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Chapter 11
Jesus talks about John the Baptist
1Jesus taught all these things to his 12 disciples. After he had finished he went away from that place. He went to the towns near there to teach his message to people.
2At that time, John the Baptist was in prison. But people told him about all the things that Jesus the Messiah was doing. So John sent some of his own disciples to ask Jesus some questions. 3They said to him, ‘John the Baptist wants to know this. Are you the special person that God is sending to us? If not, should we still look for someone else?’
4Jesus replied, ‘Go back to John. Tell him what you have been hearing. Also, tell him what you have been seeing. 5Blind people can now see again. People who could not walk can now walk again. People who had a bad illness of the skin are now well again. Deaf people can now hear again. People who had died now live again. Poor people are hearing God's good news. 6If anyone believes in me and does not turn away, he will be really happy.’ #11:6 John was alone in prison. He had trouble in his mind. He was thinking about Jesus. Everyone was waiting for God to send a special person. John had told everyone about that person. He thought that Jesus was that person. But now he was not sure. So he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus who he was.
7John's disciples went away again. Jesus spoke to the crowd about John. He said to them, ‘You went out to the wilderness. What did you go there to see? Was it a tall piece of grass which the wind was blowing this way and that? No, you did not go to see that. 8So, did you go to see a man who was wearing expensive clothes? No! People like that do not live in the wilderness. They live in kings' great houses. 9So, what did you go to see? Did you go to see a prophet sent by God? Yes! But I tell you, John was even more important than a prophet. 10This is what someone wrote about him a long time ago in the Bible. God said:
“Listen! I will send someone to go in front of you.
He will speak my message.
He will prepare a way for you.” ’ #11:10 We can read about this in the Bible in the book called Malachi. John the Baptist was a very important man. He brought a message from God. He told all the people that Jesus was coming soon. God had promised that he would send a special person to save them. #11:10 John was not a weak man, like a piece of grass. He did the job that God had given him. He told everyone that Jesus was coming. He told them how to get ready. But he told King Herod that Herod had done wrong things. So King Herod had put John in prison.
11Jesus went on to say, ‘I tell you this. John the Baptist is greater than any person who has ever lived up to now. But now anyone who belongs in the kingdom of heaven, even the least important of them, is greater than John. #11:11 The people who believed John's message about Jesus now knew God as their king. They are in the kingdom of God. This means that they are very important to God. They are all even more important than John was. 12From the time that John the Baptist began to teach until now, the kingdom of heaven is becoming very strong. Strong people are trying very much to take hold of it. 13All the prophets and the books of the Law spoke God's message until the time that John the Baptist came. 14The prophets wrote about Elijah. They said he would come again, to go ahead of the Messiah. They were writing about John, and you should believe their message. 15You have ears, so listen well to what I say!’
16Jesus said, ‘I will talk to you about the people who are alive today. They are like children who are sitting in the market place. They are playing games and they shout to other children,
17“We made happy music on a flute for you,
but you did not dance.
We sang a sad song but you did not cry.” #11:17 People often play happy music with a flute.
18People today are like those children. John the Baptist often did not eat for a time. He never drank wine. So people say that he has a bad spirit in him. 19Then I, the Son of Man, came. I both eat and I drink. So people say about me, “Look at him! He eats too much and he drinks too much. He is a friend of bad people and men who take taxes on behalf of the government.” God is wise. The good things that he does show that he is right.’ #11:19 John and Jesus were very different. But they both lived as God wanted them to live. The Pharisees thought about themselves as men who understood God's word. But they would not agree with either John or Jesus.
20In some of the cities Jesus had done many powerful things. But some people in those cities did not want to stop doing wrong things. They did not want to change how they lived. So Jesus spoke against those people. 21He said to them, ‘You people in Chorazin, things will be bad for you! And things will be bad for you, people in Bethsaida. I have done great and powerful things in your cities. If I had done such great things in Tyre and in Sidon, the people there would have changed how they lived. They would have shown they were sorry for their sins. They would have put on clothes made from goat's hair. They would also have put ash on their heads. 22Yes, when God judges everyone, he will punish the people from Tyre and Sidon. But he will punish much more you people from Chorazin and Bethsaida. 23And what will happen to you people in Capernaum? You think that God will lift you up to heaven, do you? No! He will throw you down to hell. I did powerful things in your town. If I had done these powerful things in Sodom, it would still be there today. 24I tell you this. When God judges everyone, he will punish the people from Sodom. But he will punish you people much more!’ #11:24 One day, God will punish those people who do wrong things. God will punish some people more than he will punish other people. Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were towns and cities in Israel. God will punish the people from these towns more than he will punish the people from Sodom. The people in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had heard Jesus speak. But they did not believe him. The people in Sodom had never seen Jesus or heard his message. So God will punish the people who refuse his message more than them.
25At this moment, Jesus said, ‘Father, you rule over everything in heaven and on the earth! People who do not know many things can now understand your message. And so I thank you. But you have hidden these things from some other people. Those people think that they understand everything. They think that they are wise. 26Yes, Father, this is how you wanted it to happen.
27My Father has given me authority over all things. Only the Father really knows me, his Son. Only I really know my Father, because I am his Son. I also choose to tell some people about him. Then they also know him.
28Come to me all of you who are tired. You are like people who have worked for a long time. You are like people who have carried heavy things. Come to me. If you do that, you will find a place to rest. 29Do what I teach you to do. Listen to my message and learn from me what is true. I am very kind and I do not make myself important. I will help you. Then you will have peace in your mind. 30I will not tell you to do things that are too difficult. I will not tell you to carry anything that is too heavy for you.’