Chapter eleven picks up at the conclusion of Jesus' commission to his
disciples that we call the "limited commission." The major topic that is
discussed in chapter eleven is John the baptist: his questions, Jesus'
reply, and Jesus tribute to John. But the real theme of this chapter, along
with all of the material in the gospels, is the exaltation of Jesus as
I. JOHN THE BAPTIST- HIS QUESTION AND JESUS' TRIBUTE. (VV. 1-19)
A. JOHN'S QUESTION (VV. 1-6)
B. JESUS' TRIBUTE TO JOHN (VV. 7-19)II. THE REBUKE OF IMPENITENT CITIES. (VERSES 20-24)
III. THE INVITATION OF THE SAVIOR. (VERSES 25-30)
JOHN'S QUESTION (VV. 1-6)
VERSE 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
A. Jesus had just finished giving the limited commission to his apostles. Their mission was to preach to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (10:5-6)
1. Matthew puts the spotlight on Jesus. He does not go into a detailed account of their experiences while carrying out the commission. This shows the inspiration of the Spirit. If Matthew were simply writing as a fallible wouldn't he have devoted some time here to a discussion of their efforts?
B. The events immediately following take place during the time when the apostles were out on their limited commission.
1. "Commanding his twelve disciples"- see 10:5-6
C. "To teach and to preach"- What is the difference between the two terms?
1. teach-"to give instruction, to teach someone, to instruct" (Arndt and Gingrich, p. 191); "to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, to impart instruction, instill doctrine into one" (Thayer, p. 144)
2. preach- "to declare good, or glad tidings, to proclaim, preach" (Arndt and Gingrich, p.516); "to bring good news, to announce glad tidings" (Thayer, p. 256)
3. There are characteristics found in each.
a. Both involve the imparting of knowledge.
b. The "glad tidings" of the gospel is imparted in both teaching and preaching.
4. While they are similar, preaching seems to involve a more public proclaimation of the good news with an exhortation to life changing actions, while teaching can be the imparting of knowledge without a strong appeal to change. Teaching seems to indicate the imparting of more detailed information.
D. In their cities- Probably refers to Galilee,since all the apostles (with the exception of Judas Iscariot) were Galileans.VERSE 2,3-"NOW WHEN JOHN HAD HEARD IN THE PRISON THE WORKS OF CHRIST, HE SENT TWO OF HIS DISCIPLES, AND SAID UNTO HIM, ART THOU HE THAT SHOULD COME, OR DO WE LOOK FOR ANOTHER?"
A. Was John wavering in his confidence in Jesus as the messiah? (Two possibilities)
1. Perhaps John could have been asking for the sake of his disciples. He might have wanted to send them to see for themselves. This could have been a reassurance for John's disciples who had not seen Jesus perform any miracles that he was the messiah.
2. Probably John was asking for his own benefit.
a. Jesus' answer was directed to John and not his disciples.
B. How could John, with the benefit of all his knowledge concerning Jesus, come to doubt him?
1. This was a question borne out of despair and not a doubting of what he had witnessed.
a. He had been cast into prison and Jesus had made no attempt to free him.
b. He was suffering cruel and unjust persecution.
c. Jesus identity as messiah was not being proclaimed with the public certainty which John doubtless expected.
d. Perhaps he could not understand why Jesus did not press his case.
2. John might well have expected a different messiah than what Jesus was turning out to be.
a. Even Jesus apostles expected a restoration of the earthly kingdom of Israel after Jesus resurrection. (Acts 1:6)
C. But instead of keep the problem to himself he turned to the only one who could reassure him.VERSE 4-"JESUS, ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, GO AND SHEW JOHN AGAIN THOSE THINGS WHICH YE DO HEAR AND SEE:"
A. Jesus backed up his claims on this occasion with actual miracles so these disciples of John could be eyewitnesses and not tell John about them secondhand.
1. Luke 7:17-21
B. Jesus did not rebuke John but instead made sure that he had abundant proof of his divinity.
VERSE 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."1. Thomas' case was similar- John 20:25-29
A. Jesus was saying that his activities were a direct fulfillment of the messianic prophecies.
1. See Isaiah 35:5,6; 61:1
2. See also Luke 4:16-21 in connection with Isaiah 61:1.
B. Jesus was using deeds, not just words, as indisputeable proof of his divinity.VERSE 6-"AND BLESSED IS HE, WHOSOEVER SHALL NOT BE OFFENDED IN ME."
A. Jesus was saying that the person who was not offended by anything that he did or said was blessed.
B. While this could be construed as a rebuke toward John, it was a loving, tender rebuke similar to what Jesus spoke to Thomas.
1. Perhaps Jesus was pleading for John to accept the evidence and not to be discouraged because it was not possible for Jesus to relieve his suffering.
2. He could also be pleading for John to accept him as he was and not what he expected him to be.
C. See also Matthew 26:31JESUS' TRIBUTE TO JOHN (VV. 7-19)
VERSE 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?"
A. Jesus is asking a rhetorical question (one that needs no answer because it is obvious).
1. "reed shaking in the wind"- represents a person would be weak without stability and one who could be easily influenced.
B. It was obvious that John was strong, courageous, and preached without fear or favor.
1. Matthew 3:7-12
VERSE 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."2. Matthew 14:1-4
VERSE 9- "BUT WHAT WENT YE OUT FOR TO SEE? A PROPHET? YEA, I SAY
UNTO YOU, AND MORE THAN A PROPHET."
VERSE 10-"FOR THIS IS HE, OF WHOM IT IS WRITTEN, BEHOLD, I SEND MY
MESSANGER BEFORE THY FACE, WHICH SHALL PREPARE THY WAY BEFORE THEE."
VERSE 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."
VERSE 12-"AND FROM THE DAYS OF JOHN THE BAPTIST UNTIL NOW THE KINGDOM
OF HEAVEN SUFFERETH VIOLENCE, AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE."
VERSE 13-"FOR ALL THE PROPHETS AND THE LAW PROPHESIED UNTIL JOHN."
VERSE 14-"AND IF YE WILL RECEIVE IT, THIS IS ELIAS, WHICH WAS FOR
VERSE 15-"HE THAT HATH EARS TO HEAR, HET HIM HEAR."
VERSE 16,17-"BUT WHEREUNTO SHALL I LIKEN THIS GENERATION? IT IS LIKE
UNTO CHILDREN SITTING IN THE MARKETS, AND CALLING UNTO THEIR FELLOWS, AND
SAYING, WE HAVE PIPED UNTO YOU, AND YE HAVE NOT DANCED; WE HAVE MOURNED
UNTO YOU, AND YE HAVE NOT LAMENTED."
VERSE 18-"FOR JOHN CAME NEITHER EATING NOR DRINKING, AND THEY SAY, HE HATH A DEVIL."
A. John was austere and the Pharisees had accused him of having a demon.
B. See Luke 1:15 and Matthew 3:4VERSE 19-"THE SON OF MAN CAME EATING AND DRINKING, AND THEY SAY, BEHOLD A MAN GLUTTONOUS, AND WINEBIBBER, A FRIEND OF PUBLICAN AND SINNERS. BUT WISDOM IS JUSTIFIED OF HER CHILDREN."
A. Son of Man
1. Jesus did not practice austerity in the same way as John.
1. excess eating
1. A great drinker
D. A friend of publicans and sinners
1. Luke 15:1-2
2. Matthew 9:9-11
E. "Wisdom is justified of her children"
1. Those who were truly wise would listen to the message of John and Christ.
2. Psalm 92:5-6
VERSE 20,21-"THEN BEGAN HE TO UPBRAID THE CITIES WHEREIN MOST OF HIS MIGHTY WORKS WERE DONE, BECAUSE THEY REPENTED NOT: 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."3. Proverbs 17:24
A. Jesus was referring to the inhabitant of the cities.
B. Most of the work that Jesus had done had been centered to this point around capernaum and limited to Galilee.
C. "Upbraid"- to blame publicly
1. Because they refused to repent!
D. Chorazin- a town thought to be about two miles from Capernaum on the coast of the Sea of Galilee.
E. Bethsaida- means "place of hunting, or fishing"
1. Hometown to Philip, Andrew, and Peter (John 1:44)
2. It was located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee close to Capernaum.
F. Tyre and Sidon
1. These were two ancient cities on the coast of modern day Lebanon. They were great trading cities during the time of the Old Testament. They were famous for skilled craftsmen and their trade the valuable cedars of Lebanon, so treasured in ancient times. They were also denounced by the Old Testament prophets for their pride and wickedness.
a. Isaiah 23:7-18
b. Ezekiel 26:14; 27:1-11; 28:1-10
2. Jesus was saying that if the people of Tyre and Sidon had see the mighty works that Chorazin and Bethsaida had witnessed they would have surely repented.
G. Sackcloth and ashes.
1. In ancient time the use of sackcloth and ashes was symbolic of humility and repentance.
2. Sackcloth was coarse material that was only used by the poor. Ashes represented nothingness, and submission.
a. Sackcloth was donned and ashes poured over the head the represent the deep sorrow over sin on the part of the individual.
VERSE 22-"BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, IT SHALL BE MORE TOLERABLE FOR TYRE AND SIDON AT THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, THAN FOR YOU."b. See Jonah 3:5
A. Why would it be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon?
1. Because Chorazin and Bethsaida had more proof of God's working and more opportunity of service to him.
B. "The Day of Judgment"
1. This seems to refer to the general judgment and not God specific judgment in the past carried out on Tyre and Sidon because it refers to a judgment yet to be carried out in the future.
C. Does this passage teach degrees of punishment?
1. There is strong evidence to suggest that there may well be degrees of punishment.
a. See Luke 12:47-48
2. Perhaps Tyre's and Sidon's punishment would be less unbearable than that of Chorazin and Bethsaida.
VERSE 23,24-"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. BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, THAT IT SHALL BE MORE TOLERABLE FOR THE LAND OF SODOM IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT THAN FOR THEE."3. But one fact should be kept in mind-if there is degrees of punishment in hell the most tolerable "level" would be unbearable.
A. Jesus had done many mighty works in and around Capernaum.
1. Jesus had dwelled there after he left Nazareth.
a. Matthew 4:13
2. Many miracles had been performed there and Jesus did much teaching in the area around Capernaum
3. But the majority had refused to repent and accept him.
B. They were experiencing the same feelings of haughty pride and self-satisfaction that all who will not accept the guilt of their sins experience.
C. They would be "brought down to Hell"
1. The word here literally means "Hades"
2. This means that instead of being exalted high as the heavens they would be humbled as low as the grave.
3. Today no one can know with exactness where Capernaum existed.
D. If the people in Sodom had witnessed the mighty works that had taken place in Capernaum, they would have repented and the city would be standing today.
1. Destruction of Sodom
a. Genesis 19:24; Ezekiel 16:48,49
E. It would be more tolerable for Sodom than Capernaum because Capermaum had great opportunities for obedience.VERSE 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."
A. "Jesus answered and said"
1. The question or statement that prompts this statement is not recorded.
2. This happened on several occasions.
a. Matthew 22:1; Mark 9:5,38; 11:14; Luke 13:14
3. It is possible that Jesus was not responding to a verbal statement but a thought of the heart that some were thinking.
B. "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent"
1. These were the individuals who were wise and prudent in their own eyes.
2. It seems that God did not arbitrarily keep these individual from obeying his word but that they had so hardened themselves that they could not recognize the truth of God when they heard it.
a. There are time when God permits something to be done, it is said that he does it.
b. Exodus 7:3,4; II Samuel 12:11,12; Isaiah 12:1;
3. Much like Pharoah and the hardening of his heart. The word will either cause one to come to God or drive them further away, depending on the condition of their heart.
4. See Matthew 13:14-16 and Mark 4:12
5. See also I Corinthians 1:26-27
C. "Revealed them to babes"
1. Babes is a figurative term for the honest and humble people who were ready to hear the lessons of truth offered to them.
VERSE 26- "EVEN SO, FATHER: FOR SO IT SEEMED GOOD IN THY SIGHT."3. God desires a humble and contrite heart of obediencea. Isaiah 57:15
A. God was pleased to give the gospel to those who realize their spiritual dependence and need.
VERSE 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."1. Matthew 5:4-"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
A. "ALL THINGS ARE DELIVERED UNTO ME OF MY FATHER"
1. This is simply another way to say what Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, that his has been given all authority in the Christian age.
a. See also John 3:35; 17:2; I Corinthians 15:27; John 5:26-27
2. No person can hope to be pleasing to God without being obedient to the Son.
a. John 14:6-9
b. Acts 17:31
B. "AND NO MAN KNOWETH THE SON, BUT THE FATHER..."
1. They have the intimate knowledge of one another that comes from the fact that they are one in essence, purpose, will, and action.
2. No one can begin to understand the depth of knowledge, wisdom and love that flows from the Father but the Son, neither the Son but the Father.
3. John 10:30-"I and my Father are one."
B. "AND HE TO WHOMSOEVER THE SON WILL REVEAL HIM."
1. This is the promise that all who come to the Father through Jesus will have the Father revealed to him by Jesus.
VERSE 28- "COME UNTO ME, ALL YE THAT LABOUR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST."2. This is not an unlimited knowledge of the Father but the knowledge of his wisdom, mercy, and love.
A. This must be understood in the spiritual sense.
1. Jesus does not promise rest from physical labour but a rest and relief from the burden that comes from carrying sin and guilt.
2. That this labour and heavy loads are spiritual see verse 29 where the word "soul" is used.
B. One load that Jesus may have had reference to was the heavy yoke of the Law of Moses.
1. See Matthew 23:3-4; Acts 15:10; Galatians 5:1
2. This would most assuredly refer also to the burden of sin and guilt that the Law could do nothing to take away.
D. "ALL YE THAT LABOUR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN"
1. This was a universal invitation to come for spiritual rest.
2. Revelation 22:17
E. "I WILL GIVE YOU REST."
1. This is referring to the rest that we receive when we come to Jesus in obedience to his gospel.
a. forgiveness of sins
VERSE 29- "TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU, AND LEARN OF ME: FOR I AM MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART; AND YE SHALL FIND REST UONT YOUR SOULS."b. healing of mind-removal of guilt
A. "TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU, AND LEARN OF ME"
1. A yoke served to couple two things together.
2. We are joined together, or coupled with, Jesus.
3. We do this by submitting to his will.
4. We become co-workers with Jesus
B. "FOR I AM MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART"
1. Jesus is humble and interested in the welfare of the unfortunate ones of earth.
2. "That Jesus is meek and lowly in heart, assures the invited that no grievous exactions will be made of them."- J.W. McGarvey.
C. "YE SHALL FIND REST UONT YOUR SOULS."
VERSE 30- "FOR MY YOKE IS EASY, AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT."1. This may well be referring to the rest that is yet reserved for the children of God is they remain loyal.
A. Jesus' laws would not be harsh and overbearing like those of the Pharisees, but would be reasonable.
B. While a yoke was used to ease a person's load, if the load were too heavy it would still be impossible to carry.
C. The term "easy" literally means "well-fitting."
1. "The burden which is given in love and carried in love is always light."- William Barclay.
Copyright 1999 by Grady
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