Matthew 11

The Word Made Fresh

1After Jesus had trained his twelve disciples, he left there and began to teach and preach his message in the cities round about.

2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, 3“Are you the one whose coming is foretold, or must we wait for someone else?”

4Jesus replied, “Tell John what you have heard and seen: 5the blind can see; the lame can walk; the lepers are healed; the poor have received good news. 6And any who are not offended by me will be rewarded.”

7As they went on their way Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out in the wilderness to see – a blade of grass blown by the wind? 8No? What, then? Did you expect to see a man dressed in fancy clothes? You know that those who wear fancy clothes are in royal palaces. 9So, what did you expect to see? A prophet? Yes, and I’m telling you he is more than a prophet. 10He is the one written about, ‘Look! I’m sending my messenger before you and he will prepare your way.’

11“The truth is that no one is more important than John the baptizer, and yet the least person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he, 12because from the coming of John the baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been approaching fiercely and has been fiercely welcomed. 13All the prophets, and the law, made pronouncements until John arrived. 14And if you can believe it, he is the Elijah who is to come. 15Let everyone who can hear, listen!

16“So, to what can I compare this generation? They are like children playing in the marketplaces, calling out, 17‘We played the flute for you, but you wouldn’t dance. We cried, but you weren’t sad.’ 18John didn’t come to eat or drink, and they said he was demon-possessed. 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘See! He’s a glutton and a drunk! He is a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ Still, wisdom is confirmed by what one does.”

20Then Jesus began to accuse the cities where most of his miracles had been done because they refused to repent. 21“Misery will come to you, Chorazin! And to you, Bethsaida! If the powerful actions you witnessed had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have long ago worn sackcloth and ashes and repented. 22But I’m telling you that on the day of judgment, Tyre and Sidon will be better off than you! 23And you, Capernaum; will you be lifted to heaven? No! You will be brought down to Hades. If the powerful works done in you had been done in Sodom, they would still be here today. 24But I’m telling you that when the day of judgment comes they will be better off than you.”

25Then Jesus said, “Thank you, Father, LORD of heaven and earth. You have kept these things hidden from the wise and learned, and have explained them to the children, 26for yes, this was pleasing to you.

27“Now everything has been entrusted to me by my father, but no one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal the Father.

28“So, come to me, all you who are weary and overburdened. I will give you rest. 29Join me! I am gentle and humble. In me you will find rest for your souls, 30for my ways are easy, and I will not overburden you.”


1: Jesus will not be idle while his disciples are out there risking their lives; he, too, will be traveling around preaching the good news.

2-6: Imprisoned by Herod, John sends some of his disciples to find out if Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. Rather than answer them directly, Jesus simply tells them to go back and tell John what they have seen.

7-19: When John’s disciples leave, Jesus informs the crowd that John is indeed the “one of whom it is written – Elijah who is to come,” a reference to scriptures which hint that the Messiah will be heralded by a return of Elijah (see, for example, Malachi 4:5).

20-24: These verses flesh out the warning Jesus gave at 10:15, that those towns and villages which reject him, or his message, will fare even worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.

25-27: Jesus expresses his gratitude that God has “hidden these things” — that is, the connection between the Day of the Lord and the community’s response to the call to repentance — from the wise and revealed them to infants, meaning the disciples.

28-30: Sin is the “heavy burden” because of the end to which it brings the sinner. Repentance is the “yoke” that Jesus offers to guide them away from the fate to which sin leads.


We are naturally wary of someone who claims to be a spokesperson for Almighty God. That’s how a lot of people responded to Jesus as he traveled around the area. But Jesus has already spoken, has already been executed by those who did not understand, and has risen to life eternal where he has prepared a place for all who follow him. So, our task is to order our lives in terms of the gospel, and be drawn closer to God through Christ.