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Matthew 11

Jesus and John the Baptist
1After Jesus had finished teaching his 12 disciples, he went on to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.
2John the Baptist was in prison, and when he heard about what the Messiah was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is supposed to come? Or should we look for someone else?”
4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see. 5Those who are blind are receiving their sight, those who are disabled are walking, those with skin diseases are being made clean, those who are deaf are hearing, and the dead are being raised to life. And the good news is preached to those who are poor. 6Blessed is anyone who doesn’t give up their faith because of the way I do things.”
7As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. “What did you go out into the desert to see?” he asked. “Tall grass waving in the wind? No? 8Then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, people who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10John is the one written about in Scripture, where it says,
“ ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way for you.’
11Truly I tell you, no one greater than John the Baptist has ever been born in this world. But the one who’s least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is. 12From the time of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been under attack, and violent people have been raiding it. 13All the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John came. 14If you’re willing to accept it, John is the Elijah who was supposed to come. 15Whoever is able to understand should pay attention.
16“What can I compare this generation to? They’re like children sitting in the markets and calling out to their friends,
17“ ‘We played the flute for you,
but you didn’t dance.
We sang a funeral song,
but you didn’t become sad.’
18When John came, he didn’t eat or drink the way most people do, so you said, ‘He has a demon.’ 19But when the Son of Man came, he did eat and drink the way most people do, and you said, ‘He’s always eating and drinking too much. He’s a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ’ But wisdom is proved right by its own actions.”
Towns That Do Not Turn Away From Sin
20Jesus then began to speak against the towns where he’d done most of his miracles, because the people there hadn’t turned away from their sins. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin!” he said. “Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that I did in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have turned away from their sins long ago. They would have put on mourning clothes and sat down in ashes. 22But I tell you this, on judgment day it will be better for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23And what about you, Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to the heavens? No! You’ll go down to the place of the dead. If the miracles that I did in you had been done in Sodom, it would still be here today. 24I tell you, on judgment day it will be better for Sodom than for you.”
Rest for All Who Are Tired
25At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you’ve hidden these things from wise and educated people and shown them to little children. 26Yes, Father, you’ve done what you wanted to do.
27“My Father has given everything to me. No one knows the Son except the Father. No one knows the Father except the Son—and anyone the Son chooses to show the Father to.
28“Come to me, all you who are tired and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29Become my servants and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble, and you’ll find rest for your souls. 30My requirements are compassionate, and my load is light.”
John the Baptizer
1When Jesus finished placing this charge before his twelve disciples, he went on to teach and preach in their villages.
2-3John, meanwhile, had been locked up in prison. When he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?”
4-6Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on:
The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.
“Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!”
7-10When John’s disciples left to report, Jesus started talking to the crowd about John. “What did you expect when you went out to see him in the wild? A weekend camper? Hardly. What then? A sheik in silk pajamas? Not in the wilderness, not by a long shot. What then? A prophet? That’s right, a prophet! Probably the best prophet you’ll ever hear. He is the prophet that Malachi announced when he wrote, ‘I’m sending my prophet ahead of you, to make the road smooth for you.’
11-14“Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him. For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God’s kingdom. But if you read the books of the Prophets and God’s Law closely, you will see them culminate in John, teaming up with him in preparing the way for the Messiah of the kingdom. Looked at in this way, John is the ‘Elijah’ you’ve all been expecting to arrive and introduce the Messiah.
15“Are you listening to me? Really listening?
16-19“How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.’ John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
The Unforced Rhythms of Grace
20Next Jesus let fly on the cities where he had worked the hardest but whose people had responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going their own way.
21-24“Doom to you, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida! If Tyre and Sidon had seen half of the powerful miracles you have seen, they would have been on their knees in a minute. At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you. And Capernaum! With all your peacock strutting, you are going to end up in the abyss. If the people of Sodom had had your chances, the city would still be around. At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you.”
25-26Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”
27Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.
28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”