Matthew 11:16-24

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

JESUS’ EULOGY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

INTRODUCTION:

 

So far in Matthew, we have seen the introduction of the King (1:1 - 4:11), which included His genealogy (1:1-17), His conception and birth (1:18-25), His visit by the wise men (2:1-12), His flight into Egypt and His return from Egypt (2:13-23), His forerunner, John the Baptist (3:1-12), His baptism (3:13-17), and His temptation (4:1-11).

 

We have also seen the demands of the King which included the narrative about Jesus (4:12-25) and the Sermon on the Mount (5:1 - 7:27) followed by the concluding statement, And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine (7:28).

 

In addition, we have seen the deeds of the King which included the narrative about Jesus (8:1 - 9:38) and the commission of the twelve (10:1-42) followed by the concluding statement, And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence (11:1).

 

In this message we are continuing to consider the program of the King (11:2 - 13:53) which includes a narrative about Jesus (11:2 - 12:50) and a discourse by Jesus on the parables of the kingdom (13:1-52) followed by the concluding statement, And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence (13:53).

 

The narrative about Jesus in the program of the King includes His eulogy of John the Baptist, His upbraiding of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, His new message of personal discipleship, His Lordship over the Sabbath, His healing on the Sabbath of a man with a withered hand, His healing of the multitudes, His healing of a blind and dumb demoniac and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, His statement of the sign of the Prophet Jonah, His statement of the sign of the Queen of the South, His statement of the worthlessness of self-reformation, and His statement of new relationships.

 

In chapter 11, we have already seen –

      1.   JOHN THE BAPTIST’S QUESTION FOR JESUS – 11:2-3

 

Matthew 11:2-3 – (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?

 

We have also already seen –

      2.   JESUS’ ANSWER FOR JOHN THE BAPTIST – 11:4-6

 

Matthew 11:4-6 – (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.

 

In addition, we have also already seen –

      3.   JESUS’ PRAISE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST AND HIS MINISTRY – 11:7-15

 

Matthew 11:7-15 – (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. (15) He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

As we continue, we see –

    I.     THE FICKLENESS OF THE PEOPLE – 11:16-19

 

Matthew 11:16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows.

 

Beginning in verse 16 Jesus compares the generation living at the time of His earthly ministry who were not satisfied with either John the Baptist or Jesus to children in the market places.

 

But transitions to the next thought in the narrative in the sense of now.

 

Whereunto? is to what?

 

Shall I liken this generation? is shall I compare this generation?

 

Jesus answers, It is like unto children sitting in the markets, which suggests it is similar to children sitting in market places.

 

And calling unto their fellows is and calling out to (or addressing) their companions.

 

What they are calling out is found in verse 17.

 

Matthew 11:17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

 

The children are pictured as playing dance music for others who refused to dance and as having sung a song of grief but the others had not mourned.

 

And saying introduces the words the children called out to their companions.

 

We have piped unto you suggests we have played the flute for you and implies we have played the flute for you (to dance).

 

And ye have not danced is but you did not dance.

 

We have mourned unto you suggests that we expressed ourselves in a song of grief in the sense of we sang a dirge as if we were playing funeral.

 

And ye have not lamented is but you did not mourn.

 

The point is that the children in the market place could not agree on anything just like this generation of people living at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry could not agree on anything.

 

Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

 

Because John did not eat the same foods the people ate and did not drink wine, people said he had a demon.

 

For introduces the reason Jesus said that the people of this generation were like children in the market place who were not satisfied with anything.

 

John is John the Baptist.

 

John came neither eating nor drinking indicates how John the Baptist came. He denied himself the things which people normally ate and drank.

 

And (as a result) they say, i.e. and as a result, they are saying (or they are repeatedly saying).

 

He hath a devil is he (i.e. John the Baptist) has a demon. Of course, he did not have a demon.

 

Matthew 11:19 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.

 

Because Jesus ate the same foods the people ate and drank wine like the people, they accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.

 

In spite of this, both Jesus and John will be shown to have been right.

 

Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of man, where man is the generic term for human being.

 

Whereas John came neither eating nor drinking, Jesus came eating and drinking.

 

And they say is and they are saying or and they are repeatedly saying.

 

Behold is look or see.

 

A man gluttonous, and a winebibber, which suggests a human being (or a person), a glutton and a drunkard.

 

Of course, Jesus was neither a glutton nor a drunkard in spite of what people were saying.

 

A friend of publicans and sinners was intended as derogatory; yet, it was actually a true statement. He was their friend.

 

Publicans are tax collectors, and sinners are those who commit sin. Of course, those who said that Jesus was a friend of sinners did not regard themselves as sinners.

 

Jesus loved tax collectors and sinners and came to save them from their sins.

 

But wisdom is justified of her children implies that in spite of the Jewish people not being satisfied with anything, including not being satisfied with John the Baptist and Jesus, both John and Jesus were right in what they did as a result of which many people would be saved from sin and its consequences.

 

Wisdom is justified suggests that wisdom is shown to be right or wisdom is vindicated.

 

Of her children suggests by the results that wisdom produces.

 

People who heeded what both John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed would experience eternal redemption.

Next, we see –

  II.     JESUS’ UPBRAIDING OF CHORAZIN, BETHSAIDA, AND CAPERNAUM – 11:20-24

 

Matthew 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not.

 

Beginning in verse 20 Jesus begins to reprimand the cities where most of his miracles were done because they did not change their minds regarding Who He was and regarding their sins.

 

Then suggests thereupon.

 

Began he is He (i.e. Jesus) began.

 

To upbraid is to reproach or to reprimand.

 

The cities wherein most of his mighty works were done is the cities in which most of His miracles were performed.

 

The reason Jesus began to upbraid these cities is because they repented not, i.e. because they did not change their minds regarding His being the Messiah Who had come to save His people from their sins.

 

It means that they rejected Him rather than believing in Him.

 

The purpose of the miracles was to demonstrate that He was the promised Messiah.

 

They made a bad choice in rejecting Him as their Messiah.

 

Matthew 11:21 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.

 

In verse 21 Jesus rebukes Chorazin and Bethsaida and states that Tyre and Sidon would have repented if the same miracles had been done in them instead of in Chorazin and Bethsaida.

 

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! is a statement of displeasure with Chorazin.

 

Woe is alas.

 

Chorazin is a place in Galilee whose exact location is unknown.

 

Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! is alas to you, Bethsaida! and is another statement of displeasure.

 

This time it is Bethsaida, a place north of the Sea of Galilee, east of the Jordan River where the Jordan River empties into the Sea of Galilee.

 

It was the home of Philip, Andrew, and Peter.

 

For is the word ordinarily translated because and should be understood in this sense in this verse. It introduces the reason Jesus pronounced a woe upon Chorazin and Bethsaida.

 

If the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon is a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be false; and it is false.

 

The mighty works is the miracles.

 

Which were done in you, i.e. which were done in Chorazin and in Bethsaida, suggests the miracles which were performed in you.

 

Had been done in Tyre and Sidon is were performed (or had been performed) in Tyre and Sidon, but they were not performed in Tyre and Sidon.

 

They would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes suggests they would have changed their minds about the Jews’ Messiah and believed in Him, but they did not change their minds and did not believe in Jesus.

 

Long ago suggests a long time ago.

 

In sackcloth and ashes.

 

Sackcloth is a coarse cloth made from animal hair and worn as a sign of mourning.

 

Ashes were sometimes sprinkled on or sat in as a sign of great humiliation and repentance over sin.

 

In sackcloth and ashes implies that the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon would have humbled themselves greatly before God as the residents of Nineveh had done as the result of the preaching of Jonah.

 

Matthew 11:22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

 

According to verse 22, Tyre and Sidon will fare better in the day of judgment than Chorazin and Bethsaida.

 

But is nevertheless.

 

I say unto you is I (i.e. Jesus) am saying to you.

 

It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon suggests it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon. It is a comparison between the intolerable judgment Tyre and Sidon will receive in the lake of fire and the even more intolerable judgment Chorazin and Bethsaida will receive.

 

It will really not be tolerable for either of them, but Chorazin and Bethsaida will have it worse because of the opportunity they had to see the miracles Jesus performed and to hear what He had to say. Chorazin and Bethsaida had received more spiritual light than Tyre and Sidon had received.

 

At the day of judgment suggests in the day of judgment or on the day of judgment.

 

Than for you means than for Chorazin and Bethsaida.

 

At the great white throne judgment, on the day the unbelievers in Tyre and Sidon are sentenced to eternal punishment in the lake of fire, they will receive a penalty which is somewhat less severe than the penalty the unbelievers in Chorazin and Bethsaida will receive.

 

This verse indicates that there will be degrees of punishment in eternal hell.

 

Everybody who rejects Jesus Christ as his personal Savior will be sentenced to spend eternity in hell, but the degree of punishment each will receive will be decided at the great white throne judgment.

 

The works each person did in this lifetime as well as the opportunities he had to hear and believe the gospel message will be examined to determine the degree of punishment each unbeliever will endure in hell.

 

Matthew 11:23 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.

 

In verse 23 Jesus rebukes Capernaum by stating that Capernaum will brought down to Hades and that if the miracles done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom, Sodom would not have been destroyed.

 

It implies that the people living in Sodom would have repented.

 

And thou, Capernaum is and you, Capernaum, and is emphatic.

 

Capernaum was the town where Jesus took up residence after He left Nazareth. Capernaum was located on the Sea of Galilee, but today its exact location is uncertain.

 

Which art exalted to heaven is the one exalted to heaven and suggests that it has been given the highest honors in that the Lord Jesus Christ actually lived there during His public ministry.

 

Shalt be brought down to hell is will be brought down (or driven down) to hades, the place of the dead

 

For is the word ordinarily translated because and is used in this sense in this verse.

 

If the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom is a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be false; and it actually is false.

 

The mighty works is the miracles.

 

Which have been done in thee is the ones which were performed in you.

 

Had been done in Sodom is had been performed in Sodom, but they were not performed in Sodom.

 

It would have remained until this day indicates that Sodom would not have been destroyed and would still be in existence, but it was destroyed.

 

Matthew 11:24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

 

In verse 24 Jesus states that, as wicked as Sodom was, it will be more tolerable for Sodom in the judgment than it will be for Capernaum.

 

But I say unto you is nevertheless I am saying to you or nevertheless I am declaring to you.

 

That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee is nearly identical to it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you in verse 22 except that verse 24 says for the land of Sodom; whereas, verse 22 says for Tyre and Sidon and except that thee is you (singular) in reference to Sodom in verse 24; whereas, you is you (plural) in verse 22 in reference to Tyre and Sidon.

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