Children of Wisdom

Jesus categorizes people into two categories “children of wisdom” and “children of folly”. How do we see the play between the two? 


Matt 11:16-19; Luke 7:29-35

Children of this generation:

  • Calls the shots
  • Changes their minds frequently
  • Curb God’s people

Children of wisdom justify:

  • Their choice
  • Wisdom


In the previous verses, Jesus has just hailed John the Baptist as the greatest man alive.

In this passage, we see that some (those baptized by John), including the tax collectors (considered sinners) accepted Jesus’ statement

On the flip side we see that the others (Pharisees and religious leaders) do not accept Jesus’ statement.

Jesus then proceeds to talk of two categories of people – children of wisdom and children of folly

Bible Passage

Luke 7:29 (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

31 “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

    we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

This Generation..Calls the shots

“We played the pipe for you, you did not dance” they say. They expect others to dance to their tune.

The generation Jesus was talking about could even be referring to the current age so includes us as well.

“The word “generation” in Greek is γενεα (genea), which can also refer to a family, stock, nation. (Strongsdefinition 2b) The NASB also has a footnote here next to “generation” saying “or race”. This implies the current human race.

This Generation..Calls the shots

What are the characteristics?

Firstly, they are actively trying to derail children of wisdom and lure them away

Secondly – they call the shots. Preachers, prophets and even God are expected to toe their line.

“When we say dance, you dance; when we say cry you cry. Follow our dictates, and you’re in with us”

John and Jesus did not dance to their tune, so they were blacklisted. Just as the prophets of old.

This Generation..Calls the shots

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3

There are teachers and preachers

who are ready to dance to the

people’s tune. There are people

ready to follow and collude with them.

This Generation.. Changes their minds frequently

Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 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.’ 

They will pull down God’s


Jesus, the Son of God and

John, the greatest prophet

were severely attacked.

We should expect opposition.

This Generation.. Changes their minds frequently

Peter encourages the believers in Christ “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”

1 Peter 3:14

This Generation.. Curbs God’s people

Today’s generation wants teachers and preachers to preach what they want to hear

They want them to applaud their way of living and preach their values

Deviating from the truth is rejection of the word.

Deviation is given sophisticated labels like “tolerance”, “progressiveness”, etc.

Children of wisdom

The passage in Luke says “wisdom is proved right by her children”. The children of wisdom are those who follow the ways of wisdom, more specifically Christ and His Word.

Proverbs 8:32-36 Now therefore listen to me, O you children: for blessed are they that keep my ways

There will be immense pressure to deviate from the church and the world.

Children of wisdom

Proverbs 8 is the call of wisdom

Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
At the highest point along the way,
    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,
    at the entrance, she cries aloud:
“To you, O people, I call out;
    I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.

Children of wisdom - Justify their choice

“Luke 7:35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

They demonstrate by their words and actions the way of Jesus

They also call out to the others to follow them

So while there is a clash of opinions with the children of folly, we need to show incredible patience and love – they may be in the family, church or society.

Children of wisdom - Justify wisdom

“Luke 7:35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

As children of wisdom and children of God – we justify wisdom itself – the wisdom of God. The wisdom which appears foolish to the wise of the world (1 Corinthians 1).

Children of wisdom - Justify wisdom

As the songwriter Lowell writes

“Though the cause of evil prosper, Yet tis truth alone is strong

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne

Yet the scaffold sways the future, And behind the dim unknown

Standeth God behind his children, Keeping watch above His own”

(from “Once to every man and nation”)


1.Both the “children of wisdom” and “children of folly” are Jews, in this context. So as Christians, what would characterize “wise” Christians and “foolish” Christians?

2.How can we be “wise” and not allow ourselves to get pushed around by the children of folly.

3.In what areas do we need to make a stand and not join the bandwagon?

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