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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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When Jesus finished giving these commands to
his twelve disciples, 1 he went away from that place to
teach and to preach in their towns.
2 When John heard in prison 3
of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him
4 with this question, "Are you the one who
is to come, or should we look for another?"
Jesus said to them in reply, "Go and tell
John what you hear and see:
5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the
good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at
6 As they were going off, Jesus began to speak
to the crowds about John, "What did you go out to the desert to see? A
reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see? Someone
dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? 7
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
'Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before
Amen, I say to you, among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom
of heaven is greater than he. 8
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, 9 and the violent
are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law 10
prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it, he is
Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.
"To what shall I compare this generation? 11
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
'We played the flute for you, but you did not
dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.'
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and
they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.'
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and
they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors
and sinners.' But wisdom is vindicated by her works."
Then he began to reproach the towns where most
of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you,
Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and
Sidon, 12 they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for
Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum: 'Will you be exalted
to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.' 13 For if
the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have
remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for
the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
At that time Jesus said in reply, 14
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you
have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them
to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my
Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father
except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
15 "Come to me, all you who labor and are
burdened, 16 and I will give you rest.
17 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I
am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
1  The closing formula of the
discourse refers back to the original addressees, the Twelve.
[⇒ 11:2-⇒ 12:50] The
narrative section of the third book deals with the growing opposition to Jesus.
It is largely devoted to disputes and attacks relating to faith and
discipleship and thus contains much sayings-material, drawn in large part from
3  In prison: see
⇒ Matthew 4:12;
⇒ 14:1-12. The works of the Messiah: the deeds of
4  The question probably expresses
a doubt of the Baptist that Jesus is the one who is to come (cf
⇒ Malachi 3:1) because his mission has not been one
of fiery judgment as John had expected (⇒ Matthew
5 [5-6] Jesus' response is taken from
passages of Isaiah (⇒ Isaiah 26:19;
⇒ 29:18-19; ⇒ 35:5-6;
⇒ 61:1) that picture the time of salvation as marked
by deeds such as those that Jesus is doing. The beatitude is a warning to the
Baptist not to disbelieve because his expectations have not been met.
6 [7-19] Jesus' rebuke of John is
counterbalanced by a reminder of the greatness of the Baptist's function
(⇒ Matthew 11:7-15) that is followed by a complaint
about those who have heeded neither John nor Jesus (⇒ Matthew
7 [9-10] In common Jewish belief
there had been no prophecy in Israel since the last of the Old Testament
prophets, Malachi. The coming of a new prophet was eagerly awaited, and Jesus
agrees that John was such. Yet he was more than a prophet, for he was the
precursor of the one who would bring in the new and final age. The Old
Testament quotation is a combination of ⇒ Malachi
3:1; ⇒ Exodus 23:20 with the significant
change that the before me of Malachi becomes before you. The messenger now
precedes not God, as in the original, but Jesus.
8  John's preeminent greatness
lies in his function of announcing the imminence of the kingdom
(⇒ Matthew 3:1). But to be in the kingdom is so great
a privilege that the least who has it is greater than the Baptist.
9  The meaning of this difficult
saying is probably that the opponents of Jesus are trying to prevent people
from accepting the kingdom and to snatch it away from those who have received
10  All the prophets and the law:
Matthew inverts the usual order, "law and prophets," and says that
both have prophesied. This emphasis on the prophetic character of the law
points to its fulfillment in the teaching of Jesus and to the transitory nature
of some of its commandments (see the note on ⇒ Matthew
11 [16-19] See ⇒ Luke
7:31-35. The meaning of the parable (⇒ Matthew
11:16-17) and its explanation (⇒ Matthew
11:18-19b) is much disputed. A plausible view is that the children of
the parable are two groups, one of which proposes different entertainments to
the other that will not agree with either proposal. The first represents John,
Jesus, and their disciples; the second those who reject John for his asceticism
and Jesus for his table association with those despised by the religiously
observant. ⇒ Matthew 11:19c (her works) forms an
inclusion with ⇒ Matthew 11:2 ("the works of
the Messiah"). The original form of the saying is better preserved in ⇒ Luke
7:35 ". . . wisdom is vindicated by all her children."
There John and Jesus are the children of Wisdom; here the works of Jesus the
Messiah are those of divine Wisdom, of which he is the embodiment. Some
important textual witnesses, however, have essentially the same reading as in
12  Tyre and Sidon were pagan
cities denounced for their wickedness in the Old Testament; cf
⇒ Joel 3:4-7.
13  Capernaum's pride and punishment
are described in language taken from the taunt song against the king of Babylon
(⇒ Isaiah 14:13-15).
14 [25-27] This Q saying, identical
with ⇒ Luke 10:21-22 except for minor variations,
introduces a joyous note into this section, so dominated by the theme of
unbelief. While the wise and the learned, the scribes and Pharisees, have
rejected Jesus' preaching and the significance of his mighty deeds, the
childlike have accepted them. Acceptance depends upon the Father's revelation,
but this is granted to those who are open to receive it and refused to the
arrogant. Jesus can speak of all mysteries because he is the Son and there is
perfect reciprocity of knowledge between him and the Father; what has been
handed over to him is revealed only to those whom he wishes.
15 [28-29] These verses are peculiar
to Matthew and are similar to Ben Sirach's invitation to learn wisdom and
submit to her yoke (⇒ Sirach 51:23,
16  Who labor and are burdened:
burdened by the law as expounded by the scribes and Pharisees
(⇒ Matthew 23:4).
17  In place of the yoke of the law,
complicated by scribal interpretation, Jesus invites the burdened to take the
yoke of obedience to his word, under which they will find rest; cf
⇒ Jeremiah 6:16.
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