Matthew Chapter 11

John the Baptist and Jesus:  
(Read Matthew 11:1-19)
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to the apostles he departed to teach throughout their cities. John the Baptist who was in prison heard about the things Christ was doing.  He was imprisoned by king Herod, and he began to doubt whether Jesus was actually “The Christ” or not. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus whether Jesus was truly the Messiah they have been waiting for or should they look for someone else. Jesus told them to go back to John and tell him what they have heard and seen (Isaiah 35:5; 61:1-3).  “The blind sees, the lame walks, the lepers are healed, the deaf hears, the dead are raised to life and the good news is being preached to the poor” (Matthew 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 the way Jews expected.  Like John the Baptist, we often like to see Jesus doing things in our ways.  Natural men are attracted to spectacular performance.  We doubt and question Christ when things would not go our way.  John was foreordained to be the forerunner of Jesus. Jesus said, “among those who born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist".  Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John (Matthew 11:11).   John was the last prophet in the Old Testament who saw the Christ and had the privilege 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 always face opposition. But 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 rejected John the Baptist saying he has a demon.  They also rejected Jesus saying that he is a friend of tax collectors and sinners. However, those who know that they need mercy and forgiveness welcome Jesus by faith as their Savior.
Jesus Gives True Rest:
(Read Matthew 11:20-30)
Jesus denounces the Galilean cities where he has done most of his miracles.  They did not repent and believed in him (Matthew 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.  There is always a danger that familiarity could breed contempt. From everyone who has given much, much will be required. 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 corrected but willful rejection does not give the gospel a chance. God had given insight to people whom the society considered unimportant. Those who are humble in their hearts and child-like in faith will be saved (Matthew 11:27; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:8).  People were weary of heavy burden religious leaders laid on them (Matthew 23:4).  They were tried of religious activities to earn God's favor.  Jesus invited them to come to him and find rest for their soul (Matthew 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 will be light” (Matthew 11:28-30).  Only Jesus can give spiritual rest for our soul.  Human souls are restless until they find rest in God. 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 the heavy burden of law with his lighter load of grace.  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.  We should submit to Jesus and learn from him. Then we will find that he is "gentle and lowly".  This is a universal invitation.  Jesus wants to help all those who humble to admit their need for his mercy and grace.  Have you received the rest Jesus offer by faith?