We continue with our lesson in Matthew 11, keeping with our line-by-line verse-by-verse approach. In this chapter Yeshua (Jesus) talks about John the Baptist and has a few confusing things to say about him as well, making Matthew 11 one of the more confusing sections in the Bible. BUT..if we all would have studied and followed GOD's WORD and Jesus' WORD it would not be confusing at all.
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?
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.
It is obvious that John the Baptist's disciples were wary of Yeshua. Verse 3 says it all. We can rest assured that John the Baptist talked about Yeshua constantly to his disciples. So why would they automatically seem to doubt him once they seen him for the first time? We have to read Isaiah 53 to get the answer, in my opinion.
1. Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2. For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
I am sure once they seen Yeshua for the first time they saw a small pitiful ugly man as he was described in Isaiah 53. Yeshua did not look a 1970's rock star as many would like to portray him. This also explains why, it seems, his own Apostles kept doubting him as well.
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.
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.
Clearly Yeshua said, without hesitation, that John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born of a woman. Simply stated: he was the greatest "mortal" man ever to walk the planet. But Christ followed up that statement with a confusing one; "notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
We have to understand that Yeshua brought the KNOWLEDGE of the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth, FIRST. No one knew what the Kingdom of Heaven actually was before Christ revealed the secret. John the Baptist had no idea what the Kingdom of Heaven was, so in turn he could not receive the vast rewards that this particular knowledge affords us all. We can be great or least in the Kingdom of Heaven by our faith and works.
Also one must read Malachi 3 and 4 to understand what Christ meant by the statement in verse 14 that John the Baptist was "Elias" or in English, Elijah.
1. Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
2. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
4. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
Clearly this scripture is describing the coming of Yeshua the Christ. Verse 4 seals it; The offering shall be pleasent to the Lord, the new sin offering; the blood of Christ. In Malachi 4 it describes the coming of Elijah, again. We can speculate that Malachi 3 was describing the coming of the new Covenant (Christ) and we know, simply by the language used, that Malachi 4 is describing the end of days.
1. For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
2. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
3. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
4. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
5. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
The day of the Lord is, of course, the end of days.