Can followers of Jesus look forward to a life without conflict?
John the Baptist sends a delegation to Jesus questioning his authenticity as the Messiah. Jesus sends them back with an answer. He then speaks about John’s role in the new Kingdom.
Matthew 11:1-6—John’s Questions
Somehow, rumors came to John the Baptist, while imprisoned by Herod Antipas, of Jesus’ ministry. It wasn’t what Israel expected, and perhaps not everything John anticipated, either. He wished some evidence that he hadn’t pointed people astray. Jesus’ reply to John was evidence enough to convince him of the truth. Just look at the power of the gospel!
How could John the Baptist question Jesus’ identity? If even John the Baptist had questions about Jesus, is it any surprise that other Israelites wondered as well?
What should we do with spiritual doubts, or with life difficulties?
Matthew 11:11-15—John, the Greatest Prophet
Jesus makes some strong statements about John the Baptist. John was considered by Jesus as the “greatest” of the prophets, but no reason is given.
What made John the Baptist the “Greatest Prophet born of women”?
The lesson this week targets 11:12 as worthy of attention, suggesting it be interpreted in a Great Controversy context; that “violence” will be done to those who follow Christ. This is one possible interpretation of the passage. Comparing it to Luke 16:16, it is possible to suggest that forceful people were taking hold of the kingdom and forcing their way into it.
How do these passages—Matthew 11:12 and Luke 16:16—present the Kingdom of Heaven?
Matthew 11:16-27—The Faithless Generation
Jesus compares His generation to children who don’t react consistently, and to the pagan cities of Tyre and Sidon, who would have repented if shown what Chorazin and Bethsaida had seen. Jesus suggests that the Day of Judgment would be easier for places like Sodom.
If these cities would have repented, why didn’t God give them enough to believe and to bring about their repentance? Are people judged based on a moving scale? Are we only accountable for what we know or experience about God?
John’s ministry was fraught with hardship, but Christ gave him enough to sustain him. He will do the same for us.