Matthew Chapter 11:1-30


Matthew 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.

Whatever he commanded, he himself did. He was always the example as well as the legislator of his people. How well it will be for us who are called upon to teach others, if we can teach them as much by what we do as by what we say! “When Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.”

Matthew 11:2-3. 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?

Poor John! His spirit was brave enough amid the wilds when he was by the riverside; but shut up in prison, it was probably otherwise with him. Those bold spirits, when they lose liberty, are apt to be depressed. Perhaps, too, John sent the disciples as much for their sakes as for his own. At any rate, what a question it was to put to our Lord, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” I would call your attention to the quietness of our Saviour’s mind — the absence of anything like anger. See how he answers them.

Matthew 11:4-6. Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: 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. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Now if it had been the very least of us who had been attempting to do such service for God, and we had been questioned about what we were doing, should we not have felt hurt and aggrieved? And, may be, there are some that would not have deigned an answer, especially if they were dignified with the name of an office. But our blessed Lord does not take a huff at it. He is not vexed, but he answers with the utmost gentleness, not by a word of authority commanding John to believe, but by an exposition of those blessed seals of grace which were the best evidence that he was indeed the Messiah. He pointed to the very miracles which prophecy declared the Messiah would perform, and he did this with that suavity of temper which was ever about our Divine Master, in which let us copy him.

Matthew 11:7-11. 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? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 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.

Never did our Saviour bear a more emphatic testimony to John than on this occasion; and it is remarkable that it, Should have followed upon the heels of John’s doubt and John’s question. How generously the Master repays his servant — not in his own coin, but in the heavenly coin of love. He seems to say, “Through the infirmity of thy flesh thou hast been half-inclined to question me; but through the strength of my grace I turn round and extol thee. Time was when thou couldst say, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease,’ and now I turn round and say to those whom thou hast sent, and to those who saw thy messengers, that there is none like to thee.” Not even Moses himself is greater than John the Baptist; though he that has entered into the light and the glory of the kingdom of grace, since the coming of the Master, is greater than he.

Matthew 11:12-15. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied unto John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

But how many there are that have ears and do not hear! The external organ is affected, but the internal ear of the soul is not reached at all. Blessed are they who, having ears, do in very truth hear.

Matthew 11:16-17. 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.

The children would not agree, Whatever game was proposed, some of them would not follow it. At one time they imitated the pipers, and then the offsets would not dance. Then they imitated the lamentations of a funeral, and then the others would not join in them.

Matthew 11:18-19. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.

There was no pleasing them. And there is no pleasing people now, whoever it is that God sends. One man is much too homely. In fact, he is vulgar. Another is much too rhetorical. In fact, his rhetoric runs away with him. One man is doctrinal. Oh! he is dogmatical. Another man is practical. He is much too censorious. Another man is full of experience. He is mystical. Oh! surely God himself cannot please the evil tempers of ungodly men. One thing is that he does not try to do so, nor do his servants, if they are truly sent of him. That is a matter about which they have small concern.

Matthew 11:19. But wisdom is justified of her children.

Whoever Christ sends, he sends in wisdom, and there is an adaptation about each of his servants, even if men do not perceive it. The day shall come when wisdom shall be justified of her children.

Matthew 11:20-24. 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 these 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. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 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.

There was a tenderness about the tone of Christ when he spoke thus. The words are burning, but the eyes were full of tears. He could not contemplate the possibility of the gospel being rejected without a broken heart. He sighed and cried as he bore testimony against those who refused eternal life. With what tenderness must Christ regard some that are present here tonight, whose privileges from their childhood until now have been so great that they could scarcely be greater, and yet they seem determined to reject the admonitions of love, and trample over tenderness in their desperate resolve to perish. God have mercy upon such.

Matthew 11:25. At that time Jesus answered,

He seemed to answer himself. He answered to the thoughts that passed through his own mind. “At that time Jesus answered.”

Matthew 11:25-27. 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. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 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.

Did the Lord Jesus Christ in his address to Bethsaida and Capernaum awaken in his own mind all those difficulties that hover round about the doctrine of predestination? Did it not seem strange that God should send the gospel to people who rejected it, and did not send the gospel to a people who would have received it? How can these things be? And the dear Saviour answers the question to his own mind by falling back upon that other truth sublime and, to him, full of thanksgiving — the infinite sovereignty of God. I do not know what some of us would do if we did not believe that truth. There are so many things which puzzle us — so many questions, but the Judge of all the earth must do right. He must, he will do as he pleases with his own, and it is not for us to question the prerogatives of the Most High. Now the Saviour at last seems to give vent to his soul in one grand burst of gospel preaching. And whenever you and I get worried about any doctrine, it is always well to come back to the simplicity of the gospel and proclaim it again.

Matthew 11:28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

There is no rest in the difficulties of metaphysics. There is no rest in the labours of human merit. “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 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.

First; he gives rest to all that come, But afterwards there is a second rest which they find who become obedient and bear his yoke. The rest that comes of pardoned sin is sweet, but the rest that comes of conquered sin through obedience is sweeter still. The rest he gives is precious, but there is rest upon rest, as there is grace upon grace, and let us go in for the highest form of that rest. “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The very innermost part of your being shall be full of peace.

Matthew 11:30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Blessed be his name, we have found it so.


Matthew Chapter 11:1-30


Matthew 11:1-3. 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. 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?

Had John’s faith begun to waver? It is possible that it had. Elijah had his times of trembling and depression; then, why might not the second Elijah have the same sort of experience? Possibly, John wished to strengthen the faith of his followers, and therefore he sent two of his leading disciples to Jesus, that they might make the enquiry for themselves as to whether he was the Christ or not.

Matthew 11:4. Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:

For the works of Christ are the proofs of his Messiahship. His teaching and his action must ever be the seals of his mission.

Matthew 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.

This is the last, but not the least, of the signs of his Messiahship, that Jesus Christ preached so that the poor understood him, and delighted to follow him wherever he went. Many despised his preaching for this reason; but the Saviour mentioned this among the signs of his being sent of God: “The poor have the gospel preached to them.”

Matthew 11:6-11. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. 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? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 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.

His position was a very high one; he was the evening star of the old dispensation, and the morning star of the new; but the light which shines after the sun has risen is brighter than any that the morning star can bring. He who has the gospel to preach has a greater thing to do than John the Baptist, who did but herald the coming of the Saviour.

Matthew 11:12-15. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Let him listen to what the heaven-sent messenger has to say; let him especially pay attention to his accents when he says, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

Matthew 11:16-17. 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.

“You would not join in our game; whichever we chose to do, to imitate a festival or a funeral, you would not take part with us.”

Matthew 11:18-19. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

There was no pleasing them anyhow; they were prepared to find fault with any sort of man, whether he lived an ascetic life, or mixed with others as a man among men. “But wisdom is justified of her children.” She sends the right sort of men to do her work, and God will take care that those who reject them shall not be without guilt: “wisdom is justified of her children.”

Matthew 11:20. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

That was the point that Christ aimed at,—their repentance. He did not seek to dazzle them with wonders and marvels, but to break their hearts away from their sins. This is what his mighty works ought to have done, for they proved him to be the Messiah; and those mighty works also warned those who witnessed them that God had come near to them; and that, therefore, it was time for them to turn from their evil ways.

Matthew 11:21-24. 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. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 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

There is a great depth of mystery here, which we cannot hope to fathom. The gospel was not preached to those who would have repented if they had heard it, and it was preached to those who did not repent when they listened to it even from the lips of Christ himself. Upon this latter class, the sole effect of the gospel preached to them was to plunge them into yet deeper depths of guilt because of their refusal of it. It is not for us to solve the mystery; it will be our wisdom to see that, being ourselves favored with the plain declaration of the gospel, we do not put it from us, lest we perish even more miserably than those who never heard it.

Matthew 11:25. At that time Jesus answered and said,—

So he had been talking with his Father: “Jesus answered.” Very often, no doubt, the Saviour spoke with God when it is not recorded in the Gospels that he did so; but here a plain hint is given that Christ was in intimate communion and fellowship with God. At such times, great doctrines which, to the shallow minds of those who live at a distance from God, even seem dreadful, become delightful, and are lit up with unusual splendor. At that time, the doctrine of election was specially upon the heart of Christ because he was dwelling near to God himself: “Jesus answered and said,”—

Matthew 11:25-30. 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. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 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. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.




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