Matthew 11

Jesus talks about John the Baptist

1 Jesus taught all these things to his 12 disciples. After he had finished, he went away from that place. He went to the towns near there to teach his message to people.

2 At that time, John the Baptist was in prison. But people told him about all the things that Jesus the Messiah was doing. So John sent some of his own disciples to ask Jesus some questions. 3 They said to him, ‘John the Baptist wants to know this: Are you the special person that God has promised to send to us? If not, should we still look for someone else?’

11:2John was alone in prison. He had trouble in his mind. He was thinking about Jesus. Everyone was waiting for God to send a special person. John had told everyone about that person. He thought that Jesus was that person. But now he was not sure. So he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus who he was.

4 Jesus replied, ‘Go back to John. Tell him what you have been hearing. Also, tell him what you have been seeing. 5 Blind people can now see again. People who could not walk can now walk again. People who had a bad disease of the skin are now well again. Deaf people can now hear again. People who had died now live again. Poor people are hearing God's good news. 6 If anyone believes in me and does not turn away, he will be really happy.’

7 John's disciples went away again. Jesus spoke to the crowd about John. He said to them, ‘You went out to the wilderness. What did you go there to see? Was it a tall piece of grass which the wind was blowing this way and that? No, you did not go to see that. 8 Did you go to see a man who was wearing expensive clothes? No! People like that do not live in the wilderness. They live in kings' great houses. 9 So what did you go to see? Did you go to see a prophet sent by God? Yes! But I tell you, John was even more important than a prophet. 10 This is what someone wrote about him a long time ago in the Bible. God said:

“Listen! I will send someone to go in front of you.

He will speak my message.

He will prepare a way for you.” ’

11:10See Malachi 3:1. John the Baptist was a very important man. He brought a message from God. He told all the people that Jesus was coming soon. God had promised that he would send a special person to save them.

11 Jesus then said, ‘I tell you this: John the Baptist is greater than any person who has ever lived until now. But now, anyone who belongs in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John. Even the least important of them is greater than he is. 12 From the time that John the Baptist began to teach until now, the kingdom of heaven is becoming very strong. Strong people are trying very much to attack it. 13 All the prophets and the books of the Law spoke God's message until the time that John the Baptist came. 14 The prophets wrote about Elijah. They said he would come again, to prepare for the Messiah. They were writing about John, and you should believe their message. 15 You have ears, so listen well to what I say!’

11:11The people who believed John's message about Jesus now knew God as their king. They are in the kingdom of God. This means that they are very important to God. They are all even more important than John was.

16 Jesus said, ‘I will talk to you about the people who are alive today. They are like children who are sitting in the market place. They are playing games and they shout to other children,

17 “We made happy music on a flute for you,

but you did not dance.

We sang a sad song but you did not cry.”

18 People today are like those children. John the Baptist did not eat ordinary food. He never drank wine. So people say that he has a bad spirit in him. 19 Then I, the Son of Man, came. I eat meals with other people and I drink wine. So people say about me, “Look at him! He eats too much and he drinks too much. He is a friend of bad people and men who take taxes from people.” God is wise. The good things that he does show that he is right.’

11:19John and Jesus were very different. But they both lived as God wanted them to live. The Pharisees thought about themselves as men who understood God's word. But they would not agree with either John or Jesus.

20 In some of the cities Jesus had done many powerful things. But some people in those cities did not want to stop doing wrong things. They did not want to change how they lived. So Jesus spoke against those people. 21 He said to them, ‘You people in Chorazin, it will be very bad for you! And it will be very bad for you, people in Bethsaida. I have done great and powerful things in your cities. If I had done such great things in Tyre and in Sidon, the people there would have changed how they lived. They would have shown they were sorry for their sins. They would have put on clothes made from goat's hair. They would also have put ashes on their heads. 22 Yes, when God judges everyone, he will punish the people from Tyre and Sidon. But he will punish much more you people from Chorazin and Bethsaida. 23 And what will happen to you people in Capernaum? You think that God will lift you up to heaven, do you? No! He will throw you down to Hades, the place for dead people. I did powerful things in your town. If I had done these powerful things in Sodom, it would still be there today. 24 I tell you this. When God judges everyone, he will punish the people from Sodom. But he will punish you people much more!’

11:24One day, God will punish those people who do wrong things. Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were towns and cities in Israel. The people in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had heard Jesus speak. But they did not believe him. The people in Sodom had never seen Jesus or heard his message. God will punish the people who refuse his message more than those who have not heard it.

25 At this moment, Jesus said, ‘Father, you rule over everything in heaven and on the earth! People who do not know many things can now understand your message. And so I thank you. But you have hidden these things from some other people. Those people think that they understand everything. They think that they are wise. 26 Yes, Father, this is how you wanted it to happen.

27 My Father has given me authority over all things. Only the Father really knows me, his Son. Only I really know my Father, because I am his Son. I also choose to tell some people about him. Then they also know him.

28 Come to me all of you who are tired. You are like people who have worked for a long time. You are like people who have carried heavy things. Come to me. If you do that, you will find a place to rest. 29 Do what I teach you to do. Listen to my message and learn from me what is true. I am very kind and I do not make myself important. I will help you. Then you will have peace in your mind. 30 I will not tell you to do things that are too difficult. I will not tell you to carry anything that is too heavy for you.’