SUGGESTED READING: Matthew 11
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this column Annette Dammer examines the New Testament one chapter at a time. If you’d like to join Dammer’s fellowship group, …
SUGGESTED READING: Matthew 11
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this column Annette Dammer examines the New Testament one chapter at a time. If you’d like to join Dammer’s fellowship group, email her at email@example.com with BIBLE in the subject line.
I hope you’re enjoying our walk through the Bible. This week we’ll amble through Matthew 11. The book starts with Jesus and John the Baptist and ends with an invite to the “weary and burdened.” Let’s get going!
So, just having finished His instructions for the 12 disciples, Jesus heads out to “teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.” John the Baptist is in prison, but even he has heard of Jesus’ recent works. John sends his own disciples out to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:1-3)
Remember, this is not the first time the two have met. Jesus sends John’s disciples back with a report. The blind see, lame walk and those with skin conditions (such as leprosy) are cleansed. “… the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” (Matthew 11:4-6)
So, as John’s disciples leave, Jesus talks to the crowd about John. He asks them several times, “What did you go out to see?” He says John the Baptist is a prophet and more. In fact, John was the one that was foretold in, “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.” (Matthew 11:7-10)
No one, Jesus says, has risen greater than John, “yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.” If they are willing to accept John and the laws prophesied before him, “he is the Elijah who was to come.” Anybody with ears, Jesus says, “let them hear.” (Matthew 11:11-15) This he says about a man in jail — circumstances do not define the man.
Next, Christ condemns the towns where He performed “most of his miracles” because “they did not repent.” In fact, they are in worse shape than Sodom when Judgement arrives. (Matthew 11:20-24)
Then Jesus praises God because He hides “these things” from the “wise and learned” yet reveals them “to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” (Matthew 11:25-26)
God, His Father, commits all things to Christ. “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son” and those of us to whom Christ “chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27)
And Jesus wraps up, with an invitation. It is impossible to summarize well. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Many are exhausted today. Their burden is heavy. But Christ is gentle and humble. He simply wants us to find “rest for our souls,” for with Him, the “burden is light.” The “yoke is easy.” Jesus is, in fact, “gentle.”
Nothing to fear there!
Copyright © 2022 by A. Dammer
Scripture Notations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.