The Gospels in 40 days Matthew 11

Matthew 11

The Legacy of John the Baptist: John is in prison, and probably knows his death is imminent. Many read this story as a moment of weakness, when John’s faith falters and he is questioning everything. If so, Jesus is full of reassurance – John’s situation calls for encouragement, not rebuke. Sometimes “doubt” is stubborn resistance to God’s message; sometimes it is genuine seeking. Have you ever been rebuked for asking sincere questions? Teachers are not always right in responding to doubt. Jesus is. When the crowds don’t want to believe, he knows their questions are just a front. The Pharisees set questions as traps, but those who seek will find, those who ask will receive.

I wonder if John did doubt, or if he used this question to deliver his remaining disciples into Jesus’ care. John (at other places in the Gospels) was happy to see his followers go over to the training of Jesus. John’s question, and Jesus’ answer tell John’s last faithful disciples that Jesus is the fulfilment of John’s ministry: that they can carry on, after John is gone, in the company of Jesus who will finish their training.

Woe and Rest: The end of this chapter warns those who have heard and seen the ministry of Jesus and have not repented. Why do people still refuse Jesus when they have seen so many proofs? And why do some people joyfully receive him with little proof? It seems that an unfortunate characteristic of the smart and strong is that they think they can make it on their own. But the weary, Burdened, needy and lowly are willing to humbly accept help and direction. God does not show favouritism towards the poor – but the highly exalted often need to be brought down off their high horse before they will let God be God.

Lord, if my pride is a barrier to knowing you, please, in your mercy, destroy my pride.