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Mathew chapter 11

Mathew 11:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

Having sent out his twelve disciples in pairs to preach the gospel, Jesus also set out to preach.

2  Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3  And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

John, who had been imprisoned by Herod, sent two of his disciples to seek reassurance from Jesus that he was the promised Messiah.

4  Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5  The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Jesus tells them to report back to John the miracles of healing that Jesus was doing and the gospel he was preaching along with the blessing pronounced on those who would believe on him.

7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

As John’s disciples returned answer to John, Jesus speaks of John to the people gathered around him.

10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee

At least two prophecies are written concerning the mission of John

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Jesus explains that John, by reason of his mission to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, is the greatest prophet.

11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Notwithstanding John’s exalted standing, those who believe the gospel and attain to the kingdom of God are accounted greater.

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

The idea is that multitudes responded to the preaching of John, and subsequently the preaching of Jesus, and those who believed were by baptism pressing into the kingdom of God.

Luke records it thus:

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Barnes Notes: Ver. 12. And from the days of John, etc. That is, from the days when John began to preach. It is not known how long this was, but it was not probably more than a year. Our Saviour here simply states a fact. He says there was a great rush, or a crowd pressing to hear John. Multitudes went out to hear him, as if they were about to take the kingdom of heaven by force. See #Mt 3:5. So, says he, it has continued. Since the kingdom of heaven, or the gospel, has been preached, there has been a rush to it. Men have been earnest about it; they have come pressing to obtain the blessing, as if they would take it by violence. There is allusion here to the manner in which cities were taken. Besiegers pressed upon them with violence, and demolished the walls. With such earnestness and violence, he says, men had pressed around him and John, since they began to preach. There is no allusion here to the manner in which individual sinners seek salvation; but it is a simple record of the fact that multitudes had thronged around him and John to hear the gospel.

13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

John was the last of the Old Covenant prophets. He came in the spirit and power of Elijah

Luke 1:17  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Jesus turns his attention to those who would not believe. They would not believe John because of his asceticism and then wouldn’t believe Jesus because he ate and drank and preached to publicans and known sinners. He likens them to children in their behaviour.

16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

He castigates the citizens of those cities which had benefitted most from his miraculous healings for their unbelief. He says that the people of Tyre and Sidon and Sodom which received no such miraculous signs will fare better at the day of judgment. This because they are less accountable.

20  Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21  Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Jesus thanks his Father that his preaching reaches those of a humble disposition.

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Jesus explains that God has given all things into his hand and he and his Father know each other intimately. That by his preaching of the gospel the character of God is revealed to those who will receive it.

27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Jesus makes an impassioned plea to receive his words and reap the great benefit of life in Christ now in this life by obeying his commandments.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I hope you find this helpful.

God bless,