v.1 Jesus commissioned His disciples. He also had His own work of preaching and teaching to fulfill. There were the new difficulties and the attitudes of His enemies to be faced. Preaching is necessary for the conversion of sinners. Teaching is necessary for the edification of saints.
Challenge to the King’s authority, 11:2-16:12
11:2-19 IN THE REJECTION OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
JOHN’S INQUIRY, v.2-3
John knew who Jesus was so would not have been perplexed by the miracles He did. This loyal-hearted messenger had to be corrected and vindicated. He was no doubt looking for a public declaration of His Messiah-ship. Jesus was not doing what he had expected Him to do.
JOHN AND JESUS: John’s earlier descriptions of Jesus were with great words and he seemed to believe the Lord Jesus would break down the abuse, oppression and evil that was against Israel. But now when he was in prison, there was no great judgment that had fallen, abuses were still everywhere and Jesus had just a handful of plain men following Him. He was preaching good news instead of judgment. When there is troubling questions that we can’t answer, we have to look at the promises of scripture and trust God that what He is doing is right.
JESUS’ ANSWER, v.4-6
His instruction to John’s disciples was to tell John what they had seen and heard. Sinners are blind in their understanding; the lame cannot walk in paths of righteousness; the leprous are defiled with sin in themselves and are infectious to others. Others are deaf to the voice of God, and others are dead in trespasses and sins. The Gospel preached is the Good News that cures all our spiritual diseases. We are not to be offended, not stumbled, because what is happing or the outcome is different than what was expected.
JESUS AND JOHN: The Lord Jesus Christ made sure the disciples of John knew who He was. John was fulfilling the prophecies regarding the Messiah. Look at what is happening in the light of prophecy. It is important that whenever we are uncertain about what is happening, to look at the big picture of prophecy. Jesus said about John…
- John did not fail even though he was in prison. He told the truth no matter what it would cost.
- John was not a soft man. He was a loyal man.
- John was not just a witness; he was a herald.
- Of natural men, there never was a greater in moral fiber, mental breadth and personal strengths.
- As a spiritual man, John was of a priestly but became a prophet.
- As a Jew, he was a statesman who was concerned about the welfare of the nation of which he was a part.
JESUS’ DISCOURSE, v.7-19
Jesus wanted the people to know that in the history of mankind, there was no one who surpassed John the Baptist as an honest, loyal person who was prophesying the truth. Yet in the kingdom of God the lowest person is ahead of John. The law and the prophets were based on anticipation. These culminated in John preparing the way of the Lord (Messiah). Now our hope is based on experience and realization that are clear and able to be seen.
Those who enter the kingdom of heaven must use the kind of violence that tramples under foot pride and every kind of opposition to coming to Christ. Now we know and are content, to trust the King. This will need strong determination on the part of every one who come to Him.
The unreasonableness of the age and generation was such that they complained when there was joy and then complained when there was sorrow. They were like children playing wedding one time and then funeral another time. Don’t be angry at your discontented children because they are just like their parents.
Now the Son of Man was here and they were complaining because He wasn’t. He came as a friend, comforting, cheering them, eating and drinking in fellowship with them, and they turned on Him and called Him gluttonous.
Wisdom is justified by her children (works). Look at the results and let them speak. John came in power and strength to warn the nation and call them to repentance. Now the King has come in tenderness and concern. Lessons to learn are that honesty when in doubt is valued. God will patiently answer in His own time and way so the doubts can be dealt with completely.