John the Baptist and Jesus: 11:1-19.
(Read Matt 11:1-19)
Jesus had finished giving instructions to the apostles and he departed to teach throughout their cities. When John the Baptist was imprisoned by king Herod, he began to doubt whether Jesus was actually “The Christ”. He sent his disciples to question whether or not Jesus is actually the Messiah he was waiting for. Jesus answered John's question by by explaining that the very things prophesied about the Messiah are happening in his ministry (Isaiah 35:5; 61:1-3). “The blind sees, the lame walk, the lepers are healed, the deaf hears, the dead are raised to life and the good news is being preached to the poor” (Matt 11:4-5). Jesus said that “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me”. Jesus did not come to establish God’s kingdom in their expected way. Like John the Baptist, we often like to see Jesus doing something spectacular in our lives. We also doubt and question Christ when things would not go the way we expect. John was foreordained to be the forerunner of Jesus. Jesus said, “Of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist”. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John (Matt 11:11). John was the last prophet in the Old Testament dispensation. But he had the privilege to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus and to become his forerunner. The prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6 was fulfilled in John. He was the link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The messengers of the gospel face opposition always. It is a privilege to know Christ and serve him. The verses 16-19 explain the attitude of people towards John the Baptist and Jesus. They made excuses to reject John the baptist and as well as Jesus. God extends his grace to those who understand their need for the forgiveness. They receive forgiveness and eternal life offered in the gospel.
Jesus Gives True Rest: 11:20-30.
(Read Matt 11:20-30)
Jesus denounces the Galilean cities where he has done most of his miracles. They did not repent and believed in him (Matt 11:20-21). They are without excuse for not believing the gospel. Jesus said it will be more tolerable for Tyre, Sidon and Sodom on the day of judgment. Blessings also bring responsibility. There is always a danger that “Familiarity could breed contempt”. From everyone who has given much, much will be demanded. The greater our exposure to God and his Word the greater our obligation. The fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction is one of the proofs of the inspiration of the Bible. The Scribes and Pharisee are the scholars of the Law of Moses. But they willfully rejected Christ. Intellectual failure can be investigated but willful rejection does not give the gospel a chance. God had given insight to people whom the society considered unimportant. They were humble in their hearts and child-like in faith (Matt 11:27; 1 Cor 1:18-2:8). People were exhausted by the burdensome teaching of the Pharisees (Matt 23:4). They tried to earn God's favor with religious activities. Jesus invited them to come to him (11:28). Here Jesus gives three commands and four promises. The three commands are; “come, take my yoke and learn from me”. The four promises are;” I will give you rest, you will find that I am meek, my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30). Those who come to Jesus should accept him as their Lord and Savior. The yoke refers to the teaching of Christ. Jesus wants to exchange our heavy burden of law with his lighter load of grace. Only Jesus can give rest for your soul. Thirdly we have to learn from Jesus. We should allow Jesus to control our lives to experience the rest. His yoke is easy and fits us perfectly. Those who submit to Jesus and learn from him will find that he is "gentle and lowly. This is a universal invitation. Jesus wants to help all those who humble enough to admit their need for his mercy and grace. Have you received the rest Jesus offer by faith?