Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 11

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books

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Jesus, The Source Of Spiritual Rest

Matthew Eleven

The Lord Jesus gave commandments and a commission to the apostles. (Matthew 10) Now by example, preaching, teaching and work He showed them how to do their work. "Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities." ( Mat_11:1 )

At this time John the Baptist was in prison. His only crime was preaching the truth. He must have been terribly discouraged. He sent some from prison to Jesus to ask, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" Jesus' answer was very unique. He told them to tell John that, "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." ( Mat_11:2-6 )

Jesus described the sterling character of John the Baptist. He said that there had not been born anyone greater than he, yet He said, "he that is least in the kingdom is greater than John." Jesus pronounced very severe woes upon Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. He said that wisdom had been hidden from the wise, but given unto babes. Matthew eleven closes with a sweet and most beautiful invitation from Jesus to come to Him for rest!

Verses 1-6

A man called John Mat_11:1-6 : John the Baptist was a great servant of God. But, even great servants can doubt and need reassurance. He asked, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" ( Mat_11:3 ) Are you Christ? Are you the Savior? Are you the Messiah? John said if Jesus was not the Christ they would look for another. How wonderful it is when people are looking for the Messiah. Jesus wanted John to know that He was the long expected Messiah. He told the two disciples to, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see 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 who is not offended because of Me." ( Mat_11:4-6 )

Verses 7-19

A most unusual man Mat_11:7-19 : John was one of God's greatest servants. Jesus used this occasion to say some things concerning his character and ministry. He gave His approval to the good work done by John. He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born to women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist." Yet He said, "He who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." ( Mat_11:11 ) John was great, but he was not born under the New Covenant. This is because he lived and died before the completion of Jesus' work at the cross and His resurrection. Therefore, he did not enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant and being a citizen in the church. ( Heb_8:6-13 ) Jesus said, "He who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John."

If when they first went out to John in the wilderness they thought they might find an unstable, and an unreliable man they were very mistaken. John did not dress in soft cloth or live delicately like a king but he did stand strongly for God's truth. John was that Elijah that was to come. He was a prophet and far more than a prophet. He spoke of the Christ in very simple language and from close proximity. He was God's messenger preparing the way for the Christ. He did his work well! In spite of that many were not pleased with John. Some have a heart to criticize, and they will find something to criticize. They would not be pleased by either John or by Jesus.

Verses 20-24

A message of repentance Mat_11:20-24 : The Lord pronounced woes upon the cities where most of His mighty works were done because they did not repent. "Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent." ( Mat_11:20 ) Jesus urged these people to change their hearts and lives, to leave their sins and turn to God. Repentance is a change of heart or mind leading to a change in action. It is a decision to cease doing wrong and to begin doing right. When a person repents his life changes completely. One is a sinner before repentance and is headed toward hell. After repentance and baptism one is righteous and lives for God.

Capernaum is where Jesus did many of His mighty works. There He healed the centurion's servant, healed Peter's mother-in-law, healed the man sick of a palsy, raised Jairus' daughter from the dead, made whole the woman that had an issue of blood, opened the eyes of two blind men, and cast out a devil from a dumb man. Yet many rejected Him, therefore He justly upbraided them. If God's blessings are refused His woes will be received. Jesus said, "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." ( Mat_11:23 )

Verses 25-30

A means of rest Mat_11:25-30 : There are many ways Christ benefits our lives and there are many blessings that come through the gospel. No blessing is greater than "rest for your soul" which is obtained as one comes to Jesus. He promised, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." ( Mat_11:28-30 ) Those that "labor and are heavy laden" are invited to come to Jesus for rest.

Only those who truly feel the burden of sin will come. We should come to Jesus as (1) Savior, "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." ( 1Jn_4:14 ), (2) Advocate, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." ( 1Jn_2:1 ), (3) Redeemer, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." ( Psa_19:14 ) and, (4) Sustainer, "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." ( Col_1:17 ) There is spiritual rest to be had in Christ for all that will learn of Him. You have been invited to come! Will you come?

"Will you come; will you come, with your poor broken heart, burdened and sin oppressed? Lay it down at the feet of your Saviour and Lord: Jesus will give you rest, O happy rest, sweet, happy rest! Jesus will give you rest." Will you come to Jesus by hearing God's word and believing Joh_6:44-45 , repenting of sins Act_2:38 , confessing Christ and being baptized? ( Act_8:36-39 ) If sinners come to Christ and stay with Him they obtain rest for their soul.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Matthew 11". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/matthew-11.html. 2014.
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