Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
mat 11:1In their cities - The other cities of Israel.
mat 11:2He sent two of his disciples - Not because he doubted himself; but to confirm their faith. Luk 7:18.
mat 11:3He that is to come - The Messiah.
mat 11:4Go and tell John the things that ye hear and see - Which are a stronger proof of my being the Messiah, than any bare assertion can be.
mat 11:5The poor have the Gospel preached to them - The greatest mercy of all. Isa 29:18; Isa 35:5.
mat 11:6Happy is he who shall not be offended at me - Notwithstanding all these proofs that I am the Messiah.
mat 11:7As they departed, he said concerning John - Of whom probably he would not have said so much when they were present. A reed shaken by the wind? - No; nothing could ever shake John in the testimony he gave to the truth. The expression is proverbial.
mat 11:8A man clothed in soft, delicate raiment - An effeminate courtier, accustomed to fawning and flattery? You may expect to find persons of such a character in palaces; not in a wilderness.
mat 11:9More than a prophet - For the prophets only pointed me out afar off; but John was my immediate forerunner.
mat 11:10Mal 3:1.
mat 11:11But he that is least in the kingdom of heaven, is greater than he - Which an ancient author explains thus: - "One perfect in the law, as John was, is inferior to one who is baptized into the death of Christ. For this is the kingdom of heaven, even to be buried with Christ, and to be raised up together with him. John was greater than all who had been then born of women, but he was cut off before the kingdom of heaven was given." [He seems to mean, that righteousness, peace, and joy, which constitute the present inward kingdom of heaven.] "He was blameless as to that righteousness which is by the law; but he fell short of those who are perfected by the spirit of life which is in Christ. Whosoever, therefore, is least in the kingdom of heaven, by Christian regeneration, is greater than any who has attained only the righteousness of the law, because the law maketh nothing perfect." It may farther mean, the least true Christian believer has a more perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ, of his redemption and kingdom, than John the Baptist had, who died before the full manifestation of the Gospel.
mat 11:12And from the days of John - That is, from the time that John had fulfilled his ministry, men rush into my kingdom with a violence like that of those who are taking a city by storm.
mat 11:13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John - For all that is written in the law and the prophets only foretold as distant what is now fulfilled. In John the old dispensation expired, and the new began. Luk 16:16.
mat 11:14Mal 4:5.
mat 11:15He that hath ears to hear, let him hear - A kind of proverbial expression; requiring the deepest attention to what is spoken.
mat 11:16This generation - That is, the men of this age. They are like those froward children of whom their fellows complain, that they will be pleased no way.
mat 11:18John came neither eating nor drinking - In a rigorous austere way, like Elijah. And they say, He hath a devil - Is melancholy, from the influence of an evil spirit.
mat 11:19The Son of man came eating and drinking - Conversing in a free, familiar way. Wisdom is justified by her children - That is, my wisdom herein is acknowledged by those who are truly wise.
mat 11:20Then began he to upbraid the cities - It is observable he had never upbraided them before. Indeed at first they received him with all gladness, Capernaum in particular.
mat 11:21Wo to thee, Chorazin - That is, miserable art thou. For these are not curses or imprecations, as has been commonly supposed; but a solemn, compassionate declaration of the misery they were bringing on themselves. Chorazin and Bethsaida were cities of Galilee, standing by the lake Gennesareth. Tyre and Sidon were cities of Phenicia, lying on the sea shore. The inhabitants of them were heathens. Luk 10:13.
mat 11:22Moreover I say unto you - Beside the general denunciation of wo to those stubborn unbelievers, the degree of their misery will be greater than even that of Tyre and Sidon, yea, of Sodom.
mat 11:23Thou Capernaum, who hast been exalted to heaven - That is, highly honoured by my presence and miracles.
mat 11:24Moreover I say unto you - Beside the general denunciation of wo to those stubborn unbelievers, the degree of their misery will be greater than even that of Tyre and Sidon, yea, of Sodom.
mat 11:25Jesus answering - This word does not always imply, that something had been spoken, to which an answer is now made. It often means no more than the speaking in reference to some action or circumstance preceding. The following words Christ speaks in reference to the case of the cities above mentioned: I thank thee - That is, I acknowledge and joyfully adore the justice and mercy of thy dispensations: Because thou hast hid - That is, because thou hast suffered these things to be hid from men, who are in other respects wise and prudent, while thou hast discovered them to those of the weakest understanding, to them who are only wise to Godward. Luk 10:21.
mat 11:27All things are delivered to me - Our Lord, here addressing himself to his disciples, shows why men, wise in other things, do not know this: namely, because none can know it by natural reason: none but those to whom he revealeth it.
mat 11:28Come to me - Here he shows to whom he is pleased to reveal these things to the weary and heavy laden; ye that labour - After rest in God: and are heavy laden - With the guilt and power of sin: and I will give you rest - I alone (for none else can) will freely give you (what ye cannot purchase) rest from the guilt of sin by justification, and from the power of sin by sanctification.
mat 11:29Take my yoke upon you - Believe in me: receive me as your prophet, priest, and king. For I am meek and lowly in heart - Meek toward all men, lowly toward God: and ye shall find rest - Whoever therefore does not find rest of soul, is not meek and lowly. The fault is not in the yoke of Christ: but in thee, who hast not taken it upon thee. Nor is it possible for any one to be discontented, but through want of meekness or lowliness.
mat 11:30For my yoke is easy - Or rather gracious, sweet, benign, delightful: and my burden - Contrary to those of men, is ease, liberty, and honour.