October 11th, 2006
When the hard times come, it’s not uncommon for people to reassess where they are and what they believe. John the Baptist found himself arbitrarily thrown into prison by the despotic king, for the crime of failing to approve the king’s bedhopping. Faced with the harsh realities of prison life and the possibility of instant execution (which occurred soon thereafter), John might have wondered whether he had made the right decisions in life. A week ago we looked at how John had recognised Jesus as the foretold Messiah, and the voice from heaven had confirmed this at Jesus’ baptism. But now in his hour of need, John sent his messengers to get just one more confirmation.
Matthew’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 11
11:1 After he finished instructing his twelve disciples, Jesus went on to teach and preach in their towns. 11:2 John who was in prison heard about the works of Christ and sent two of his followers 11:3 to ask him, “Are you the one who was predicted, or should we look for another?”
11:4 Jesus answered, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 11:5 the blind can see, the lame can walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf can hear, the dead come back to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. 11:6 Blessed is anyone who is not offended by me.”
11:7 As they left, Jesus asked the crowds concerning John, “What did you go into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 11:8 But what did you go to see? A man in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces. 11:9 But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes I tell you, and much more than a prophet. 11:10 For this is the one who was predicted, ‘I send my messenger before you, who will prepare the way for you.’ 11:11 I can guarantee that there has never been anyone born of women that is greater than John the Baptist, yet the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been coming forcefully, and forceful people seize it. 11:13 All the prophets and the law led up to John. 11:14 If you’re willing to believe it, this is Elijah who was predicted. 11:15 Whoever has ears to hear should hear this.
11:16 “But to what can I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the shopping centre, who call out to their friends, 11:17 ‘We played music for you but you didn’t dance. We mourned for you but you didn’t mourn.’ 11:18 John neither feasted nor drank and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 11:19 The Son of Man feasts and drinks and they say, ‘A glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is vindicated by its results.”
11:20 Then he began to reproach the towns in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn’t repent. 11:21 “Woe to you, Korazin and Bethsaida! If the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 11:22 Tyre and Sidon will be better off than you on the day of judgment. 11:23 And you, Capernaum, will you be raised up to heaven? You will go down into hell. For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, Sodom would still be here. 11:24 The land of Sodom will be better off than you on the day of judgment.”
11:25 Then Jesus said, “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from wise and intelligent people but revealing them to children. 11:26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. 11:27 My Father has entrusted all things to me. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son wants to reveal him.
11:28 “Come to me all you who are tired and stressed, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Put on my yoke and learn from me, because I am considerate and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 11:30 My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
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