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Matthew Eleven

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Matthew 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.

Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

in the prison. John had been imprisoned by Herod soon after he had baptized Jesus and had directed his own disciples to follow Christ (note also Matthew 4:12; John 1:35-36). John had rebuked Herod's adultery (Matthew 14:3-4), and had been imprisoned because of this. Apparently his remaining disciples still had access to him, for Herod still respected John and his influence.

Matthew 11:3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

Art thou he. John had clearly identified Jesus as the Messiah, as the Son of God, and as the Savior (John 1:25-34), but the sufferings of his unjust imprisonment had possibly clouded his thinking. Perhaps he assumed Christ should have saved him from Herod. On the other hand, he may have had an entirely different reason for this question. See note on Luke 7:19.

Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see:

Matthew 11:5 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.

Matthew 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Matthew 11:7 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?

Matthew 11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.

Matthew 11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

Matthew 11:10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

my messenger. The Lord here is quoting Malachi 3:1, confirming the unique nature and mission of John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:11 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.

not risen a greater. Thus, John was greater than Noah, Job, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, or any other of the ancient men of God. It is remarkable that John has been so largely ignored by modern expositors.

greater than he. Since Old Testament believers will surely participate in the coming kingdom, this comment of the Lord's must relate to the future state of all who share in the kingdom of heaven. In that day, they will have resurrected bodies like that of Christ Himself, and even conform to His moral perfection.

Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

suffereth violence. When John the Baptist came preaching the kingdom of heaven, he also came condemning sin and urging repentance and baptism to a new life. Some responded positively, but more reacted violently, as is often true when the gospel is preached. Those who react against the gospel would destroy the kingdom of heaven if they could, but must settle for destroying as many of its servants as they can. John himself was soon put to death, as was Christ and eventually the apostles, as well as multitudes of Christ's followers through the centuries.

Matthew 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

until John. John was not the last of the Old Testament prophets, as some have thought, but the first of the New Testament prophets. See note on Matthew 3:1.

Matthew 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

this is Elias. John the Baptist came “in the spirit and power of Elias” (Luke 1:17). He was not Elijah (Elias), however, nor was he received as Elijah. In fact, after John's martyrdom, Jesus renewed the promise of Malachi 4:5 that “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matthew 17:11).

Matthew 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

let him hear. This challenge to heed Christ's words appears eight times in the gospels and seven times in Revelation.

Matthew 11:16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

Matthew 11:17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

Matthew 11:19 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.

Matthew 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Matthew 11:21 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.

Matthew 11:22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

day of judgment. As in Matthew 10:15, Jesus indicates here that there will be degrees of punishment in hell, and that the relative “light” received is even more important than the actual measure of wickedness in assigning the degree of punishment.

Matthew 11:23 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.

Matthew 11:24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Matthew 11:25 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.

the wise and prudent. Wisdom and prudence are honored attributes by the world and its leaders, but they are incapable in themselves of producing spiritual understanding. Note 1 Corinthians 1:19-21. Nevertheless, God has “abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Ephesians 1:8), if we receive them from His Word with the believing trust of little children.

Matthew 11:26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Matthew 11:27 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.

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:29 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.

Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

easy. “Easy” could better be rendered “kind.” A yoke is normally cruel and painful, but the yoke of Christ is kind.