Matthew 11

* Christ's preaching. (1) Christ's answer to John's disciples.

(2-6) Christ's testimony to John the Baptist. (7-15) The

perverseness of the Jews. (16-24) The gospel revealed to the

simple. The heavy-laden invited. (25-30)

1 Our Divine Redeemer never was weary of his labour of love;

and we should not be weary of well-doing, for in due season we

shall reap, if we faint not.
2-6 Some think that John sent this inquiry for his own

satisfaction. Where there is true faith, yet there may be a

mixture of unbelief. The remaining unbelief of good men may

sometimes, in an hour of temptation; call in question the most

important truths. But we hope that John's faith did not fail in

this matter, and that he only desired to have it strengthened

and confirmed. Others think that John sent his disciples to

Christ for their satisfaction. Christ points them to what they

heard and saw. Christ's gracious condescensions and compassions

to the poor, show that it was he that should bring to the world

the tender mercies of our God. Those things which men see and

hear, if compared with the Scriptures, direct in what way

salvation is to be found. It is difficult to conquer prejudices,

and dangerous not to conquer them; but those who believe in

Christ, their faith will be found so much the more to praise,

and honour, and glory.
7-15 What Christ said concerning John, was not only for his

praise, but for the people's profit. Those who attend on the

word will be called to give an account of their improvements. Do

we think when the sermon is done, the care is over? No, then the

greatest of the care begins. John was a self-denying man, dead

to all the pomps of the world and the pleasures of sense. It

becomes people, in all their appearances, to be consistent with

their character and their situation. John was a great and good

man, yet not perfect; therefore he came short of glorified

saints. The least in heaven knows more, loves more, and does

more in praising God, and receives more from him, than the

greatest in this world. But by the kingdom of heaven here, is

rather to be understood the kingdom of grace, the gospel

dispensation in its power and purity. What reason we have to be

thankful that our lot is cast in the days of the kingdom of

heaven, under such advantages of light and love! Multitudes were

wrought upon by the ministry of John, and became his disciples.

And those strove for a place in this kingdom, that one would

think had no right nor title to it, and so seemed to be

intruders. It shows us what fervency and zeal are required of

all. Self must be denied; the bent, the frame and temper of the

mind must be altered. Those who will have an interest in the

great salvation, will have it upon any terms, and not think them

hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing. The things of God

are of great and common concern. God requires no more from us

than the right use of the faculties he has given us. People are

ignorant, because they will not learn.
16-24 Christ reflects on the scribes and Pharisees, who had a

proud conceit of themselves. He likens their behaviour to

children's play, who being out of temper without reason, quarrel

with all the attempts of their fellows to please them, or to get

them to join in the plays for which they used to assemble. The

cavils of worldly men are often very trifling and show great

malice. Something they have to urge against every one, however

excellent and holy. Christ, who was undefiled, and separate from

sinners, is here represented as in league with them, and

polluted by them. The most unspotted innocence will not always

be a defence against reproach. Christ knew that the hearts of

the Jews were more bitter and hardened against his miracles and

doctrines, than those of Tyre and Sidon would have been;

therefore their condemnation would be the greater. The Lord

exercises his almighty power, yet he punishes none more than

they deserve, and never withholds the knowledge of the truth

from those who long after it.
25-30 It becomes children to be grateful. When we come to God

as a Father, we must remember that he is Lord of heaven and

earth, which obliges us to come to him with reverence as to the

sovereign Lord of all; yet with confidence, as one able to

defend us from evil, and to supply us with all good. Our blessed

Lord added a remarkable declaration, that the Father had

delivered into his hands all power, authority, and judgment. We

are indebted to Christ for all the revelation we have of God the

Father's will and love, ever since Adam sinned. Our Saviour has

invited all that labour and are heavy-laden, to come unto him.

In some senses all men are so. Worldly men burden themselves

with fruitless cares for wealth and honours; the gay and the

sensual labour in pursuit of pleasures; the slave of Satan and

his own lusts, is the merest drudge on earth. Those who labour

to establish their own righteousness also labour in vain. The

convinced sinner is heavy-laden with guilt and terror; and the

tempted and afflicted believer has labours and burdens. Christ

invites all to come to him for rest to their souls. He alone

gives this invitation; men come to him, when, feeling their

guilt and misery, and believing his love and power to help, they

seek him in fervent prayer. Thus it is the duty and interest of

weary and heavy-laden sinners, to come to Jesus Christ. This is

the gospel call; Whoever will, let him come. All who thus come

will receive rest as Christ's gift, and obtain peace and comfort

in their hearts. But in coming to him they must take his yoke,

and submit to his authority. They must learn of him all things,

as to their comfort and obedience. He accepts the willing

servant, however imperfect the services. Here we may find rest

for our souls, and here only. Nor need we fear his yoke. His

commandments are holy, just, and good. It requires self-denial,

and exposes to difficulties, but this is abundantly repaid, even

in this world, by inward peace and joy. It is a yoke that is

lined with love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so

suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to

be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke

of pleasantness. The way of duty is the way of rest. The truths

Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon. Such

is the Redeemer's mercy; and why should the labouring and

burdened sinner seek for rest from any other quarter? Let us

come to him daily, for deliverance from wrath and guilt, from

sin and Satan, from all our cares, fears, and sorrows. But

forced obedience, far from being easy and light, is a heavy

burden. In vain do we draw near to Jesus with our lips, while

the heart is far from him. Then come to Jesus to find rest for

your souls.
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