“This is the one about whom it is written, ‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’
(a) My Messenger is John the Baptist.
(b) Prepare your way. Jesus is quoting Malachi 3:1 which is a prophecy about two messengers, and the first one (John) clears the way for the second (Jesus, the herald of the new covenant). According to the prophet Malachi, the latter follows the former suddenly, like a two-punch combination. First one, then the other. And this is what we see in the gospels; first John then Jesus.
“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
(a) Born of women. How could Jesus not be greater than John? Jesus was not being modest. Jesus was made of a woman (ginomai) while John was born (gennetos) of a woman. See entry for Gal. 4:4.
(b) John the Baptist; see entry for Mark 1:4.
“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
(a) John the Baptist was the first to preach “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). He was saying the time of waiting is over. At the start of his ministry, Jesus echoed that claim (Matt. 4:17).
(b) The kingdom of heaven suffers violence. Hungry, desperate people are coming to the kingdom.
Jesus is speaking to the crowds (Matt. 11:7). Crowds followed Jesus because he preached the good news of the kingdom come (Matt. 4:17, 10:7). With signs and wonders, Jesus revealed the kingdom of God to a people who had been oppressed by the burdensome yoke of the law, and they were responded with faith.
(c) Violent. The original word (biastes) is related to a word (biazo) that means to force or crowd oneself. Picture Jesus being crowded by hungry people desperate to hear the good news or receive healing (Luke 5:15). There was nothing timid or restrained about their desire. The people trampled over each (Luke 12:1) or tore roofs apart to get close to him (Luke 5:18–19). They were like an army besieging Jesus and the kingdom of heaven (John 6:15).
“For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
The Law refers to the Law of Moses, the commandments, ordinances, punishments, and ceremonial observances given to the nation of Israel through Moses (Jos. 8:31). This law is sometimes referred to as the law of commandments (Eph. 2:15) or the law of the Jews (Acts 25:8). See entry for The Law.
(b) Until John. John was both the last prophet of the old covenant and the messenger who prepared the way for the herald of the new covenant (Jesus; see Matt. 11:10).
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
(a) The Son of Man; see entry for Matt. 8:20.
(b) Sinners. If the original language did not lack punctuation marks, the word “sinners” would be in quotation marks. Religious people called them sinners; Jesus called them lost sheep (Matt. 10:6, 15:24).
Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.
Repent. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of God’s grace and forgiveness” (see Mark 1:15). Jesus is talking about people who heard the gospel but refused to believe it.
“Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
The day of judgment. Judgment Day is the end of days, the day when the Lord returns to separate the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31–32). See entry for Matt. 10:15.
“And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.
Hades is the Greek word for Sheol, the Old Testament abode of the dead. The word can be translated as pit or grave. See entry for Matt. 16:18.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
(a) My yoke. In contrast with the burdensome laws of Moses, the commands of Jesus are easy to obey.
(b) You will find rest. The gospel is not an invitation to pick up tools, but to drop them (Heb. 4:10-11). It’s not a job advertisement, but a holiday. It’s not a day of work; it’s a day of rest.
Grace declares, “It is finished, the work is done,” and faith responds, “Thank you, Jesus!” Faith is not something you must do or manufacture. Faith is resting in the restful persuasion that God is at rest and in him so are we.
See entry for “Rest”
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
(a) My yoke is easy. In contrast with the heavy yoke of Moses (Act 15:10), Jesus’ yoke is light and easy to bear. To live under the ceaseless demands of the law is burdensome, but Jesus is easy to obey (1 John 5:3). His sweet words and gentle call to you are your doorway to the life you were born for.
(b) My burden is light. Obeying the Lord is the most enjoyable and rewarding thing you can do.
This world will try to bury you with heavy demands, but the burdens of the Lord are easy to bear. An easy burden is one that is a pleasure to carry. It’s living in the sweet spot where your God-given talents are aligned with God’s call on your life. It’s shining in a dark world and doing the thing you were put on this earth to do.
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- Matthew 11:10
- Matthew 11:11
- Matthew 11:12
- Matthew 11:13
- Matthew 11:19
- Matthew 11:20
- Matthew 11:22
- Matthew 11:23
- Matthew 11:29
- Matthew 11:30