MATTHEW 11
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3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

It cannot be that John actually doubted that Jesus was the Messiah. This, he himself, on the direct evidence and testimony of God, had established. But he was perplexed. He sought assurance and reaffirmation.

It was a supreme test and trial for John to be confined to a dungeon while Jesus, whom he had announced as the Son of God and the long-promised Messiah, went about the country teaching, with no message for John, no hint of recognition of his plight, no explanation, no indication of what John could expect.

We are so strikingly reminded of Elijah himself when, after his so courageous stand on Mount Carmel, he fled in disappointment and despair before Jezebel.

John did not lose faith, but he seemed to lose heart and hope. The weak human flesh was spiritually exhausted by the long intensity of the struggle. John was mortal. He needed to be strengthened and comforted, and reminded of the glorious and unchanging realities.

In this perplexed appeal of John from the dark dungeon to the one whom he had joyfully and courageously hailed as the long-awaited Messiah, we feel a closer fellow-feeling with John than in any other part of his life. He was truly one of us, though he looms so great in the purpose. He struggled against the same mortal frailty, and out of weakness was made strong. Like Job, he could not understand and he agonized for an explanation of a seeming contradiction.

Jesus did not give him any explanation. He did not even answer his question. John must, like Job, endure his unexplained testing in faith unto the end.



4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:

It cannot be that John actually doubted that Jesus was the Messiah. This, he himself, on the direct evidence and testimony of God, had established. But he was perplexed. He sought assurance and reaffirmation.

It was a supreme test and trial for John to be confined to a dungeon while Jesus, whom he had announced as the Son of God and the long-promised Messiah, went about the country teaching, with no message for John, no hint of recognition of his plight, no explanation, no indication of what John could expect.

We are so strikingly reminded of Elijah himself when, after his so courageous stand on Mount Carmel, he fled in disappointment and despair before Jezebel.

John did not lose faith, but he seemed to lose heart and hope. The weak human flesh was spiritually exhausted by the long intensity of the struggle. John was mortal. He needed to be strengthened and comforted, and reminded of the glorious and unchanging realities.

In this perplexed appeal of John from the dark dungeon to the one whom he had joyfully and courageously hailed as the long-awaited Messiah, we feel a closer fellow-feeling with John than in any other part of his life. He was truly one of us, though he looms so great in the purpose. He struggled against the same mortal frailty, and out of weakness was made strong. Like Job, he could not understand and he agonized for an explanation of a seeming contradiction.

Jesus did not give him any explanation. He did not even answer his question. John must, like Job, endure his unexplained testing in faith unto the end.

...The wisdom of Christ's reply lay in the fact that John's real need was not an explanation, but the realization that true blessedness consists in a faith that will joyfully and thankfully hold fast through anything, without explanation.

Bro Growcott - He Must Increase: I Must Decrease



14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

Elijah truly comes at the end, before the great day of Christ's manifestation to Israel, but there had to be an Elijah for the first coming, for the first coming was a real and true offering to the Jews of the Messiah and the kingdom.

God knew that Israel would reject Christ, and that this would not be the day of his glory to which the coming of the literal Elijah was related. It was so foreseen and foretold, and in the wisdom of God the working out of the plan of redemption depended on Christ's rejection.

But, still in the offering of Jesus to them, the promise of the forerunner must be fulfilled, to carry out God's part and to remove any justification of their rejection --

"This (John) is Elias, IF YE WILL RECEIVE IT" (Matt. 11:14).

If they had accepted Christ, John would have been the complete fulfilment of the Elijah prophecy, but God knew it was not to be.

John was sent to prepare the nation -- to raise the national expectancy -- to focus attention on the manifestation of Christ.

This was the principal purpose of his baptism. It was a transitional, introductory appointment, to lead to Christ, to prepare for Christ, and to provide the avenue by which Christ should be manifested.

It was a typical, national purification, because for three years God was going to manifest Himself intimately among them in His only begotten Son.

Bro Growcott - He Must Increase: I Must Decrease



15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Let us not ask for evidence of the truth if we have made up our minds not to receive it.‭ "‬I can't see it‭" ‬is,‭ ‬alas,‭ ‬too often the outcome of‭ "‬I don't want to see it.‭" ‬It was this perversity that moved Christ to sometimes exclaim‭ "‬O ye hypocrites.‭" ‬True,‭ ‬some cannot see,‭ ‬though the evidence be ever so glaring.‭ ‬This is the effect of the long,‭ ‬insidious,‭ ‬and powerful working of sin.‭

There is a consolation in the matter-God is just,‭ ‬and He will not subject helpless brute beasts to the terrors of the resurrection condemnation.‭ ‬But let all doubters and denyers question themselves.‭ ‬Let them take themselves into some quiet nook and examine and cross-examine their hearts and minds.‭ ‬Again,‭ ‬let us not pose as truth seekers-as searchers after evidence-if we are wilfully shutting our eyes to all directions from which evidence can come,‭ ‬except the one which is congenial to our taste.‭

To trifle with truth,‭ ‬and the Author of it,‭ ‬in this way is a serious thing.‭ ‬Truth seekers must not go to Timbuctoo for evidence,‭ ‬when they know that the counsel of God lies elsewhere.‭ ‬Neither must they stipulate for smooth things,‭ ‬if they wish to hear the voice of God.‭ ‬Pet ideas must be slaughtered if God require it‭!

Bible truth has been given,‭ ‬not to confirm us in our natural ways and thoughts,‭ ‬but contrariwise,‭ ‬to correct and reform them.‭ ‬Willingness to submit to this operation is the principal secret in reaching the truth.

Bro AT Jannaway

TC 02/1899


25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 

From this it would seem that the inhabitants of these places were what in our day would be considered "knowing ones" -- people considered and considering each other the intelligence and respectability of their several neighbourhoods: "the wise and prudent," the discerning and the not rash, not fanatical -- the proper and not impulsive -- not carried away with the enthusiasm of simpletons and babies. Jesus, taking them at their own estimate, thanks God that the things which he had in hand were "hid from" them, and revealed to a class whom they despised as mere "babes."

Did Jesus disparage capacity, then? and glorify incompetence and shallowness and ignorance and craze? Far from it. He is himself to be taken as the perfect type of the class he means by "babes." Let us look at him, and we see them. Was he dull? Was he shallow? Was he ignorant? On the contrary, who so "sharp as a two-edged sword, piercing asunder to the dividing of soul and spirit?" Who so quick witted and profound? Who so ample in his knowledge of all things -- great and small -- and yet so adroit and subtle in question and answer that his enemies were at last afraid to ask him any more questions?

In what, then, did he show himself one of the babes as distinguished from the wise and prudent? This point deserves and demands clear, strong, and decisive apprehension -- the failure in which is the failure to discern Christ and his little ones of all ages. The difference between him and his clever enemies lay in the object to which his unparalelled intellectual powers were directed. What did he love? At what did he labour? To what taste, or theme, or aim did he consecrate his life? Was there ever his like for deep and constant fervour towards God? Was there ever his like for burning zeal on behalf of what God required? Was there ever his like for detestation and condemnation of what God disapproved?

Look at his enemies of that age and this, and see the difference between them and him. Clever they may be, but clever to what end? Not to promote divine ends, but human ends always and only. "I know you," said Christ, "that ye have not the love of God in you." This is their character in all generations -- "wise and prudent" in human expediencies, but not in those ends and aims that constitute true wisdom and true prudence -- wise to serve themselves, but not to serve God; prudent to avoid temporal dangers, but not those connected with the purpose of God; sagacious and diligent in all things likely to bring human honour and human gain, but as absolutely insensible to the will and the honour and the purpose of God as if God had no existence. And because this is a wisdom and a prudence that all men appreciate, all men applaud their successful exercise.

Nazareth Revisited - After His Discourse to the Twelve



Christ's life mission was to provide a way of life and to teach men to walk in it. In this chapter we find the Great Teacher propounding a fundamental lesson with a graphic, unforgettable illustration. He came to teach Truth to a world which had, in the unbounded confidence of its ignorance, developed for itself an intricate and highly plausible system of philosophic self-deception.

This system, even in Christ's day, was already venerable with age. In fact, we find it in full bloom ten centuries earlier at the time that David lived and wrote, as his 49th Psalm clearly shows. Its keynote is found in v. 18 of that Psalm, "Men will praise thee when thou doest well to thyself."

This has been man's watchword from the childhood of the race. If a man spends his time benefiting himself, building up wealth and power and prestige, he will be honored and flattered and fawned upon. The same banner of glorious self­ishness still waves in unchallenged supremacy today.

So ingrained by centuries of repetition and habit is this principle of predominant self-consideration that it is often unquestioningly taken for granted as a basis of interpreting Christ's teaching, even among the brotherhood.

Bro Growcott - As Little Children



29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Rest unto your souls.

God said to Israel,‭ ‬in reference to their efforts to keep up style to please the neighbouring nations,

‭ "‬Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way.‭"

So it may be said to the world in general,‭ ‬that it is weary in the emptiness of its way.‭ ‬It knows nothing of the sweet restfulness that belongs to Christ.‭ ‬Rest naturally belongs to his ways.‭ "‬Learn of me,‭" ‬says he,‭ "‬for I am meek and lowly of heart:‭ ‬and ye shall find rest unto your souls.‭"

There is a‭ "‬rest that remaineth for the people of God‭"-‬a rest that will,‭ ‬as Isaiah says of Christ's rest,‭ "‬be glorious in that day‭"; ‬but this is not the rest of which Christ here speaks.‭ ‬He is speaking of a present rest,‭ ‬which he otherwise speaks of as‭ "‬my peace‭"-‬a peace,‭ ‬he says,‭ ‬which the world cannot give:‭ ‬a peace which Paul speaks of as‭ "‬the peace of God that passeth all understanding,‭ ‬filling the heart and mind.‭"

‭"‬Let the peace of God dwell in your hearts,‭ ‬and be ye thankful.‭"

‭ TC Aug 1894. p296-297