Jesus and John the Baptizer
1After Jesus finished giving instructions to his twelve disciples, he went on to minister in different villages throughout the region.
2Now, while John the Baptizer was in prison, he heard about the wonderful deeds of the Christ, so he sent his disciples to ask him this question: 3“Are you really the one the prophets said would come, or should we still wait for another?”
4Jesus answered them, “Give John this report: 5‘The blind see again, the crippled walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised back to life, and the poor and broken now hear of the hope of salvation!’ # 11:5 This fulfills many Old Testament references to the coming of the Messiah, including Isa. 29:18–19; 35:5–6; 61:1. Jesus is assuring John that the message he brings is life and salvation, not judgment and wrath. 6And tell John that the blessing of heaven comes to those who are not offended over me.”
7As they were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. “What kind of man did you see when you went out into the wilderness? Did you expect to see a man who would be easily intimidated? # 11:7 Or “a reed shaken by the wind?” 8Who was he? Did you expect to see a man decked out in the splendid fashion of the day? # 11:8 See Matt. 3:4. Those who wear fancy clothes live like kings in palaces. 9Or did you encounter a true prophet out in the lonely wilderness? Yes, John was a prophet like those of the past, but he is even more than that! 10He was the fulfillment of this Scripture:
See, I am sending my prophetic messenger # 11:10 Or “angel.”
who will go ahead of me
and prepare hearts to receive me. # 11:10 This is quoted from Mal. 3:1.
11“For I tell you the truth, throughout history there has never been a man who surpasses John the Baptizer. Yet the least of those who now experience heaven’s kingdom will become even greater than he. 12From the moment John stepped onto the scene until now, the realm of heaven’s kingdom is bursting forth, and passionate people have taken hold of its power. # 11:12 Or “The kingdom of heaven is entered into by force, and violent ones take hold of it.” This is one of the most difficult passages in Matthew to translate from the Greek. When the Greek words are translated into Hebrew it becomes a clear reference to Mic. 2:12–13 and includes the “breaking forth [Hb. peretz].” 13For all the prophets and the Torah # 11:13 That is, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). prophesied until John appeared. 14If you can receive this truth, John is the Elijah who was destined to come. 15So listen and understand what I’m telling you. # 11:15 Or “Anyone who has ears to hear, let him hear,” an idiom that means “You’d better listen!”
16“How could I describe the people of this generation? You’re like children playing games on the playground, # 11:16 Or “in the marketplaces.” yelling at their playmates, 17‘You don’t like it when we want to play Wedding! And you don’t like it when we want to play Funeral! You will neither dance nor mourn.’ 18Why is it that when John came to you, neither feasting nor drinking wine, you said, ‘He has a demon in him!’? 19Yet when the Son of Man came and went to feasts and drank wine, you said, ‘Look at this man! He is nothing but a glutton and a drunkard! He spends all his time with tax collectors and other sinners.’ # 11:19 As translated from Hebrew Matthew. But God’s wisdom will become visible by those who embrace it.” # 11:19 Or more literally “Wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Gr. teknon) (some manuscripts, “by her deeds”). The Aramaic word can mean either “servant” (disciple) or “works,” which would explain the difference in some Greek manuscripts.
Jesus Criticizes Unrepentant Cities
20Then Jesus began to openly denounce the cities where he had done most of his mighty miracles, because the people failed to turn away from sin and return to God. 21He said, “How tragic it will be for the city of Korazin! And how horrible for the city of Bethsaida! For if the powerful miracles that I performed in Korazin and Bethsaida had been done in Tyre and Sidon, # 11:21 The Hebrew Matthew is “Sodom.” they would have humbled themselves and repented, and turned from their sins. 22Tyre and Sidon # 11:22 Tyre and Sidon were two gentile cities on the Mediterranean coast that were known for their wickedness. will be better off on judgment day than you! 23And Capernaum—do you really think you’ll be exalted because of the great miracles I have done there? No! You’ll be brought down to the depths of hell # 11:23 See Isa. 14:13–15. because of your rejection of me. For if the miracles I worked in your streets were done in Sodom, it would still be standing today! 24But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom in the day of judgment than it will be for you.”
Jesus Invites Everyone to Come
25Then Jesus exclaimed, “Father, thank you, for you are Lord, the Supreme Ruler over heaven and earth! And you have hidden the great revelation of your authority from those who are proud and think they are wise and unveiled it instead to little children. 26Yes, Father, you’ve chosen this gracious plan to extend your kingdom. 27You have entrusted me with all that you are and all that you have. No one fully and intimately knows the Son except the Father. And no one fully and intimately knows the Father except the Son. But the Son is able to unveil the Father to anyone he chooses.
28“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. # 11:28 Many times Jesus said, “Come after (follow) me,” but only here does he say, “Come to me.” See Ex. 33:14; Matt. 23:4. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. # 11:28 As translated from the Aramaic. 29Simply join your life with mine. # 11:29 Or “Bend your neck to my yoke.” The metaphor of a yoke is that it joins two animals to work as one. It is not simply work or toil that is the focus here, but union with Christ. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, # 11:29 The Aramaic is “tranquil” or “peaceful.” humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. # 11:29 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew. The Aramaic could be translated “Come to me and I will cheer [refresh] you. I am cheerful [refreshing] and humble in heart, and you will find cheer [refreshing] for your soul.” 30For all that I require of you will be pleasant # 11:30 Or “kind” (or “delightful”). and easy to bear.” # 11:30 See Ps. 55:22.