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds!” (Matthew 11:19b)
Jesus spoke about the current generation of His day. He said that they responded to John the Baptist by saying, “He has a demon.” They said that because John did not come “eating and drinking.” What they meant was that John was not a socializer, and besides he wore funny clothes. So many, though not all, concluded that he was demonized.
Jesus, on the other hand, did socialize, but His social life was not limited to the religious elite. He “ate and drank” (meaning, He took His meals) with tax collectors and sinners. So the general response to Him was to call Him a glutton and drunkard.
This is what prompted Jesus to say, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” That means that judgment should not be based on appearances or on behaviors but on what is achieved. That sounds close to “the end justifies the means,” but that is not really what Jesus is talking about. Here’s why. Wisdom is not necessarily known to be wisdom before the fact. Normally, it’s when we’re looking back and observing that some decision turned out well that we then say, “That was a wise decision.” Before the fact we tend to say, “I believe that is a wise decision,” but we do not know until we see the results.
Need some examples? One is Matthew, the one who wrote this first gospel. He was a tax collector. He became a believer and a disciple of Jesus. Jesus changed his life. Then, there was Zacchaeus, another tax collector, who, because Jesus was willing to “socialize” with him and his friends, turned his life around and returned to the Lord. Now, wasn’t Jesus wise for taking this approach? Yep, wisdom is demonstrated by the results.
Lord, We have to trust in You to give us the wisdom we need before the fact. Help us to be willing to follow in faith and trust You with the results. Amen.