Matthew 10 -- 11
John the Baptist proclaimed the need to repent of sin and be baptized in preparation for the long-awaited Messiah. All eyes were upon Jesus the day He approached John, who declared: Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Later Jesus commended John saying that he was more than a prophet. . . . There has not risen one greater than John the Baptist, but he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:9,11-12).
All the prophets of God were fearless in proclaiming His Word, but Jesus said that John was the greatest because he was chosen to introduce the Messiah. Other prophets had only foretold His coming.
After giving John such high praise, it might seem surprising that Jesus would say: But he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. The least in the Kingdom is greater because they know Jesus as their personal Savior. John could only preach repentance and point out the Messiah, but he knew nothing personally about the joys of redemption because Jesus had not yet died on the cross to redeem us from sin. Such knowledge means that we have a much greater responsibility to live a godly life.
But the religious leaders refused to repent of their sins and be baptized as John preached, nor would they submit to Jesus as their Messiah. Jesus said they were like children sitting in the markets, and calling to their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and you have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and you have not lamented (11:16-17). Like undisciplined children who are never satisfied, they made up their minds not to cooperate and not to be pleased. The Heavenly Father had sent John to them, but they said of him, he has a devil (11:18). And they said of Jesus: Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, and a friend of publicans and sinners (11:19).
You can be sure that the worldly-minded today hate the godly and will do all they can to suggest evil motives, misrepresent their conduct, and smear the character of the very best of men, even of Jesus. Like children in the marketplace who would not respond to John or Jesus, the self-righteous will always find something wrong with all preachers and churches, saying: The members are hypocrites, the deacons are unfriendly, and the preachers are uninteresting. Consequently, they try to clear their consciences to use the Lords Day to satisfy their own personal desires. Like children sitting in the marketplace, these people are proud hypocrites.
Our primary responsibility is not to succumb to pressure from a seductive and hostile world, but to regularly meet together to worship our Lord: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins . . . It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:25-26,31).
For Matthew 10:11, 35-36: See Mic. 7:6. Matt. 11:5: See Isa. 35:5; 61:1. Matt. 11:10: See Mal. 3:1. Matt. 11:23: See Ezek. 26:20; 31:14; 32:18,24. Matt. 11:29: See Jer. 6:16.
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