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Bible Commentaries

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible
Matthew 11

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-19
  1. Intro:
    1. What does Proof mean when it refers to Whiskey? (& other distilled alcoholic beverages)
    2. In the very old days, whiskey was proved to be good whiskey (that is it had enough alcohol in it, and had not been watered down), by pouring some whiskey on a pellet of gunpowder. Touch a match to the powder, and if it ignited it was proof that it was good whiskey. However, if there was too much water in the whiskey, the powder would be too wet to ignite. Then you have proof that it’s not good whiskey.
      1. About 50% alcohol-water mixtures will allow gunpowder to catch on fire.
        1. Thus the 50% alcohol became 100% proof that it was good whiskey, which is why today it is called 100 proof whiskey. [no, I’m not advocating drinking. illust]
    3. Proof - A test or trial of something to establish whether it is true.
      1. We all desire proof. We need to know if it’s true. And that’s a good thing.
      2. Asking God for proofs doesn’t shake Him up at all. BUT...you must allow Him to answer different then you might expect.
    4. Ever been shook to the very foundation of your faith?
      1. Maybe it was a difficult question? About God, or His Word.
      2. Maybe it was a very difficult life circumstance? - A death of a loved one, a bankruptcy, a boyfriend that broke up with you, a spouse that left you, a child that walked away from the faith.
    5. Ever experience: doubt, despair, questions, hesitation, uncertainty, reservation, indecision, vacillation…than you’re in good company Christian.
      1. John the Baptist having doubts is real, authentic, genuine Christianity…or Christianity 200 Proof. corn ethanol
    6. Title: Christianity 200 Proof. Outline: Proof. More Proof. Double Proof. Final Proof
  2. PROOF (1-6)
    1. ​​​​​​​PERPLEXED, The Prophets Pause (1-3)
      1. An outdoorsman, a child of the desert & of the wide-open spaces, now confined in a dungeon cell in the castle of Machaerus.
        1. John would find it very easy to get discouraged.
        2. Slide12 Machaerus/Μαχαιροῦς (a sword) is a fortified hilltop palace located in Jordan, 15 miles S/E of the mouth of the Jordan River, on the eastern side of the Dead Sea.
          1. We today get discouraged in much better circumstances.
    2. John couldn’t understand Jesus ministry…so he wondered if another was to come.
      1. I thought he was coming to Judge…not Save.
        1. ​​​​​​​Was he impatient with Christ’s quiet methods?
    3. But John does the most excellent thing anyone could do…he sent his little delegation straight to Jesus for answers.
      1. Doubts if hidden, will fester. Doubts if shared with others may spread Doubts should always be brought directly to Jesus.
      2. Griffith Thomas, God is not wounded by a reverent challenge.
        1. ​​​​​​​Ps.42:9 (sons of Korah) I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
    4. ​​​​​​​PROOF (4-6)
    5. (4) 1st Jesus made the dynamic duo wait & watch (Lk.7:21).
    6. (5) William Barclay said, John probably expected to hear, “My armies are massing. Caesarea, the headquarters of the Roman government, is about to fall. The sinners are being obliterated. And judgment has begun.” He would have expected Jesus to say, “The wrath of God is on the march.” but Jesus said, The mercy of God is here.” Let us remember that where pain is soothed and sorrow turned to joy, where suffering and death are vanquished, there is the kingdom of God. Jesus’ answer was, “Go back and tell John that the love of God is here.” (William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, Ch.7)
      1. By Jesus’ answer in vs.5, we see that John doubted His work not necessarily Him.
    7. John, did you overlook the scriptures that spoke of My healing, delivering, & preaching in the OT? [vs.5 conflates/fuses together Isa 35:5,6 & 61:1,2]
      1. Is.35:5,6 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy.
      2. Is.61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor.
      3. Actually he gives them 6 works that fulfilled OT Messianic promises.
    8. Does Jesus ever look different to you? (i.e. the way He is working in your life?)
    9. Jesus said, the proof is in the healing. The proof is in the delivering. The proof is in the raising. The proof is in the preaching.
      1. ​​​​​​​Blind eyes are seeing things they’ve never seen before; Cripples are leaping; Lepers once shut out of society now cleansed & restored to fellowship; Ears that have heard no song of a bird, or music, are listening; the dead are raised; Oh, & the spiritually poor who had no soul wealth have heard the Good News & are now rich towards God (G.Campbell Morgan, Luke, pg.97,98.)
      2. Go & tell John...I Am Master here (over all diseases)...I Am there (even in death). I Am Messiah...I Am the Coming One.
    10. (6) Offended/stumbling - His messianic activity did not include expulsion of the Romans or restoration of the temple religion.
    11. The Lord’s ways can often be very stumbling
      1. David was offended by God’s severity (2 Sam.6:8)
        1. And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzzah.
      2. Jonah was offended by God’s mercy (Jonah 4:1-3)
        1. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.
      3. Martha was offended by Christ’s delay (John 11:21)
        1. Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
    12. Much grace is needed when John’s messengers come back to him saying: Yes, it’s Him the One who can do anything...the One who has all power...buuut, He didn’t say a word about letting you out of prison.
      1. ​​​​​​​No explanation. Faith nourished. Prison doors left closed. And then the message, blessed is he who is not stumbled because of Me...that’s all.
      2. Christ will not explain Himself, but instead He will reveal Himself, as He did to David, to Jonah, to Martha, & here to John.
    13. What have you expected of the Christian faith that turned out to be different?
      1. Maybe you’ve learned: That as Jesus didn’t come to judge, so we aren’t supposed to judge. That as Jesus didn’t come to build religious walls, so we aren’t supposed to construct them either. That as Jesus came to reach out to people, to heal, to save, to bring hope, to care…so ought we.
    14. Our work of the Church is to alleviate human suffering as Christ did, but that is not our final work, nor our principle work.
      1. We are to bring men into living relationship w/God so they might enjoy, as G.Cambell Morgan called it, “the franchise of eternity”.
  3. MORE PROOF (7-15)
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus gives honor to His rugged, faithful, & fearless forerunner.
      1. Such a great tribute to a man…who had doubts. :)
    2. (7) What did you go out to see? A fickle, vacillating, swaying character of a man?
      1. Not John. He was a man immovable as a mighty tree. a) He wasn’t an unstable Reed, more like a sturdy oak.
    3. (8) What did you go out to see? Some soft effeminate soul, like the silk-clad attendees of the Royal Palace?
      1. Not John. That locust eatin, camel-hair wearin, manly man.
    4. -c (9-11) What did you go out to see? A Prophet?
      1. Bingo! And more than a prophet...matter of fact the greatest prophet.
    5. (10) Jesus said John was the one the OT prophet Malachi wrote about.
      1. Alfred Plummer said about John, “The whole man was a sermon.”
    6. (11b) But he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he – How?
    7. The humblest believer today has a much higher position in Christ than John had as a prophet. [John marked a dividing line in history]
      1. John belonged to the old dispensation of Law. Believers today are seated w/ Christ in the heavenlies.
      2. So, the smallest diamond is stronger than the largest flint.
      3. “Jesus had come; eternity had invaded time; heaven had invaded earth; God had arrived in Jesus; life could never be the same again.” (The Gospel of Luke. 2000, William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series.)
    8. (12) until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force - The kingdom and its workers suffer at the hands of violent people who try to prevent or usurp God’s rule.
    9. (14) The spirit of/characteristic of Elijah, not the person of.
  4. DOUBLE PROOF (16-19a)
    1. ​​​​​​​THE UNREASONABLENESS OF THE GENERATION
    2. We also live in a very unreasonable generation.
      1. One asked, What is the biggest problem in our nation...Ignorance or Apathy? To which came the response, I don’t know & I don’t care.
    3. Here is a searching & scathing rebuke. Christ likened their generation unto little children who wouldn’t play anything.
      1. I remember playing with my 2 younger sisters growing up, Gas Station.
    4. [photo me/Net] One would pull up on our red peddle tractor, the other would use the garden hose to pump pretend gas in.
    5. Rose Barnes/Cannon told me Milla, her adopted daughter from Uganda, plays church w/her dolls & toys. She asked which one was pastor Brian, it was her blue donkey.
    6. But we all had a friend on the block that didn’t seem to want to play anything.
      1. Wanna ride bikes? Too much energy. How about Monopoly? Too long.
    7. They complained about both John’s Asceticism(self-discipline) & Christ’s gentleness.
      1. John stayed in the desert as the eccentric; so they assumed a demon took his wits away (18).
      2. Jesus came living the life of men & entering their activities; so they taunted Him with loving earth’s pleasures far too much.
      3. John’s too rough, look at his clothes, what a fanatic.
      4. Jesus, He’s too smooth. I’ve seen him at some parties you know. Did you hear, He hangs out with sinners?
      5. So they didn’t like serious John nor sociable Jesus.
        1. Yet, despite their differences, their message was the same.
    8. God has made many appeals to mankind in history’s past. All sorts of different Patriarchs, Prophets, Kings, Priests, Apostles, & Messengers have come, & yet were met with willful & childish discontent.
      1. (msg) John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
  5. FINAL PROOF (19b)
    1. ​​​​​​​The proof is in the pudding (or as the 14th cent proverb said, The proof of the pudding is in the eating)
    2. Pudding actually meant: a portion of pig intestine, tied with a pudding stick at both ends, stuffed with all sorts of meat, fat, grain, & spices. aka sausage.
      1. You can’t say whether it is good or not until you partake of it. (same w/Christianity)
      2. One really can’t try on Christianity. He says instead, eat my body & drink my blood to make His point. The results vindicate the method.
    3. Do you get it? Christian, you & I are the proof. We are to be God’s Final Answer.
    4. The renowned artist Gustave Dore (1821–1883) lost his passport while traveling in Europe. When he came to a border crossing, he explained his predicament to one of the guards. Giving his name to the official, Dore hoped he would be recognized and allowed to pass. The guard, however, said that many people attempted to cross the border by claiming to be persons they were not. Dore insisted that he was the man he claimed to be. “All right,” said the official, “we’ll give you a test, and if you pass it we’ll allow you to go through.” Handing him a pencil and a sheet of paper, he told the artist to sketch several peasants standing nearby. Dore did it so quickly and skillfully that the guard was convinced he was indeed who he claimed to be. His work confirmed his word.
      1. And so did Jesus’ works confirm Him. How about yours?

Verses 20-30
  1. Intro:
    1. Last week (11:16-19) Jesus condemned the generation for their childish reactions. Here (20-24) Jesus declares true discipleship can only be enjoyed by those who come to Him in childlike faith.
    2. Theme: Soul Rest Outline: The Condemnation. The Prayer. The Invitation.
  2. THE CONDEMNATION (20-24)
    1. At Jesus’ 1st coming, it was not his primary thrust to bring judgment, but he needed to denounce sin.
    2. He uses the gentile cities...Tyre & Sidon & the godless city...Sodom.
      1. They would have repented had they seen the miracles you have seen.
    3. Chorazin - Town in Galilee, just 2 miles N/W of Capernaum. (still in ruins today)
    4. Bethsaida - Home of Peter, & Andrew, James, & John. (still in ruins today)
    5. Capernaum - Exalted to heaven in that...heaven came & dwelt there.
      1. Remember 5 out of 10 miracles in ch’s 8 & 9 were performed in Capernaum (including raising of Jairus’ daughter). [the brighter the light the greater the responsibility]
      2. Yet, her Greater Privileges brought Greater Responsibility, & thus Greater Judgment. [instead of brought up to heaven, instead brought down to the grave]
    6. After criticizing the unbelieving Jews Jesus thanks the Father for His believing disciples.
  3. THE PRAYER (25-27)
    1. ​​​​​​​Overview: Jesus 1st teaches Human Responsibility, last section, esp. vs.20...they did not repent. Then He joyfully proclaims the doctrine of Election (25-27). The one to whom the son wills to reveal Him. Then He turns to give a free & full Invitation to those who are needing rest. Come, Take, Learn.
    2. (25) Wise & prudent = the self-sufficient. Babes = those who depend on God.
    3. (27) All things have been delivered to Me - He was speaking of His authority to reveal the Father to whomever He desired.
    4. Note the word Father 5’x.
      1. Not all of us have an earthly father to celebrate on this Father's Day, we do have a heavenly Father who loves us more than even the best dads on this Earth ever could. He's the ultimate protecter, the ultimate healer and the ultimate comforter. And He's a Father who we should love, celebrate and praise today, tomorrow and everyday.
    5. Let’s talk about Election.
      1. We avoid 2 extremes by not stressing Sovereignty of God only, or Human responsibility only. I like to say...I did my part, & God did his part.
        1. ​​​​​​​His part was: He called me, sought me, caught me, loved me, saved me, cleansed me, healed me, & delivered me. My part was: running away.
      2. God’s Election or Choosing is something that is just of Him.
        1. It’s interesting that most don’t have a problem w/God Electing 1 little nation (Israel) & Him not electing all the rest. (So, corporately they don’t have so much a problem but electing some individuals thats not fair?) Yet, they fail to realize that when God Choose this nation it was in the choosing of an individual - Abraham.
        2. Jn.6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means (not not, never never) cast out.
          1. ​​​​​​​We cannot always explain the mysteries of the Father’s will, but we can adore & obey Him.
  4. THE INVITATION (28-30)
    1. ​​​​​​​(28-30) These vs. are a special treasure only found here in Mt.’s gospel.
      1. We have here the center of a nothing bundt cakes (where frosting falls into center of bundt).
    2. All you who Labor (weary) - All, yes not just Jews, all who would come/believe/ take His yoke. What Labor?
      1. Are you Laboring in the service of Formal Religion? In the attempt to keep the law, or in any other way of self-justification?
      2. Are you Laboring in the service of Self? To get gain, honor, ease, etc?
      3. Are you Laboring in the service of Satan, lust, drink, infidelity, etc.?
    3. Heavy laden (burdened) - Burdened w/what?
      1. Jesus contrasts the burdensome teaching of the Pharisees by telling his disciples that His burden is light, Inviting them to full discipleship.
        1. The Pharisees religion didn’t provide rest nor peace. No human religion can give that.
      2. Laden heavily because of weariness, disappointments, despair, or discouragement.
      3. Laden w/sin, guilt, remorse, fear of death.
      4. Laden w/sorrow, poverty, oppression, slander.
      5. Laden w/care, anxiety, greed, ambition.
      6. Laden w/doubt, temptation, conflict, depression.
    4. I will give you rest - What kind of rest? It’s that rest that comes w/surrender (batteries included)
      1. Rest to the Conscience - by atonement & pardon.
      2. Rest to the Mind - by infallible instruction (H.S. our teacher).
      3. Rest to the Heart - a rest of Love. Jesus fills & contents the heart.
      4. Rest to the Energies - by giving an object worth attaining.
      5. Rest to the Apprehensions - assuring that all things work for good.
        1. Maybe it was the end of an exhausting day & Jesus sees the workers from the field, the busy trader, the fisher & his nets, the slave w/his burden, the rich man w/his heavier burden of care, the gray-haired sinner stooping under the weight of years, & such like these.
    5. It’s a Rest to be found (29) [This is rest upon rest, deepening & settling]
      1. A rest that comes from conquered passions & desires.
      2. This rest counteracts the Labors & Loads.
    6. (29) Take My yoke upon you - a metaphor for Jesus’ teaching & kingdom lifestyle.
      1. Be obedient to My command.
      2. Be willing to be conformed to me in service & burden bearing.
      3. Be submissive to the afflictions which I may lay upon you.
      4. Yokes were heavy wooden objects, used to connect 2 oxen together for more efficient plowing. In contrast, allegiance to Jesus and His kingdom resulted in and rest and not labor.
      5. In Judaism they spoke of carrying the yoke of God’s law & Sabbath rules.
        1. Jesus promised rest for their souls, which He grabbed from Jeremiah (6:16). Where the context was God promising to stay His wrath if the people turned to Him instead of the words of the false religious leaders.
      6. Acts 15:5 the question. 6-11 the answer (see esp vs.10)
      7. What is the yoke God puts on us? It’s God putting His arms around our necks.
    7. Know this...God is in charge of yokes. (remember yoke = submission)
      1. Everyone must wear a yoke. We’re like wild beasts that need to be broken.
      2. The yoke God gives you is the right one for you.
      3. Accept your yokes as from God & He will transform it from bondage to blessing.
      4. If you break the light yoke the next one will be heavier. (the prophet Hananiah took the wood yoke off of Jeremiah & broke it/represented babylon’s yoke about to be placed on Israel. Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus says the Lord: You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made in their place yokes of iron)
        1. We only add to our chastening when we resist it.
      5. Your Youth is the best time to learn how to wear the yoke – Lam.3:27,28 It is good for a man to bear The yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and keep silent, Because God has laid it on him.
      6. Let God break you & control you now, & the future will be bright.
        1. God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, whoreturns to greater power than ever. (Vance Havner)
    8. 30) Burden is light - When a young ox is harnessed to a mature ox. The young ox will not even be pulling any of the weight, It is merely learning to walk in a field under control & w/a yoke around its neck. [note: from heavy load to light load]
    9. Dr. Thomas Lambie (1885-1954) [1st Amer missionary to Abyssinia/Ethiopia. Ministry started when he removed a small beetle from inside Gov Ras Tessema Nadwe’s ear. Founded 2 hospitals there]Once told of a valuable lesson he learned from the natives. Lacking bridges, they were often compelled to wade across swollen streams to reach their destination. The current was swift and there was constant danger of being swept off their feet into deeper water or among treacherous rocks. The weight of the human body being me slightly heavier than water, it was difficult to maintain a foothold when waist deep in the stream. The natives therefore solve the problem by slinging a sack of stone over their shoulder for extra ballast to weigh them down so their feet would not slip. When they reached the other side, they emptied their sack on the bank.
      1. So, too, the Lord places upon us burdens which seem to weigh us down, but in reality keep us from slipping and falling.
      2. So trust Him and believe that He lays no burden upon you heavier than is necessary to keep you safe.
      3. So to give us spiritual traction, God often keeps us down so that He may keep us up. (Bread For Each Day, Devotional, June 24th.)
    10. Illustration: hitchhiker w/backpack gets picked up. Jumps on the open tailgate... but left his pack on. Are you still caring your own burden after coming to Christ?
    11. (back to 28) Come unto Me –
      1. The clarion cry of the Christianity is the gentle word, Come.
        1. The Jewish law was a dispensation of terror, which drove men before it as with a scourge; the gospel draws with bands of love. Spurgeon
        2. Jesus is the good Shepherd going before his sheep, bidding them follow Him, and ever leading them onwards with the sweet word, Come.
        3. The law repels, the gospel attracts. The law shows the distance which there is between God and man; the gospel bridges that canyon, & brings the sinner across it
      2. Not go to Moses, but come to Me. Not come to Christianity, to Communion, nor Calvary Murrieta but come to Me.
      3. Come to a Person to Jesus, the living Savior.
      4. Come at once, Jesus is ready now. Are you?
      5. Come All who Labor & are Loaded, none will be refused.
      6. Come Ladened w/your burdens on your hearts. Come as you are. Come by faith...and I will give you rest.
      7. The Lord said to Noah, Come into the ark. Jesus said to Zacchaeus come down from that tree. Jesus said to Lazarus come forth. Jesus was asked, where are you staying? He said, Come and see.
        1. Rev.22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
    12. Will you respond to Jesus’ invitation to you this morning?

 


Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 11:4". "Brian Bell Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cbb/matthew-11.html. 2017.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, May 29th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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