Verses 1-15 – Confirmation:
In the previous chapter Jesus sent out the apostles to teach and preach. John the Baptist at this time was in prison, probably put there because of what the Jews considered to be heretical teaching. But we know that John the Baptist was teaching others about the coming Savior Jesus Christ and that this was God’s truth, not heresy. When John hears about the works of Jesus while in prison, he is curious as to whether these acts are the ones of the Son of God that he had been proclaiming. So John sends messengers to Jesus to ask whether or not he is the Savior, or the Coming One. Jesus sends the messengers back to John with word of His miracles as evidence that Jesus was indeed the coming Savior.
Jesus then confirms to his followers the truth of what John the Baptist had been teaching. Jesus confirming that John the Baptist spoke truth serves to combat the belief that John was rightfully placed in prison. In fact, John the Baptist being in prison was persecution and an injustice. Jesus confirms John the Baptist and thus all of John’s teachings are justified and supported by the Son of God.
Verses 16-24 – Rejection:
The first part of this passage has Jesus explaining how John the Baptist and Jesus are being rejected. John was teaching the truth of Jesus’s coming and Jesus was teaching the truth of God’s kingdom, but their messages were rejected by the majority of those that heard them in the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida. Both John and Jesus were condemned and judged so that John was accused of having a demon and Jesus was accused of associating with sinners.
Adversely, Jesus condemns the condemners, likening them to children who do not listen because of their willful ignorance. Their consequences are to be great, just as it is for those today that do not heed the gospel call. Jesus calls us all to Him. If we ignore Him, we too will suffer great consequences.
Verses 25-30 – Rest:
In this final passage of the chapter, Jesus offers the solution of willful ignorance and the solution is to hear and seek Jesus Himself. In Jesus we can have true rest. This rest is not for our tired bodies but rather for our broken and striving spirits. When we humble ourselves to believe and follow Christ, the load of life gets easier because we can cast our cares and worries upon Jesus. This means that things we worry about can be given to Him; instead of spending mental energy worrying about the outcome of one thing or another, we simply can pray about it and trust that Jesus Christ, who is in God the Father will oversee the outcome for us.
The mystery of the relationship of God and Jesus is hinted at in this passage also. God and Jesus are one in another and everything Jesus says can be wholly trusted and believed because it was all given to Him by God.
Join me in trusting in Jesus’s strength. Jesus offers true peace. As long as we are willing to humble ourselves and follow Christ, our burden will be light.