Matthew 11:1-6 – When they left Yeshua continued His ministry. John the Baptist’s disciples came to Him with a question from John “Are you the “Expected One”? Jesus was not turning out to be the kind of Messiah that the Israelites were expecting. Messiah ben Joseph vs Messiah ben David. Now John the Baptist who was locked in Herod’s prison was starting to wonder. where was the judgment of the wicked? Isaiah 61:1-2. To comfort all who mourn, Jesus’ response is almost an allusion to Isaiah 61. The miracles alone are not totally sufficient; faith is required as well Mark 8:11-12.
Matthew 11:7-11 -A reed swaying in the wind was an allusion to a person whose philosophy is easily changed. John on the other hand was firm in his convictions. John also was not dressed in soft clothing; instead he wore the garments of Elijah – 1 Kings 1:8. Jesus declared that the reason flocked to John in the desert was because he was in fact a prophet Matthew 11:9.
The last accepted prophet lived 400 years earlier, Malachi. Jesus then declares that John was more, not just one calling Israel to repentance but one of who the prophets foretold would come. He is referring to Malachi 3:1,4:5-6, Isaiah 40:3. While John is the greatest of prophets, those who are least in the Kingdom are greater. This helps you to understand that those who enter the kingdom are no longer under tutors but are sons Galatians 4:1-7.
Matthew 11:12-14 -The Kingdom of heaven refers to the rule of God upon man. The word violence can be passive meaning that those proclaiming the kingdom were the objects of violence from those opposing it. John was in jail soon to be killed and so too would the King himself be treated. However there is a positive sense as well. The kingdom was forcibly advancing against violent men and the kingdom of darkness. All the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
This is a reference to the idea that is understood by the Orthodox as the entire Scriptures were written for the Messiah. Jesus actually declared that if you can accept it John was Elijah who was to come. That is he is the one foretold by Malachi. But because Israel did not accept the message of John they still go to the door on Passover hoping that he is there to tell them of the Messiah. Some believe that the is one of the witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11:1-19.
Matthew 11:16-19 –Yeshua reflects on his audience as one who would never be satisfied with the messengers sent to them. When John came neither eating nor drinking and having nothing to do with any who were unholy, they thought he had a demon. When Yeshua did just the opposite they accused Him of being a drunk and a glutton, and a friend of sinners. Yeshua ends with a saying that suggests actions demonstrate his credentials.
Matthew 11:20-23 – Jesus rebukes those cities were His miracles were done and where He was ignored. King Josiah recognized how repugnant it was to ignore the Words of God in 2 Kings 22:13 – The word endure or “stand firm” in the NIV version in the original Greek meant to be able to stay under, to undergo, or to bear trials.
From both Old and New Testament usage of this word we get an idea of what it means to persevere in our faith. We do not earn our salvation by enduring, we rather prove our faith. Theologically this is called “perseverance”, and our perseverance is a demonstration of genuine faith.
It is how we react in the midst of our trials and persecution that demonstrate the reality of our faith. In fact James tells us that we are blessed when trials come James 1:2-4. However In Matthew 11:23 the disciples are told not to endure persecution if it can be avoided. When Paul experienced heavy opposition he was told to move on. Acts 13:40ff.
Matthew 11:25-30 – God does not keep the Gospel from the wise and intelligent but from those who think that they are in their own eyes. When we take God’s gift of intelligence and wisdom to life ourselves we lose sight of what God’s plans and will for our lives are.
Consider Solomon whose wisdom and intelligence brought him down. He lost sight of God’s will for His life. The Book of Ecclesiastes is a chronicle of Solomon’s folly and the results it brought to his life. It will help us to understand that God is the one who reveals the things of God to us 1 Corinthians 2:1 See also John 1:12-13. In Matthew 11:27 Yeshua claims a unique and special relationship with “My Father” referring to Father, this is again a reference to the unique position Jesus had with the Father.
Come to me – While it is true that it is God who sovereignly calls man to Himself we at the same time must come to Him. All who are weary, It is like the scenario of those dying in the wilderness when they were bitten by serpents, they had to accept that they were dying and then look to the uplifted serpent (Numbers 21:9). We must come to the Lord realizing that we are unable to help ourselves. It is only then that we can experience God’s rest (Sabbath). Consider Hebrews 3-4 and Psalm 95:7ff for a complete understanding of God’s rest.