11 When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and to preach in their [Galilean] cities.
2 Now when [a]John [the Baptist] in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent word by his disciples(A) 3 and asked Him, “Are You the Expected One (the Messiah), or should we look for someone else [who will be the promised One]?”(B) 4 Jesus answered, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive [their] sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed [by healing] and the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.(C) 6 And blessed [joyful, favored by God] is he who does not take offense at Me [accepting Me as the Messiah and trusting confidently in My message of salvation].”(D)
Jesus’ Tribute to John
7 As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out in the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind [which is commonplace]? 8 What did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing [entirely unsuited for the harsh desert]? Those who wear soft clothing are in the palaces of kings! 9 But what did you [really] go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [more eminent, more remarkable, and] [b]far more than a prophet [who foretells the future]. 10 This is the one of whom it is written [by the prophet Malachi],
‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’(E)
11 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater [in privilege] than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize]. 13 For all the prophets and the Law prophesied up until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is [the fulfillment of] Elijah [as the messenger] who was to come [before the kingdom].(F) 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.
16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like little children sitting in the market places, who call to the others, 17 and say ‘We piped the flute for you [playing wedding], and you did not dance; we wailed sad dirges [playing funeral], and you did not mourn and cry aloud.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking [with others], and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking [with others], and they say, ‘Look! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners [including non-observant Jews]!’ Yet wisdom is justified and vindicated by her deeds [in the lives of those who respond to Me].”
The Unrepenting Cities
20 Then He began to denounce [the people in] the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent [and change their hearts and lives]. 21 “Woe (judgment is coming) to you, [c]Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon [cities of the Gentiles], they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes [their hearts would have been changed and they would have expressed sorrow for their sin and rebellion against God]. 22 Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for [the pagan cities of] Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, are you to be exalted to heaven [for your apathy and unresponsiveness]? You will descend to Hades (the realm of the dead); for if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment, than for you.”
Come to Me
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth [I openly and joyfully acknowledge Your great wisdom], that You have hidden these things [these spiritual truths] from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants [to new believers, to those seeking God’s will and purpose]. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son [deliberately] wills to reveal Him.
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.(G) 30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”
- Matthew 11:2 John and Jesus were about the same age and were related through their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary (Luke 1:36).
- Matthew 11:9 John was unique among the prophets because he was sent to prepare the hearts of the people for the immediate disclosure of their Messiah.
- Matthew 11:21 A city near Capernaum, where Jesus later made His home. They would have heard His teachings many times.