Tag Archive | John the Baptist

Matthew 11:13-14 – Matthew Henry & a verse in Daniel

Still contemplating Matthew 11:13-14.

Matthew 11:13-14 (ESV)

13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John,

14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.

Here is some more food for thought.

The ministry of John was the beginning of the gospel, as it is reckoned, Mk. 1:1; Acts 1:22. This is shown here in two things:[1.] In John the Old Testament dispensation began to die, v. 13. So long that ministration continued in full force and virtue, but then it began to decline. Though the obligation of the law of Moses was not removed till Christ’s death, yet the discoveries of the Old Testament began to be superseded by the more clear manifestation of the kingdom of heaven as at hand. Because the light of the gospel (as that of nature) was to precede and make way for its law, therefore the prophecies of the Old Testament came to an end (finis perficiens, not interficiens—an end of completion, not of duration ), before the precepts of it; so that when Christ says, all the prophets and the law prophesied until John, he shows us, First, How the light of the Old Testament was set up; it was set up in the law and the prophets, who spoke, though darkly, of Christ and his kingdom. Observe, The law is said to prophesy, as well as the prophets, concerning him that was to come. Christ began at Moses (Lu. 24:27); Christ was foretold by the dumb signs of the Mosaic work, as well as by the more articulate voices of the prophets, and was exhibited, not only in the verbal predictions, but in the personal and real types. Blessed be God that we have both the New-Testament doctrine to explain the Old-Testament prophecies, and the Old-Testament prophecies to confirm and illustrate the New-Testament doctrine (Heb. 1:1); like the two cherubim, they look at each other. The law was given by Moses long ago, and there had been no prophets for three hundred years before John, and yet they are both said to prophecy until John, because the law was still observed, and Moses and the prophets still read. Note, The scripture is teaching to this day, though the penmen of it are gone. Moses and the prophets are dead; the apostles and evangelists are dead (Zec. 1:5), but the word of the Lord endures for ever (1 Pt. 1:25); the scripture is speaking expressly, though the writers are silent in the dust. Secondly, How this light was laid aside: when he says, they prophesied until John, he intimates, that their glory was eclipsed by the glory which excelled; their predictions superseded by John’s testimony, Behold the Lamb of God! Even before the sun rises, the morning light makes candles to shine dim. Their prophecies of a Christ to come became out of date, when John said, He is come. [2.] In him the New-Testament day began to dawn; for (v. 14) This is Elias, that was for to come. John was as the loop that coupled the two Testaments; as Noah was Fibula utriusque mundi—the link connecting both worlds, so was he utriusque Testamenti—the link connecting both Testaments. The concluding prophecy of the Old Testament was, Behold, I will send you Elijah, Mal. 4:5, 6. Those words prophesied until John, and then, being turned into a history, they ceased to prophecy.


Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary: Matthew 11

Does this verse also apply to the verse in Matthew 11:13?

Daniel 9:24  (ESV) “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.


Least In The Kingdom

While looking at Matthew 11:11, I decided to see where else the phrase “least in the Kingdom” was used.  We saw previously it’s use in Matthew 5:19.

Matthew 5:19 (ESV) Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Then again in Matthew 11:11.

Matthew 11:11 (ESV) Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

And in Luke 7:28.

Luke 7:28 (ESV) I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Obviously the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are the same.  But the big question is, is the Kingdom now?  Later? or both.

I like Martyn Lloyd Jones‘ explanation about the Kingdom:

It has come; it is coming; it is to come. It was here when He was exercising authority; it is here in us now; and yet it is to come.

So why was the least in the Kingdom greater than John the Baptist?

My best understanding is that while John the Baptist was the forerunner and proclaimed Christ to the Jewish Nation, he did not live to see the completion of Christ’s work.  John the Baptist may not have even understood the full manner in which Christ was to fulfill the prophecy, just like the disciples didn’t until after the resurrection.  Yet, the disciples of Jesus and maybe even some of John the Baptist’s disciples were able to see the death burial and resurrection of the Lord.  Not until then did they really understand. (Ma shared the following verse which I had forgotten.)

Luke 18:31-34 (ESV)

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.
For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.
And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

We have a better knowledge, a clearer hope and a Messiah who said “It is Finished.”  We get to live in the completed portion.  John the Baptist began the foundation, but he didn’t live to see the completion of Christ’s work.

We can proclaim the full and complete Gospel to everyone of every race and nationality.  John the Baptist was just giving the advance notice; we have the full Good News.  Even the youngest, weakest believer has what John the Baptist was looking forward to.

John the Baptist proclaimed “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)  It was at hand for him.

We can proclaim the Kingdom (Acts 28:31) in boldness because it cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28) and testify (Acts 28:23) that it is here.

Just think of what we have revealed to us in the NT, which John the Baptist didn’t have.


Matthew 11:11 to Ponder

This is a passage that has always caused me to paused and think “What does this mean?”

Matthew 11:11 (ESV) Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

This seems so odd.

Do you know what this is speaking of?

I have my thoughts, but commentaries differ.


Suffer It So For Now

I jumped ahead of myself when I went on to the Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  So lets go back a few chapters to see what else Jesus has to say.

Matthew 3:13-17 (KJV)
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV)
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Notice Christ Jesus tells John the Baptist to suffer it to be so for now to fulfill all righteousness.  See Jesus did things during His time on earth that were not necessary for Him to do,  just to do what was expected.  Jesus had no need of baptism for the repentance of sin.

Because John was saying “I baptize you with water for repentance,…” (Matthew 3:11)

If there is no sin, why must Jesus be baptized?  John tries to talk Jesus out of baptism, because Jesus was not a sinner.

To fulfill all righteousness.

Notice also that Jesus was baptized by a sinner.  This is a rebuke to those who feel that unless you are baptized by the “right” individual your baptism doesn’t count. 

Also contrary to some false teachings Jesus did not become God upon being baptized but His baptism was in order to fulfill the righteous requirements, despite the fact that Jesus did not need baptism.

Notice that in Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist admits that his Baptism is a picture of a mightier Baptism still to come with Fire and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:11 (ESV) “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

But even so Jesus says to suffer it to be so for now until He has fulfilled all righteousness.  But after the resurrection the mightier Baptism was received.

Acts 11:15-16 (ESV)
15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.
16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

Acts 2:3 (ESV) And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.

But Jesus was numbered with the sinners, identified with them in every step.

Isaiah 53:12 (ESV) Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Not only that but He became sin for us and humbled Himself unto the cross.

Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV)
5  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 
6  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,  being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

Christ gave up much in order to do what He must do to fulfill all righteousness.   Even being bound by the laws of the physical flesh, the Law of Moses, submission to the Pharisees and the Roman government.