Sunday, June 25, 2023

A Study of Matthew Chapter 11:20-30

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 11:20-24 - Woe to Unrepentant Cities

In light of the coming persecution and rejection of King and Kingdom Jesus juxtaposes Israel, who is increasingly violent in its rejection of Jesus, and evil Gentile nations who have heard nothing of the King or Kingdom.

Charazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were Jewish cities who through a lack of faith rejected Jesus and His signs and miracles which authenticated His person as Messiah.

Tyre, Sidon and Sodom were evil Gentile cities who knew nothing of Jesus or His Kingdom, and made war against Israel.

Jesus is rebuking Israel and pointing out that they are worse than the evil Gentile cities for their lack of faith. Jesus is foreseeing that had the evil Gentile cities received the same light as Israel, they would have repented and changed their ways. Israel on the other hand, is digging in, and accordingly, the day of Judgment will be more severe for Israel. I.E. Sodom will receive a less severe judgment than Capernaum (Luk 12:48).

Matthew 11:25-27 - Proclamation of Divine Revealing

The context for this statement does not flow from the preceding text, but rather from the return of the 72 that were sent out earlier. Luke provides the context: Luk 10:17-22).

"These things" refer to the ultimate defeat of Satan and his rulership over earth. The "wise and learned" refers to worldly wise who are blinded from truth. The context of "babes" conveys the sense of spiritual need, or helplessness and the humility to admit it. "God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud" (1Pe 5:5).

Jesus reveals spiritual truth to "babes", and hides it from the "wise", who do not feel a need for spiritual enlightenment (1Co 1:18-27).

Jesus is rebuking Israel for their willful ignorance of the truth.

The final verse in this pericope is again either extremely arrogant, or the truth. Jesus is claiming mutual and intimate relationship with the Father. He claims that "all things" are given to Him, meaning that the Father, who previously kept things as a mystery, is now revealing them through Jesus. The Pharisees found such a claim to be shocking and blasphemous. Jesus further makes the claim that He has the authority to determine who to reveal the mysteries to, and this motivated the Pharisees all the more to wish to kill Him (Joh 10:30-33).

Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to Me and I Will Give You Rest

The appeal here is given to those who are spiritually humble (babes), not those who think themselves strong. It also speaks to those under the orally perversion of the Law of Moses. Jesus, much to the angst of the Pharisees was standing against the oral law, and those following Him were experiencing freedom. Service to Christ does not bring weariness or heavy burdens, but rest.

Christ's yoke is not burdensome because He Himself is gentle and humble in heart. Service to Christ flows from gratitude, not legalism. Christ's yoke is service to Him, not freedom from obligation.

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