Sunday, June 25, 2023

Handout - Matthew Chapter 11:1-6 - Johns Question

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 11:1-6 - John's Question

Following Jesus's discourse on the coming persecution and the response to it, He continues teaching about Himself, as the coming King per the prophets, and proclaiming the coming Kingdom. John the Baptist was still in prison, as had been previously announced (Mat 4:12). He had been put in prison by Herod after John chastised him for having his brother's wife (Mat 14:3-4).

From his cell in prison, John had been hearing reports about the work of Jesus. He sent two of his disciples to Jesus to get an up to date report. John had been expecting the Kingdom to be established but was hearing Jesus was meeting stiff resistance from the leadership. After remaining in prison for some time expecting to be released and the kingdom established, he was starting to question whether he had the right person as Messiah.

John's disciples asked Jesus up front if He was the coming King that the Jews had been expecting according to the Hebrew Scriptures. The response Jesus gave was for John's disciples to remind John about His power and authority as displayed in His healings and miracles, which were also predicted in the Hebrew Scriptures (Isa 35:5-6, Isa 61:1-2). The preaching of the good news to the poor was a reference to Isa 53:1-12 in which the suffering of Christ would bring about the forgiveness of sin. These three passages among others would have given John the understanding of who Jesus was and given more comfort that just an acknowledgment of being the Messiah.

The "blessing upon those who do not stumble on account of Jesus" is speaking of developing an inaccurate picture of who Jesus was thus having false expectations. In other words, those who expected the Kingdom to be established at this time could stumble over false expectations as the reality of the rejection of the Kingdom unfolded. The stumble would be loosing faith because things were not working out the way we expected them to. False expectations could come from Rabbinical teachers and popular legends, or even from changing circumstances.

Carson makes the following observation, pertinent for us today: "It is therefore an implicit challenge to reexamine one's presuppositions about what the Messiah should be a do in light of Jesus and his fulfillment of Scripture and to bring one's understanding an faith into line with him."

Glasscock adds: "Truly this same warning applies to contemporary Christianity, where Jesus has often been misrepresented and many false assumptions have led to discouragement and stumbling."

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