Matthew 11 (NRSV)
Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities.
Messengers from John the Baptist
2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
4Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.
Jesus reassures John, not with a simple yes or no, but gave John’s disciples evidence to take and present to their teacher. Jesus is saying in effect, “John, this is a preview, a taste of the coming kingdom. You can see that I have power over all things, so be encouraged in your faith and be steadfast in trusting me.”
–from Faith Community Church, Tucson, AZ
How would this answer have encouraged John? How can it encourage you?
6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
My mother used to phrase this as a beatitude: “Blessed are the unoffended.” It makes life easier to live, thinking this way! I can still respond clearly to inappropriate conduct, I may still deal with hurt feelings, but I do not have to take those things personally. Forgive, let go, and move on. (And it is amazing how, once you decide to do this, the Lord gives you many opportunities to practice!)
Jesus Praises John the Baptist
7As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
“John had often borne witness to Jesus; now Jesus bears witness of John.”
–D. A. Carson
11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; 14and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15Let anyone with ears listen!
Proverbs 8:32-35 (New International Version)
“Now then, my sons, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not ignore it.
Blessed is the man who listens to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the LORD.”
16“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
17‘We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
and you did not mourn.’
18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
Woes to Unrepentant Cities
20Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.”
Jesus Thanks His Father
25At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
from Edges of His Ways,
by Amy Carmichael
Matthew 11:26 — Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight.
“Even so, Father” in Aramaic is “O yes, my Father, for such is Your will” — the “Yes” of complete content, the welcoming “Yes” of acceptance. He asks us: Are you pleased with My will? — not, Are you going to bear up under it and not show your real feelings?
We all know what it is to plan a pleasure for a child and then watch to see that pleasure. Some of us know what it is to plan the best our love can think of, which yet might be, naturally speaking, a disappointment to that child; and we know how we watch for that response. Love is planning for us. Love has planned the best that Love could plan. Perhaps we could never help one another more than by praying that we may never disappoint our Father’s faith in us, but always follow our blessed Lord in this as in everything and answer His trust with the words, “O yes, Father.”
“Are you pleased with My will, My child?” “O yes, my Father.”
27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Such kindness from our Lord! Here is another expression of that graciousness: “He Shall Feed His Flock” from Handel’s Messiah, performed by Boston’s Baroque Orchestra and Chorus in 1992.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.