"Jesus' Authority Overcomes Doubt"- Matt. 11: 1-19
This Week’s Core Practice: Giving Away My Faith- I give away my faith
to fulfill God's purposes.
Ephesians 6:19, 20 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Scripture: Matthew 11:1-19
11 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. 2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” 7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear. 16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, 17 “ ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
The idea of who and what a Messiah was and what He was supposed to do was a big issue in the first century. John knew who the Messiah was, but Jesus' behavior of touching those who were unclean, not fulfilling the role of king as people expected, and not overthrowing the Roman govt. caused a crisis of faith. John the Baptist sits in a prison cell because of corrupt religious leaders and a more corrupt king. He is perplexed, confused, disoriented, and discouraged. He wonders if all of his faithfulness and mission were in vain; did he make a mistake? Was there someone else? Why was Jesus not doing what he expected Him to do? He dedicated his life to be the voice in the wilderness; forsaking all he knew, friends, family, status, and comfort to bring the message that God had given him. Now, because of his efforts, he is on a dirt floor awaiting his impending death-and with a crisis of faith. He sends two of his disciples to make sure all was not in vain, that what he did was worth it. Then Jesus answers John's disciples with what they observed.
“While John was asking for ‘proof’ of Jesus’ messiahship, Jesus, instead of offering proof, gave him evidence. The walk of faith most often means to accept evidence in the place of proof. The evidence which Jesus gave was that the prophet’s words were being fulfilled (Is. 35:5; 61:1).”
Use the following questions to help review the application of God’s Word to our Head (What does God want me to know?), to our Heart (What does God want me to desire/value?), and to our Hands (What does God want me to do?).
How do you, or do you, feel about John the Baptist sending his followers to question Jesus? Is Jesus’ answer a rebuke, an encouragement, or something else?
What answer did Jesus give to John through John’s disciples in 11:4-6? Explain how this answers John’s question.
Explain the significance of Jesus’ statement about people being offended at Him. What does it mean to be offended, and why were many people offended at Him?
What questions did Jesus ask about John in 11:7 and 8? What is the significance of His question and its application to John?
Verse 10 contains a quotation from Malachi 4:5. Read all of Malachi 4. What other passages in that chapter seem to speak of either Christ or John the Baptist?
How did Jesus describe John in 11:11? Explain how it could be true that no one was greater than John, yet those who are least in the kingdom are greater than he.
Jesus often used expressions similar to 11:15. What point was He trying to make, and what should we learn?
What illustration did Jesus use in 11:16,17 to illustrate people’s reactions toward Him and toward John? Explain the point of the illustration.
Summarize the main idea of verses 16-19 in your own words. What does that tell us about what we need to be doing as followers of Christ?