A Few Thoughts From: Matthew 11

How could John the Baptist recognize that he needed to be baptized by the One coming to him, and how could he not take note that the One he baptized was the Son of God, and how could he declare Him to his disciples as the Lamb of God, and then begin to show doubt on the occasion here in 11:2-3? Because he was human and his ideas may not have corresponded exactly with what the Lord did. If this is the case, there is nothing that is out-of-sort about that, is there? Did not Peter walk with the Lord, declare Him to be the One sent from God, and then rebuke the Lord because the Lord told him that He must go to Jerusalem (16:21-23)? Surely, it is the same man. This goes to show that we all have a point of reference from which we make our judgments, and many times that point of reference is misguided.

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The kingdom of God taken by force? John was not in the kingdom of which Jesus spoke (11:11), and from his days until now some were trying to take the kingdom by force (11:12). This is the only reference in the gospels, but something close is in Luke 16:16. Jesus gives us a point of reference, bookends of a time frame. From the time of John until now; not much time is involved here. How to interpret the verse (phrase) is interesting: the NET reads, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and forceful people lay hold of it.” When we read it this way we learn the kingdom of heaven is present already, but if that is so, how can the least be greater than John the Baptist (11:11) – was he not in the kingdom of heaven? What is likely in view, in my estimation, is that the kingdom of heaven under the old economy has indeed suffered much violence, and this is the point of reference that all who lived had (at that time) when they thought about what both John and Jesus were saying regarding the coming kingdom. Yet the Lord spoke something about the kingdom in His sermon (on the mount) that was much different than what was observed. So, perhaps, with much violence Satan uses his minions to thwart God’s plan (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11; Revelation 12).

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