THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 11

1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. 2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

Notice that Jesus went to "teach" and to "preach." He didn't go only to teach, nor did He go only to preach; but to teach AND preach. It's interesting to see how this is translated in Greek. The Greek word for teach is didasko which means to instruct or to impart education. The Greek word for preach is kerusso which means to herald or proclaim. What I learned from that is that Jesus used teaching to proclaim the gospel. Effective preaching should include good teaching!

Another interesting thing Matthew shows is that John the Baptist had a question. All true believers in Christ have questions. To say that John had doubt is not a fair assessment of his life or his preaching. John's question did not reflect doubt, it reflected a legitimate inquiry. Not only does Jesus answer John's question, but He also tells all believers how we can have our questions answered.

John had preached Messiah as both Savior and Judge (See John 1:29, Matthew 3:11-12). John could see the Savior in Jesus, but his question was related to the Judge. Jesus was certainly here, and He was surely representing Messiah as Savior. But would there be ANOTHER to come as Judge?

Let's listen carefully to Jesus' answer.

4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Perhaps John's question was related to Isaiah 35:4-10. Jesus wanted John to focus upon the fact that Messiah/God had come, and that He was performing the miracles to prove Who He was! So, Jesus pointed John to the Scripture for authentication (See Isaiah 61:1-3, and Isaiah 29:18-23, and Isaiah 43:8-11).

God had said, in Isaiah 43:11, that HE HIMSELF is the ONLY Savior! Therefore, Messiah must be the physical manifestation of the invisible God! What Jesus showed John (in Matthew 11:5 above) is that He was doing those things that only God can do! And Jesus was pointing John the Baptist to learn what John the apostle later taught (John 20:31).

A person is truly "blessed" when he/she realizes that Jesus is the ONLY Savior. And when we keep our focus upon Jesus as the ONLY physical manifestation of the invisible God, then our questions are answered in HIM!

7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

As if to prove to the crowd that John was not a wavering person, Jesus used an analogy of the "reed" in the wind. Certainly John was NOT such a person.

Jesus said John was a "prophet!" And John was not just a prophet, but "MORE than a prophet!" He was the last of the Old Testament prophets, and the first of the proclaimers of Jesus as Messiah. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Messiah, who proclaimed the coming and ministry of Messiah (See Malachi 3:1).

In verse 11 above, Jesus said that no mere human was ever greater than John the Baptist! However, there is a GREATER privilege! And that privilege is to be least in the "kingdom of heaven."

John the Baptist soon would have his head severed, and he would die. John the Baptist would not be privileged to see Jesus complete His mission as Messiah.

But those who were following Jesus, believing Him to be Messiah, were ALREADY in "the kingdom of heaven!" They were already receiving new truths. Later, when Jesus was crucified, entombed, and arisen, these people would be filled with the Spirit of God. And from that point they would begin the CHURCH, which is a PART of the Messianic kingdom. It is that part which proclaims with validity that Jesus is Messiah. For the church can proclaim that Jesus HAS come, HAS died, HAS risen, and IS returning!

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

From the time John the Baptist began to proclaim, until the day of Jesus' crucifiction, the kingdom of heaven suffered "violence." Everyone was virtually siezing the kingdom. Religious and political authorities persecuted both John and Jesus with vicious violence to the death! Thieves, murderers, prostitutes and tax collectors grabbed at the kingdom of heaven with joyous violence.

Verse 13 tells us that everything God had done in the world through prophets and law had led to this point. And verse 14 tells us that if the Jewish nation had fully received Jesus as Messiah, then John would have indeed been that "prophet" of Malachi 4:5.

Therefore, Jesus says (in verse 15) if you have spiritual ears to hear, then believe and receive the kingdom of heaven today. And the manner by which to receive is to surrender to Jesus as Messiah and Lord.

He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Savior, and the Eternal Judge! There will be a day when the violent will be overrun by the meek Messiah! For He is coming again to "judge and make war" (Revelation 19:11).

16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

People, Jesus said, are like children. They treat life as it were playing games! John the Baptist came with strict demeanor, denying self and living totally for God. He wore rough clothes, ate only from provision by the land, and spoke strongly for full repentance toward God. John did not participate in socialite behavior.

But people said he was possessed of a demon. They didn't want to play his "game."

Jesus came with gentle kindness, partaking of the world's goodness, and proclaiming salvation free to EVERYONE. Jesus participated in the normal social behavior of mankind.

But people called Him a "low social" being. They didn't want to play His "game" either.

"But wisdom is justified of her children."

Those who refused Christ refused Wisdom. For He is Wisdom. A patient, taking the medication prescribed by the doctor, is cured. The patient's action "justifies" the doctor's wisdom. The person who receives Christ receives the "cure" for sin! And by following the directions of the Savior, the saved person "justifies" true Wisdom - Jesus.

The truth of Jesus is to some "a stumbling block." But to those who are called of God's Spirit, Jesus is "the power of God and the wisdom of God." (See 1 Corinthians 1:23-24.

20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Jesus was not only "upbraiding" the cities surrounding Capernaum and Capernaum itself. He was also "upbraiding" all those who refuse to recognize the true signs of God in Him.

Jesus performed many miracles: healing the blind, lame, lepers, deaf, dumb, casting out demons, and even raising the dead. If those same miracles had been performed in the Name of the Lord in Tyre and Sidon, or even in Sodom and Gomorrha, the people of those cities would have repented and been saved!!

The preponderance of evidence concerning Jesus as Messiah has been recorded faithfully through history. To refuse belief that God has come in Jesus is to refuse absolute Truth and absolute Wisdom. Therefore it will be "more tolerable" on judgment day for those who lived in the days of Tyre, Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrha than for those who have had the privilege of KNOWING Jesus personally and refused!

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Those who are wise in their own self esteem refuse to surrender to Christ because they refuse the "revelation" of God in Him. But those who hold themselves to be no greater than another will receive Christ as Lord. And to them shall be revealed wisdom from God.

27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

There is a story told about a very rich man who had only one son. The son was drafted into the army, and shipped overseas during the war. He was killed in action, and the father grieved heavily. When the father died, an auction was proclaimed for all the things which he owned. Several million dollars was at stake.

At the auction, the very first thing to receive bidding was a crude painting of the man's son. The father had painted it himself. When the painting was offered for bidding, no one made a bid. The offer was made several times, and there were no hands raised indicating willingness to purchase the painting. Finally, an elderly man raised his hand. He had been the butler of the father. He offered $1 for the painting.

The aucioneer called for further bids. There were none. The auctioneer said, "SOLD for ONE dollar! And that, my friends is the END of the auction!"

There was a lot of murmuring among the crowd. They wanted to know how this could be the END of the auction when there was so much left to sell.

The auctioneer explained, "In His will, the father stated that 'whoever receives the painting of the son shall receive ALL!"

My friends, All God IS is revealed in Christ! All God HAS is given to Christ! And all God has for you is IN Christ!

So then, COME TO HIM!!

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

We are all laboring under the heavy burden of sin! We NEED "rest!" The rest from the labor of sin is ONLY found in Christ! Without Him, there shall be no rest from the consequence and condemnation FOREVER!

What is required of us to come to Christ? His "yoke" is "easy"! The "yoke" refers to that placed upon an oxen to plow. Our "rest" in Christ from the consequence and condemnation of sin does not relieve us from labor!! But it is an "easy" labor, for His "burden is LIGHT!" His burden is to tell the world of salvation offered through Christ Jesus. Are you bearing the YOKE?

The "yoke" also can refer to that special insignia placed upon a disciple of a rabbi. He was enrolled in the "school" of the rabbi, and wore that "yoke" to identify his relationship with the rabbi. When we enroll in Jesus' school, there are several identifying factors in our "yoke:" love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (See Galatians 5:22-23). Are you bearing the YOKE?

The ULTIMATE "rest" is living eternally with Jesus in Heaven! That is indeed "rest for the SOUL!"

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.