Matthew 11:1-30 - Outline of Matthew (Book Notes menu page)
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.
Up to this point in the gospel of Matthew,
the King has...
  • presented the Constitution of His Kingdom (the Sermon on the Mount, ch.5-7).
  • presented His Credentials.
    (He is Lord: over the natural and supernatural, over disease and death..., ch.8,9)
  • called and commissioned 12 apostles to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (ch.10).
    He Himself continues to preach, but ch. 11 marks a turning point in His message.
Ch. 11 contains: Foreshadows of the King's rejection by Israel.-
  1. The uncertainty of John (v.2-6).
  2. The role of John, and the role that he might have had (v.7-15).
  3. National indifference to the King's message and credentials (v.16-24).
  4. The King's invitation to individuals (v.25-30).
11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
11:3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
11:4 Jesus answered and said unto them,
Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
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.
11:6 And blessed is [he], whosoever shall not be offended in me.
John the baptist- had been watching Jesus' ministry from prison (since Mat 4:12).
He had expected that the King would have established His Kingdom by this time.
But since this had not happened, he was confused concerning Jesus.
Art thou He that should come...? - cp. Gen 49:10; Deu 18:15,18,19; Joh 6:14; 11:27
Jesus answered...-
He carefully reviewed His credentials as the One foretold. cp. v.4-6 with Isa 35:4-6.
The King was indeed present. John must be patient.
not 'offended' {GK=skandalizo, The root word means 'to put a stumbling block in the way.'}
John must not allow his expectations, which were based on an incomplete understanding of the Messiah's work, to cause him to stumble over Jesus' identity. cp. Rom 9:32,33
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?
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.
11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet?
yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
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.
more than a prophet.- John was indeed an OT prophet (v.13), but he had a unique role,
as the one who announced the arrival of the Messiah. See Mal 3:1 (where 'before me' is lit., 'before my face'); also Joh1:19-23; Isa 40:3
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.
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.
11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
11:14 And if ye will receive [it], this is Elias, which was for to come.
11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.-
The issue is not John's personal greatness. (Jesus spoke to that in v.11a.)
The issue is the timing of the Messiah's earthly Kingdom:
  • The Kingdom would not come in John's lifetime, because Israel would reject the King.
  • The messenger (John) would soon be put to death.
  • The King would soon be rejected and crucified.
if ye will receive it, this is Elias {Elijah}-
Scripture indicates that Elijah the prophet will return prior to the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom. If Israel had received Jesus as Messiah, John could have filled the role of Elijah. cp. Mal 4:5,6; Mat 17:12,13; Luk 1:13-17
violence... violent...- GK=biazo, to use force.
Two things are in view:
  1. the violent opposition of the enemies of the Kingdom
    (which would bring about the deaths of John and Jesus).
  2. the forceful resolve needed by those who would follow the King in the face of this opposition.
    (cp. Luk 16:16, those who would enter, must 'press' {GK=biazo} into the Kingdom.)
11:16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation?
It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
11:17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced;
we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking,
{cp. Mat 3:4; Luk 1:15}
and they say, He hath a devil.
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.
{cp. Mat 9:10-12}
But wisdom is justified of her children.
{1Cor 1:21-25}
piped and danced... mourned and lamented.-
Regardless of whether the children played 'wedding' or 'funeral,' some refused to participate.
this generation- ie., the people, the nation, who were Jesus' contemporaries.
They would reject the gospel of the Kingdom, regardless of how the message was presented.
They judged John as too austere. They judged Jesus as too free.
11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done,
because they repented not:
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.
11:22 But I say unto you,
It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
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.
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.
{cp. Mat 10:14,15}
because they repented not.-
Jesus denounced these cities, where He had ministered frequently, for their indifference.
They had already rejected Him in their hearts. (Their rejection will not become official until Mat 27:21-25; Joh 19:15.)
it shall be more tolerable... in the day of judgment...-
  • Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum - are representative of the cities of Galilee, where Jesus spent much of His earthly ministry. These cities had been given unprecedented opportunity (Mat 4:13-16). Light brings responsibility.
    • The exact locations of Chorazin and Bethsaida are unknown. But they are thought to have been within three or four miles of Capernaum, on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.
    • Bethsaida {meaning 'house of fish'} was the original hometown of Philip, Andrew and Peter (Joh 1:44).
    • Capernaum {Kfer Nahum} was the home of the prophet Nahum, who had taken the message of impending judgment to Nineveh (c. 713 BC), because they had returned to their former ways, having forgotten their repentance under Jonah's ministry (about 150 years prior to Nahum). During most of Jesus' earthly ministry, Capernaum was His headquarters city. Seekers often found him in Peter's house (Mat 4:13; 8:5,14,16).
  • Tyre, Sidon, Sodom - are representative of gentile cities which God had judged severely, in OT times.
    (eg., Eze 26:3-7; Zech 9:2-4; Gen 19:24,25)
  • In the future day of judgment - it would be preferable to be a pagan who has never heard,
    than to have heard Jesus' teaching and observed His miracles, only to disregard Him and His message (Joh 5:36; 10:25; Act 2:22). Likewise, it would be better to have never heard, than to be a church member who owns a Bible, and yet, remains willfully ignorant of the Word, and lukewarm toward the Savior (eg., Rev 3:14-19).
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.
11:26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

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
{ie., except} the Son,
and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him].
thou hast hid {GK=apokrupto, concealed, kept secret}...
...from the wise {GK=sophos, skilled} and prudent {GK=suneto, learned}
...revealed {GK=apokalupto, uncovered}...
...unto babes {GK=nepios, lit., without words, children too young to speak, unschooled, uneducated}...-
See Luk 10:17-24, where these words (in v.25-27 above) were spoken in the context of the disciples' return, following their ministry practicum. Thus, Jesus' disciples, foolish in the eyes of the world for following Him, and for proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, are made wise through knowing Him. 1Cor 1:19-31
...these things...- What things were hidden from the wise and revealed to babes?
The things concerning ''the Kingdom of God and His righteousness'' (Mat 6:33),
in the Person of 'He that should come' (v.3). The King's Presence was...
  • Announced by His prophets, by John, and by the King Himself. v.10-15,18-19
  • Confirmed by His miracles. v.21
  • Unreceived by an unrepentant nation. v.14,20
  • Revealed to individual 'babes' (children of God), who, in child-like simplicity, believe the Father's Word concerning His only-begotten Son. v.27
no man knoweth {GK=epignosko, to know thoroughly, to be fully acquainted with}... {except} the Son.-
God the Father and God the Son are truly known only by each other. Man by searching cannot 'find out' God (Job 11:7).
and he to whomsoever {ie., no man... except to whom} the Son will reveal Him.-
cp. Joh 3:35,36; 5:21-29; 6:44-47; 10:15; 17:1-3; 1The 2:13
11:28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
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.
11:30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.
Aware that the nation has rejected Him, Jesus proclaims a new message...
  • directed, not to the nation, but to individuals (''all ye...''),
  • offering, not the Kingdom, but personal ''rest.''
rest {GK=anapausis, a cessation from labor} -
  • This rest is sourced in Him. (''Come unto me... I will give...'') cp. Jer 50:6
  • This rest has two aspects (in view here):
    1. The rest of salvation (v.28)-
      The burden is sin, from which man cannot extract himself. Isa 1:4; Psa 38:4
      Jesus bore away the burden, which we could not bear.
      To those who trust in Him, He gives the gift of rest from sin and its consequences, and from their futile attempts at self-righteousness. Joh 1:29; 2Cor 5:21; Joh 3:14-18; Eph 2:8,9; see Notes at Heb 4:10.
      This rest, which is 'peace with God,' must be received through faith in Christ. Rom 5:1
    2. The rest of sanctification (v.29,30) -
      This rest, which is the 'peace of God,' must be discovered through walking with Christ. Php 4:6,7; Col 3:15
      1. 'take my yoke'- He invites us to labor together with Him in serving the Father.
        cp. Joh 6:38; 2Cor 5:9; 1Tim 4:10; Eph 2:10; 1The 1:9,10
      2. 'learn of me, for I am...' - We need to be discipled by Him, for His ways are not our ways.
        • ...meek {GK=praus, gentle, mild}
        • ...lowly {GK=tapeinos, humble} of heart- cp. Php 2:8; 1Pet 5:6,7
          These English words imply 'weakness' (the GK does not imply weakness).
          Meekness, in the Biblical sense, is a strength which flows from complete surrender of everything to the Lord.
          Examples of men who were strong in their meekness include:
          Moses (Num 12:3), Jesus (1Pet 2:23), and Paul (2Cor 10:1,2).
          (See also the Notes at Mat 5:5.)
          A 'meek and lowly heart' submits completely to the Father's will, and depends totally upon the Father's enabling to fulfill that will (eg., Christ - Joh 5:19,30; 14:10; Paul - 2Cor 3:5; Gal 2:20).
          Such meekness is not natural to the flesh, but rather is an outworking of God's Spirit working powerfully within the believer (Gal 5:22,23).
      3. 'ye shall find rest...'- There is true satisfaction in laboring with Him (Joh 4:34).
        Christ the servant of God (Isa 49:1-9), invites us to be bound together with Him. (Paul refers to himself as a servant {lit., bondslave} of Christ, Rom 1:1).
        There is no higher freedom (Rom 6:16-18).

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