Matthew 11 Questions and Answers
1. Read Matthew 11:1-6. What do we find Jesus doing again after He has instructed His disciples?
- Going into the towns and villages of Galilee, teaching and preaching. It's interesting that nothing is said about healing the sick or casting out demons like in other places.
2. Why had John been put in prison? By whom? ( Mark 6:17-20)
- King Herod had put John in prison (in the dungeons of the fortress of Machaerus in the mountains near the Dead Sea) because he confronted the king about marrying his brother's wife.
- John, who was used to the outdoors, being in the big wilderness had by now probably been confined in prison for about a year.
3. What had John the Baptist's mission been according to Matthew 3:3?
- John was the one that was sent to prepare the way for Jesus' coming.
4. What was John the Baptist asking his disciples to find out about Jesus?
- If He was the one who was to come which means, is He the Messiah they had been waiting for? Or should they be expecting someone else?
Why do you think he asked that kind of question of Jesus?
- Perhaps John, like most other Jews, expected deliverance but instead he was delivered up to Herod and was in Herod's prison. John had looked forward to Christ's coming but His coming had not brought what he or Israel expected. But military advance or violence is not the way to the kingdom. Following legalistic rules is not the kingdom way. Faith that is willing to wait and imitating Christ in helping the needy is the way to the kingdom.
- Some think that John's disciples may have been asking John if Jesus was the true Messiah and so John said that if they had any doubts go and ask Jesus himself.
- Some suggest that John did believe that Jesus was the Messiah but the events or lack of them caused his mind or emotions to put a cloud of doubt over his assurance. John was not asking for information but for confirmation. He believed but his faith had been weakened.
- Like John, believers can get confused about the understanding of some of God's truths. There were some things that were unclear to John and he needed an explanation and confirmation and sometimes we do too.
- John was considered the greatest man who had lived up to that time, so if he can get confused we as believers can take comfort when we are perplexed. And although the Lord understands our doubt, He is not pleased with it, although John's honest doubt was probably the result of weakness rather than sin.
- Perhaps after being in prison for so long he began to wonder where the God of comfort was that he read about in Isaiah 51:12. Maybe he wondered if his reward for faithfulness and obedience to God were suffering, shame, hunger, physical torment, perplexity and loneliness? Fortunately, John knew where to go for answers and get resolution for his doubts.
5. What are some major causes of doubt?
- When we have some difficult and perhaps even unexplainable circumstances
- If we have incomplete information, understanding or knowledge of God's Word we will tend to doubt. If we are immersed in God's word and allow Him to speak to us doubt vanishes.
- Misconceptions of who God is, what His plan is or what He should or shouldn't be doing often cause people to be perplexed and even indignant.
- Unfulfilled expectations can create doubt - John expected Jesus to execute judgment but Jesus wasn't doing it when he thought Jesus would. We may be excited about Jesus return but when it takes so long our hope and our dedication fades.
6. Do you ever have doubts or questions about what God does or doesn't do? If so, what can we do about it?
- Negative circumstances are painful and trying but we should go to the Lord and ask him to relieve us of our doubts, anxieties and fears.
- It is important to be content to leave in the Lord's hands the many things we do not yet understand.
7. What was Jesus' response to the question that John's disciples asked?
- Jesus pointed to His works as a way of revealing that He is the expected Messiah. People do not set up rules as to how God can reveal Himself - God chooses His means of revelation. The final proof is how these messengers live and show God's message of love.
- In Jesus great mercy and love, He did some miracles like giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk, curing those with leprosy, giving hearing to the deaf, raising the dead and preaching the good news to the poor. Jesus told John's disciples to go back and tell John what He had been doing.
- Then Jesus gave a gentle warning and a tender rebuke to John. Don't doubt if you want to have the blessing of my joy and peace. Instead of falling away from Jesus because you don't understand or are perplexed by what is or is not happening, trust God and leave the way He does things in His hands.
- John had only grasped half of the truth. John preached divine holiness with divine destruction. Jesus preached divine holiness with divine love. Jesus is saying,, "Maybe I am not doing the things you expected me to do but the powers of evil are being defeated not by irresistible power but by unanswerable love." Sometimes a person can be offended at Jesus because Jesus cuts across his ideas of what religion should be.
8. Read Matthew 11:7-19. What did Jesus say about John?
- John was more than a prophet - John is the Elijah who was prophesied to come ( Malachi 4:5-6) This was not a reincarnation of Elijah but the angel told Zechariah that in John would be the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). Later John denied that he was Elijah (John 1:21). John was like Elijah internally - in spirit and power - and externally in rugged independence and nonconformity.
- He was a messenger send ahead of Jesus to prepare the way for Him - that is the greatest task a person could have
- No human being, up to this point, was greater than John and Baptist
- After Christ, even the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John - because he had not seen the cross he could never know the full revelation of the love of God. John's message wasn't Good News - it was a threat of destruction. Jesus and his cross showed the length, breadth, depth and height of the love of God. True greatness is not being like John but being like Christ because they had put their trust in Him as Lord and Saviour.
- He didn't come eating or drinking and he was called a demon.
9. What do we learn about the kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 11:12?
The positive meaning:
- From John the Baptist to that time (about 18 months) the Kingdom of Heaven is vigorously pressing itself forward, and people are forcefully entering it. With its focus in John the Baptist, the kingdom moved relentlessly through the godless, sin-darkened human system that opposed it.
- Following the Lord demands earnest effort, untiring energy and exertion. Jesus already taught that only a few enter the kingdom by finding the gate and entering through it and walking the narrow way. (Matthew 7:13-14) To be a Christian is to swim against the flow of the world, but wherever John went people were turning to the Lord.
The negative meaning:
- From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and violent men take it by force. Everywhere John went he evoked a strong reaction
- Kingdom of heaven refers to God's general rule, His will for and His work with mankind, especially His chosen people, the Jews. It represents His purpose, message, principles, laws and activities relating to mankind - all of which had been associated with some form of violence since John began preaching.
- It is talking about violence that is brought on the kingdom of heaven by those outside of it. Soon the enemies of the kingdom would kill not only John but Jesus as well.
10. What does Jesus expect us to do with His teaching?
- Listen to Him, accept and believe what He says, obey Him. Jesus is asking for a response.
11. What false accusations were made against John the Baptist and Jesus? What brought about those accusations/judgments?
- They said that John the Baptist had a demon because he didn't eat or drink like normal people did. He was in the funeral mode so to speak as described in vs.17.
- They said Jesus was a glutton and drunkard and a friend of sinners and tax collectors because He lived in the normal pattern of Jewish life. He spent time with people, he ate and drank with them, healed their diseases, forgave their sins, called them to follow him. Jesus was living in the wedding mode - Matthew 9:14. Jesus' critics exaggerated his normal activities charging Him with being gluttonous and a drunkard. The wine Jesus and most Jews drank was "oinos", a drink made by boiling or evaporating fresh grape juice down to a heavy syrup or paste in order to prevent spoilage and simplify storage. To make a beverage, water would be added as needed to a small quantity of syrup. That mixture was non-alcoholic, and even when allowed to ferment it was not intoxicating, because it was mostly water. (John MacArthur commentary p. 262) The charge that he was a friend of sinners was true but they were accusing him of also being involved in their sins. Jesus didn't participate in their sins - He delivered them from it.
- If people do not want to listen to the truth they will find an excuse for not listening and end up criticizing the person.
12. How could Jesus prove if the accusations were true or not?
- His actions or His deeds would prove whether he was doing right or not. John was serving God in a lonely area but he moved men's hearts towards God.
- Jesus mixed with people, but they were finding a new life, a new goodness, a new power to live by and a new access to God.
13. Do you find yourself sometimes being quick to accuse or criticize people or a group of people? What kind of things do you tend to criticize? What should we do first before we accuse or criticize? Is there a place for discernment?
- Check out the deeds and see if they are drawing closer to God, if they are doing what is right or bringing people closer to God.
- Dress, who they hang out with, how they live, music
14. Read Matthew 11:20-24. Which 3 cities had seen or experienced miracles of Christ? How had they responded? What was Jesus' response?
- Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum
- They refused to repent. It was the sin of indifference, of doing nothing.
- Jesus is sorrowful because He offered men the most precious thing in the world and they disregarded it. Jesus' condemnation of sin is not from outraged pride but from a broken heart.
15. Which cities had not seen or experienced the miracles of Christ?
16. For which cities will it be easier on the judgment day? Why?
- Tyre, Sidon because they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes if they had seen Christ's miracles
- Sodom would have survived if they would have seen Jesus' miracles. Sodom was known for their moral depravity but in Capernaum there was no apparent moral deficiency. Yet because they ignored and rejected the Son of God their fate on the Day of Judgment will be worse than that of Sodom.
17. Read Matthew 11:25-26. What did God hide from the wise and learned and revealed to little children? Why would God have done that? Why would Jesus have praised God for doing that?
- Jesus' teachings about His messiahship, lordship, saviourhood, salvation, submission and discipleship all centered in the kingdom of God were hidden from those who were not humble, but who had a proud spiritual attitude. It is not intelligence but intellectual pride that shuts people out of the kingdom. The proud person will not submit to God's wisdom and truth and therefore excludes himself from the kingdom. The religious man who relies on tradition or good works to please God is just as far from God as the atheist.
- The means God uses to hide these things from such people is the darkness of their proud, unregenerate hearts, which prevents them from seeing what God desires them to know and to accept.
- "Little children" does not refer to age but to those who have a humble spiritual attitude, knowing they are utterly helpless in themselves. May also refer to new in the faith. They have a simple, take it at face value understanding of scripture.
- The difference between the wise and learned and little children is that some think they can save themselves by their own human wisdom, resources or achievement and those who know they cannot. The wise rely on themselves and the little children rely on God.
- Jesus is grateful that God is willing to reveal His truths even to children and those who feel they are not intellectual or don't know a lot of Scripture.
18. What was God well pleased with?
- God loves to help the humble and the repentant for it gives Him honor and it gives Him glory.
- To hide the understanding of His teachings from the proud.
19. Read Matthew 11:27. What has God given to Jesus?
- All things have been committed to Jesus by His Father.
- That includes all authority, sovereignty, truth and power
- According to John 5:21 - 24 it sounds like God gave Jesus sometime before He came to earth all these things.
20. What is the relationship between God and Jesus?
- God is Jesus' father
- No one knows the Son, Jesus, except the Father, who is God. No one knows the Father except the Son, and those He chooses to reveal Him to
21. Read Matthew 11:28-30. Who does Jesus invite to come to Him? What will Jesus do for them?
- Those who are weary and heavy laden - referring to those who are humble and seeking for salvation.
- Weary means working to the point of exhaustion, refers figuratively to the arduous toil in seeking to please God and know the way of salvation. Jesus calls to Himself everyone who is exhausted from trying to find and please God in their own resources, trying to earn salvation.
- Heavy laden means that in the past a great load was dumped on a weary person. Weary refers to internal exhaustion caused by seeking divine truth through human wisdom, heavy laden suggests the external burdens caused by the futile efforts of works of righteousness.
- Those who come to Jesus humbly, He will give them rest, spiritual rest.
22. What does Jesus ask the weary and heavy laden person to do?
- Come to Him for rest. Because Jesus is gentle and humble in heart He gives rest, not weariness to those who submit to Him and do His work.
- Take Jesus' yoke on us - means to become a student under the yoke of Jesus as our teacher. An ancient Jewish writing says, "Put your neck under the yoke and let your soul receive instruction." As Christ's disciples we are to be submission learners. A yoke symbolizes obedience. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. Jesus carries the load, we follow as we submit to Him in obedience. If we try to go the opposite way of Jesus, we will experience chaffing and heaviness and irritation.
- Learn from Jesus
23. First Jesus dealt with John's disciple's honest doubt, then with criticism of His lifestyle, then indifference of those who saw Jesus' miracles. Which one pained Jesus the most? Why?
- Indifference -according to Matthew 11:21-24 there will be degrees of punishment in Hades which here represents hell, the place of eternal punishment for the unsaved.
- According to Jesus indifference to Him was worse than moral impurity or violence.
- People who lived after Christ are either much happier or much more wretched than those who lived before Christ, depending if they accepted Christ and repented or were indifferent to Him.