Matthew 11:2-19 Jesus Speaks of John the Baptist (see also Luke 7:18-35)
In verses 2-3 it may appear that John the Baptist is not certain whether or not Jesus is the Messiah, but we know that this is not the case, for upon the occasion of baptizing Jesus, John was given a testimony of Jesus as the promised Savior (see Matthew 3:13-17; see also John 1:29-34). Apparently, John’s instruction from prison to two of his disciples to go and ask Jesus if He was “he that should come” (Matthew 11:3) was for the purpose of strengthening the faith of those disciples. Study Jesus’s testimony and teachings about John the Baptist in Matthew 11:4-19:
- Read verses 4-5. What convincing examples of His divinity did Jesus give the two disciples? What is the source of your testimony of Jesus being the Son of God and Redeemer of the World?
- How would you explain Jesus’s brief statement in verse 6?
- How did the Savior characterize John, in verses 7-10?
- Read verses 11-15 and Luke 7:28. Why do think John is appropriately described as a “greater prophet” than all?
- When Jesus says, “he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he,” He may be bearing witness of Himself, who was rejected by many and considered by them to be the “least” (Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28).
- Read Matthew 11:16-19. How can these verses be applied to our day?
Matthew 11:20-26 Jesus Upbraids, then Prays (see also Luke 10:13-16, 20-24)
- Read verses 20-24 to see how Jesus felt about the communities that had rejected Him, despite His “mighty works” that He had performed in their presence (He said “mighty works” three times, in verses 20, 21, 23).
- Read Jesus’s prayer in verses 25-26, noting the example of “babes” (children or other innocent people) as compared to the so-called “wise and prudent.”
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come Unto Me”
Next, Jesus extends one of His most cherished invitations, accompanied by choice promises:
- Read verses 28-30. To whom did Jesus address Himself?
- What do you think it means to take His yoke upon us?
- How do we learn of Him?
- What did Jesus say about Himself in verse 29? In what ways have you found Him to be what He says?
- What did Jesus promise to us in these three verses?
- What does Jesus’s “rest” mean to you?
- How is His yoke “easy” and “light” for you? (See also 1 John 5:3.)
Matthew 12:9-15 The Sabbath (see also Mark 3:1-7; Luke 6:6-11)
Note: Four weeks ago we covered the stories in Matthew 12:1-21 (using the version in Luke 6:1-11), but here we will look again at issues regarding the Sabbath. Do you think it is appropriate in our day for a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional to save or treat someone in need of assistance?
- Read Matthew 12:9-10. What question did the people in the synagogue ask Jesus, and why did they ask it? (Note that Jesus had not yet healed the man’s hand, yet the question came forth.)
- Read John 7:23, noting Jesus’s point that because circumcision was to take place on the eighth day after a baby’s birth (see Leviticus 12:2-3), this would sometimes fall on the Sabbath, yet was not considered a violation. Also, all agreed that to “break” the Sabbath by delivering a baby was allowed, for saving a life superseded the Sabbath laws.
- In Matthew 12:11-12, Jesus gave an example of a justified “violation” of Sabbath law. What modern examples can you think of, that would also qualify as justified exceptions?
- Jesus followed up by healing the man (verse 13). How did the Pharisees react? (verse 14).
- How did Jesus react? (verse 15). What does it mean to you to “do well” (verse 12) on the Sabbath?
Matthew 12:22-50 Strong Doctrine (see also Mark 3:19-35; Luke 8:19-21; Luke 11:14-32)
- Read verses 22-29 and consider what Jesus taught about Satan and his followers (see also Luke 11:14-22).
- Note again that although the Pharisees opposed Jesus’s works (verse 24), “all the people were amazed” and declared Him to be the promised “son of David” (verse 23). Why do different people see different things?
- Read verse 30 and consider; in this context, what does it mean to you to be “with” Jesus?
- As Jesus continued to speak, how would you explain His challenge and counsel in verse 33?
- What do you think it means that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh? (verse 34; see also verse 37).
- Next is the issue of sign-seeking. Read verses 38-42 and see how Jesus turned their demand against them (see also Luke 11:29-32).
- Read verses 46-50. This is Jesus’s mother Mary, and her other sons who are seeking Jesus. Although some Bible readers consider this an insult on Jesus’s part, He is simply taking a moment to teach how all of us can be His “brother, and sister, and mother” (verse 50).
Luke 11:1-13 Prayer
In verses 1-4 Jesus responds to the request of one of His disciples to teach them to pray. (Even though there are similarities, this appears to be a different occasion from His teachings about prayer in Matthew 6:5-13.) After offering a sample prayer, Jesus took the opportunity to teach about Heavenly Father’s anxiousness to answer our prayers, by telling a story. Read this story in Luke 11:5-10. What do you learn about prayer? What else do you learn from verses 11-13?
Luke 11:37-54 He Rebukes and Reprehends
In these verses Jesus expressed strong words against evil attitudes and actions. How would you briefly summarize what Jesus said to the Pharisees and scribes (verses 37-44), and to the lawyers (verses 45-52). What points or principles do you see that we can apply in our lives today?