Matthew 11

1 When Jesus finished giving these instructions to his twelve disciples, he left that place and went off to teach and preach in the towns near there.
2 When John the Baptist heard in prison about the things that Christ was doing, he sent some of his disciples to him.
3 "Tell us," they asked Jesus, "are you the one John said was going to come, or should we expect someone else?"
4 Jesus answered, "Go back and tell John what you are hearing and seeing:
5 the blind can see, the lame can walk, those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor. 1
6 How happy are those who have no doubts about me!"
7 While John's disciples were leaving, Jesus spoke about him to the crowds: "When you went out to John in the desert, what did you expect to see? A blade of grass bending in the wind?
8 What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in fancy clothes? People who dress like that live in palaces!
9 Tell me, what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes indeed, but you saw much more than a prophet.
10 For John is the one of whom the scripture says: "God said, I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.' 2
11 I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than anyone who has ever lived. But the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John.
12 From the time John preached his message until this very day the Kingdom of heaven has suffered violent attacks, and violent men try to seize it. 3
13 Until the time of John all the prophets and the Law of Moses spoke about the Kingdom;
14 and if you are willing to believe their message, John is Elijah, whose coming was predicted. 4
15 Listen, then, if you have ears!
16 "Now, to what can I compare the people of this day? They are like children sitting in the marketplace. One group shouts to the other,
17 "We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn't dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn't cry!'
18 When John came, he fasted and drank no wine, and everyone said, "He has a demon in him!'
19 When the Son of Man came, he ate and drank, and everyone said, "Look at this man! He is a glutton and wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts!' God's wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results."
20 The people in the towns where Jesus had performed most of his miracles did not turn from their sins, so he reproached those towns.
21 "How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin! How terrible for you too, Bethsaida! If the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have long ago put on sackcloth and sprinkled ashes on themselves, to show that they had turned from their sins! 5
22 I assure you that on the Judgment Day God will show more mercy to the people of Tyre and Sidon than to you!
23 And as for you, Capernaum! Did you want to lift yourself up to heaven? You will be thrown down to hell! If the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would still be in existence today! 6
24 You can be sure that on the Judgment Day God will show more mercy to Sodom than to you!" 7
25 At that time Jesus said, "Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned.
26 Yes, Father, this was how you were pleased to have it happen.
27 "My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 8
28 "Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 9
29 Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. 10
30 For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light."

Images for Matthew 11

Matthew 11 Commentary

Chapter 11

Christ's preaching. (1) Christ's answer to John's disciples. (2-6) Christ's testimony to John the Baptist. (7-15) The perverseness of the Jews. (16-24) The gospel revealed to the simple. The heavy-laden invited. (25-30)

Verse 1 Our Divine Redeemer never was weary of his labour of love; and we should not be weary of well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Verses 2-6 Some think that John sent this inquiry for his own satisfaction. Where there is true faith, yet there may be a mixture of unbelief. The remaining unbelief of good men may sometimes, in an hour of temptation; call in question the most important truths. But we hope that John's faith did not fail in this matter, and that he only desired to have it strengthened and confirmed. Others think that John sent his disciples to Christ for their satisfaction. Christ points them to what they heard and saw. Christ's gracious condescensions and compassions to the poor, show that it was he that should bring to the world the tender mercies of our God. Those things which men see and hear, if compared with the Scriptures, direct in what way salvation is to be found. It is difficult to conquer prejudices, and dangerous not to conquer them; but those who believe in Christ, their faith will be found so much the more to praise, and honour, and glory.

Verses 7-15 What Christ said concerning John, was not only for his praise, but for the people's profit. Those who attend on the word will be called to give an account of their improvements. Do we think when the sermon is done, the care is over? No, then the greatest of the care begins. John was a self-denying man, dead to all the pomps of the world and the pleasures of sense. It becomes people, in all their appearances, to be consistent with their character and their situation. John was a great and good man, yet not perfect; therefore he came short of glorified saints. The least in heaven knows more, loves more, and does more in praising God, and receives more from him, than the greatest in this world. But by the kingdom of heaven here, is rather to be understood the kingdom of grace, the gospel dispensation in its power and purity. What reason we have to be thankful that our lot is cast in the days of the kingdom of heaven, under such advantages of light and love! Multitudes were wrought upon by the ministry of John, and became his disciples. And those strove for a place in this kingdom, that one would think had no right nor title to it, and so seemed to be intruders. It shows us what fervency and zeal are required of all. Self must be denied; the bent, the frame and temper of the mind must be altered. Those who will have an interest in the great salvation, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing. The things of God are of great and common concern. God requires no more from us than the right use of the faculties he has given us. People are ignorant, because they will not learn.

Verses 16-24 Christ reflects on the scribes and Pharisees, who had a proud conceit of themselves. He likens their behaviour to children's play, who being out of temper without reason, quarrel with all the attempts of their fellows to please them, or to get them to join in the plays for which they used to assemble. The cavils of worldly men are often very trifling and show great malice. Something they have to urge against every one, however excellent and holy. Christ, who was undefiled, and separate from sinners, is here represented as in league with them, and polluted by them. The most unspotted innocence will not always be a defence against reproach. Christ knew that the hearts of the Jews were more bitter and hardened against his miracles and doctrines, than those of Tyre and Sidon would have been; therefore their condemnation would be the greater. The Lord exercises his almighty power, yet he punishes none more than they deserve, and never withholds the knowledge of the truth from those who long after it.

Verses 25-30 It becomes children to be grateful. When we come to God as a Father, we must remember that he is Lord of heaven and earth, which obliges us to come to him with reverence as to the sovereign Lord of all; yet with confidence, as one able to defend us from evil, and to supply us with all good. Our blessed Lord added a remarkable declaration, that the Father had delivered into his hands all power, authority, and judgment. We are indebted to Christ for all the revelation we have of God the Father's will and love, ever since Adam sinned. Our Saviour has invited all that labour and are heavy-laden, to come unto him. In some senses all men are so. Worldly men burden themselves with fruitless cares for wealth and honours; the gay and the sensual labour in pursuit of pleasures; the slave of Satan and his own lusts, is the merest drudge on earth. Those who labour to establish their own righteousness also labour in vain. The convinced sinner is heavy-laden with guilt and terror; and the tempted and afflicted believer has labours and burdens. Christ invites all to come to him for rest to their souls. He alone gives this invitation; men come to him, when, feeling their guilt and misery, and believing his love and power to help, they seek him in fervent prayer. Thus it is the duty and interest of weary and heavy-laden sinners, to come to Jesus Christ. This is the gospel call; Whoever will, let him come. All who thus come will receive rest as Christ's gift, and obtain peace and comfort in their hearts. But in coming to him they must take his yoke, and submit to his authority. They must learn of him all things, as to their comfort and obedience. He accepts the willing servant, however imperfect the services. Here we may find rest for our souls, and here only. Nor need we fear his yoke. His commandments are holy, just, and good. It requires self-denial, and exposes to difficulties, but this is abundantly repaid, even in this world, by inward peace and joy. It is a yoke that is lined with love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness. The way of duty is the way of rest. The truths Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon. Such is the Redeemer's mercy; and why should the labouring and burdened sinner seek for rest from any other quarter? Let us come to him daily, for deliverance from wrath and guilt, from sin and Satan, from all our cares, fears, and sorrows. But forced obedience, far from being easy and light, is a heavy burden. In vain do we draw near to Jesus with our lips, while the heart is far from him. Then come to Jesus to find rest for your souls.

Cross References 10

  • 1. 11.5 aIsaiah 35.5, 6; bIsaiah 61.1.
  • 2. 11.10Malachi 3.1.
  • 3. 11.12, 13Luke 16.16.
  • 4. 11.14Malachi 4.5;Matthew 17.10-13;Mark 9.11-13.
  • 5. 11.21Isaiah 23.1-18;Ezekiel 26.1--28.26;Joel 3.4-8;Amos 1.9, 10;Zechariah 9.2-4.
  • 6. 11.23 aIsaiah 14.13-15; bGenesis 19.24-28.
  • 7. 11.24Matthew 10.15;Luke 10.12.
  • 8. 11.27 aJohn 3.35; bJohn 1.18; 10.15.
  • 9. +211.28-30Ben Sira 6.24-30; 24.19; 51.23-26.
  • 10. 11.29Jeremiah 6.16.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. made clean: [See 8.2.]
  • [b]. has suffered violent attacks; [or] has been coming violently.

Matthew 11 Commentaries