Jesus and John the Baptist
After Jesus sent His disciples into the world, He went to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. John the Baptist was in prison during this time and on hearing the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the one who was to come or should they expect someone else. Seems quite weird, why would John of all people have this doubt when he was the one who testified about Jesus.
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”Matthew 11:5-6
It is always better for us to go to God with our doubts and get them cleared instead of living with that doubt and trusting Him less.
Jesus then started speaking to the crowd about John, asking them what did they actually go to see in the wilderness?
Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:Matthew 11:9-10
‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’
John was the messenger sent before Jesus to prepare the way. Jesus spoke about how the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and violent people raiding it. The people did not understand the kingdom and used their own ways, they kept accusing, troubling and burdening people with their own ways of living but never shared the love of the kingdom of God.
Jesus mentioned how He and John both shared a similar message through different means but both were accused by the people. He said how John lived a secluded life in the wilderness, like a wild man and how Jesus lived among everyone else, yet the pharisees accused both of them by saying John has a demon and Jesus is a glutton, drunkard and a friend of tax collectors and sinners.
No matter how the gospel was presented, people hardened their hearts so much that they were just not ready to accept the message but completely ready to find faults. Do we also fall in this category or do we give space to God to work in our lives?
Woe on Unrepentant Towns
Jesus went around a lot of Jewish towns and performed many miracles, yet the people in those towns never repented. Again these towns just hardened their hearts so much that in spite of seeing Jesus in action, they did not believe.
But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.Matthew 11:22
Jesus gave a few examples of the readiness of the gentile cities that if the miracles had been performed there, those cities would have repented long ago. Jesus further warns them that the judgement will be stricter on the cities who knew Jesus but refused to repent, than on these gentile cities.
When we see God working in our lives, we should let Him, it is for our own good. Unless we understand His love and the sacrifices He made for us, we will not be able to repent and without repentance, we will not be able to share His love with others which is the sole purpose of our lives.
The Father Revealed in the Son
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.Matthew 11:25
The verse above seems a little rude but this is the truth. We may think that we know everything about God but unless we humble ourselves and have childlike faith, our hearts will not be open to hear God. Just like children are completely dependent on their parents, we should be completely dependent on Him, humble enough to accept that He is the only one trustworthy.
God has entrusted everything in Jesus who has been given the authority for everything. Only the Father knows the Son and the Son knows the Father and everyone to whom the Son decides to reveal. By giving His life on the cross, the Son took up all our burdens and in turn revealed the Father to us. It is up to us to choose to embrace the Father’s love.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.Matthew 11:29
Jesus humbly calls us to take up His yoke and learn directly from Him to help our souls find rest. He wants us to accept His yoke as a connector between Him and us, so that we don’t need to look to anyone or anything else.
He asks us to put our burdens on Him rather than burdening us which is something the pharisees had been doing. He cares for us, unlike other people who sometimes have selfish motives while sharing God’s love. He calls us to have a direct relationship with Him as we do not need a mediator.
Let us take up His yoke and connect with Him directly that we may not get disheartened by other people and continue in the path that God has chosen for us.