Matthew 11:4

What is most remarkable about this question is that it was put by John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. Let us look at the doubt in relation to the prophet who felt it.

I. THE SUBJECT OF THE DOUBT. This was most fundamental. Was Jesus the Christ or not? No doubt can be more serious than this. There are many questions which cannot be answered, and people are not to be called sceptics because they do not see all truth. It is impossible to think on the great problems of existence without the most perplexing surmises, and yet while all these unsettled ideas may pass through the mind, it is still possible for faith to be fixed on a rock with a deep conviction of God, and a calm trust in Christ. But we must be clear and decided on these two points - not theoretically, but practically. We cannot understand the Trinity, and we may be quite unable to comprehend the Incarnation. Still, it is of vital importance to know whether indeed Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world, whether we can come to God through him and trust him as our eternal Redeemer.

II. THE RECEPTION OF THE DOUBT. A doubt as to the end of his work is in the mind of the Baptist. Had he made a mistake in pointing to Christ? Consider this man who entertains such a thought.

1. A prophet. Inspiration does not prevent personal weakness. Advanced knowledge will not secure us against the invasions of doubt. An apostle was a doubter (John 20:25).

2. A good man. John the Baptist was no deceiver of the people. His heart was right with God. Yet he doubted. Doubt is not sinful in itself. 3..A privileged man. John had known Christ, had baptized him. Yet he doubted. It is not enough to know Christ after the flesh.

4. A religious leader. It is possible for a great religious teacher to be in error. Does the pope ever have a doubt? Certainly it is foolish for preachers to assume infallibility. Sympathy with doubters by confession of difficulties would be a tie of union between teacher and learner. Yet the pulpit is not a place in which to air one's doubts. If the teacher is in serious uncertainty as to his message, is he not a blind leader of the blind?

III. THE CAUSES OF THE DOUBT. How dared the black thought venture to roost in the mind of the great prophet?

1. In disappointment. Jesus had not developed into the Messiah John had expected. The promising career of the Nazarene seemed to be passing into a simple ministry of preaching and healing. But John had a mistaken idea of the Messiahship. Sometimes doubts arise from the disappointment of erroneous religious notions.

2. In adversity. John lay in prison - he who all his life had lived in the wilderness! We need not be astonished that he was depressed.

3. Without full grounds of assurance. John never had been exactly a Christian. There is much doubt infecting the border-land of Christian faith.


1. Confession. John did not deny it; he did not hide it in shame; on the contrary, he clearly expressed it. We have half conquered our doubts when we have distinctly stated them.

2. Inquiry. John did not rest satisfied with doubt. He sought a solution of his difficulty.

3. Resorting to Christ. John sent to Christ. We can best learn about Christ by going straight to Christ. It is wise to bring our doubts to him. He meets doubt by showing his great works. To-day the answer to doubt is the work of Christ in the world. - W.F.A.

For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
SOME OF THE PARTICULARS IN WHICH CHRIST IS REPUTED TO IMPOSE A HEAVY YOKE AND BURDEN. I know of no obligation chat rests upon me as a Christian which does not equally rest upon me as a man.

1. The burden of duty. Purity, justice, love, industry, are enjoined upon me as a man. This burden Christ makes light and easy.(1) By giving us clear knowledge of the right in His plain precepts.(2) By the irresistible motives to duty which He supplies in the love of the Father.

2. The yoke of penitence, the burden of self-reproach. This burden we bring with us into the school of Christ; nor can we get rid of it by remaining from Christ. It has rested far more heavily under Pagan than Christian auspices. But through Christ penitence is the way to peace. Its tears are the dew-drops of the soul's resurrection morning. Forgiveness is its counterpart.

3. The burden of selfdenial. This not merely a Christian duty, but a universal necessity. Through Christ it is made such as we can carry with joy and gratitude.

4. The unavoidable burden of earthly suffering least of all to be ascribed to Christ.

(A. P. Peabody, D. D.)

Important that those to whom the ministry of the gospel is entrusted should state with clearness the real nature of religion, neither too easy or too difficult.

I. CHRISTIANS ARE UNDER THE YOKE. Not their own masters; please not themselves. What is the yoke? Obedience to His commandments.

II. It is an EASY yoke.

1. In comparison with the yoke of Satan.

2. In comparison with the yoke which self-righteousness imposes on mankind.

3. As it is made easy in itself to those who wear it, Christ renders obedience pleasant to His followers.

(E. Cooper.)


1. In the daily conflict which the Christian maintains with the sin that dwelleth in him.

2. In the hostile treatment which the Christian experiences from the world.

3. In the chastening which the Christian receives from his heavenly Master.


1. It is light compared with the burden of the unpardoned sin in another world.

2. It is light compared with the burden of unpardoned sin in this world.

3. It is made light in itself to those who bear it; strength is given to bear it.

(E. Cooper.)

Is Christ's yoke not easy then? Is there not force and meaning in His own words? Yes, most assuredly; but it is easy only to them who, having heard His voice, have come unto Him at His call, and who have thus received the will, the grace, the strength to take it upon them, and to bear it. A thing is easy to be done just in proportion to the power of doing it. It is easy for a man to lift a weight which a child could not move from the ground. It is easy for the bird to soar into the atmosphere, and for the fish to make its way through the waters; their natures are suited to their respective elements; but it were impossible for man to do either. So, in the spiritual world, what becomes easy to a believing and renewed soul is impossible to a sinner in his carnal state. What is impossible to nature, is easy to grace.

(J. Macfarlane.)


1. One condition is the entire submission of the judgment of the disciples to the Great Teacher.

2. If any man will be My disciple, so says our Lord, let him deny himself.

3. Taking up the cross.But the discipline of Christ has its restraints as well as its conditions.

1. Christ lays restraint upon our society.

2. Upon the affections and tempers of the soul.

3. Upon the words.

4. Upon the whole conduct.Then there is service, too, in the discipline of Jesus Christ.

1. Service of devotion.

2. Charity and zeal.

II. THAT HIS YOKE IS EASY AND THAT EVEN HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT. Rest can be found in no other way of life. Easy(1) Because the discipline of Christ is confined to the truth and reality of things;(2) Because it brings with it a sense of the approbation of the great God Himself;(3) Because it is part of the religion of Jesus Christ to plant in the soul principles corresponding with everything which God requires of us, it is a regenerating system;(4)Because it is a discipline which has always a respect to the heavenly state, and whilst it is the only road to heaven, it is the infallible preparation for it.

(R. Watson.)

1. Because having come to Christ they have received the willing mind to bear it.

2. Because there is a pure satisfaction imparted to their mind even in the very exercise of self-denial and self-abasement which He enjoins.

3. Because His Presence is promised to be with His servants to make it easy and light.

4. This yoke ever becomes easier and this burden lighter as the Christian continues to bear it.

5. That it is easy in comparison with that which must otherwise be borne.

(J. Macfarlane.)

1. Because of the means of instruction which are afforded us, to teach us how to commence it.

2. Because of the principles on which the Christian acts; not from compulsion, but from filial affection.

3. Because of the helps which a Christian derives while maintaining the discipline of that life.

4. Because of the enjoyments that stand connected with the Christian's course.

5. Because of the prospect before him in heaven.

(E. E. Jenkins.)

Christ's service is easy to a spiritual mind.

I. It is easy, as it is a RATIONAL service: consonant to right reason, though contradictory to depraved nature.

II. Easy, as it is a SPIRITUAL service: delightful to a spiritual mind.

III. Easy, as it is an ASSISTED service; considering that we work not in our own strength, but in God's.

IV. Easy, when once it is an ACCUSTOMED service; though hard to beginners, it is easy to professors; the farther we walk the sweeter is our way.

V. Easy, as it is the most gainful service; having the assurances of an eternal weight of glory as the reward of our obedience.


A little boy was helping his father to unpack some boxes of dry goods. His father took the pieces of goods from the box and put them on the outstretched arms of the boy. "Don't you think you have load enough?" said some one passing by. "Father knows best. He knows how much I ought to carry," replied the boy. How much trust and confidence it shows us. He knew that his father, who loved him, would not give him more than he could carry. And so it is with our Heavenly Father. Sometimes we think He is putting more on us than we can carry, and we become fretful. Sometimes He adds sorrow to sorrow until we think we cannot bear the load, but He knows best, and will not give us more than we can bear, for He is a kind and loving Father.

Elias, Elijah, Jesus, John
Bethsaida, Capernaum, Chorazin, Galilee, Sidon, Sodom, Tyre
Answering, Declare, Hearing, John, News, Replied, Report, Seeing, Shew
1. John sends his disciples to Jesus.
7. Jesus' testimony concerning John.
16. The perverse judgment of the people concerning the Son.
20. Jesus upbraids Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum;
25. and praising his Father's wisdom in revealing the Gospel to the simple,
28. he calls to him those who are weary and burdened.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 11:1-5

     7755   preaching, importance

Matthew 11:2-5

     1416   miracles, nature of

Matthew 11:2-6

     5098   John the Baptist
     8105   assurance, basis of

Matthew 11:3-5

     2351   Christ, miracles

Matthew 11:3-6

     8837   unbelief, and life of faith

Matthew 11:4-5

     2081   Christ, wisdom
     5278   cripples
     5285   cures
     6668   grace, and Christ
     9140   last days
     9311   resurrection, of Christ

Matthew 11:4-6

     2333   Christ, attitude to OT
     8724   doubt, dealing with

The Friend of Publicans and Sinners
'The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children,'--MATT. xi. 19. Jesus very seldom took notice of His enemies' slanders. 'When He was reviled He reviled not again.' If ever He did, it was for the sake of those whom it harmed to distort His beauty. Thus, here He speaks, without the slightest trace of irritation, of the capricious inconsistency of condemning Himself and John
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Sodom, Capernaum, Manchester
'Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not.' --MATT. xi. 20. These words, and the woes which they introduce, are found in another connection in Luke's Gospel. He attaches them to his report of the mission of the seventy disciples. Matthew here introduces them in an order which seems not to depend upon time, but upon identity of subject. It is his method in his Gospel to group together similar events, as we have it exemplified, for instance,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Christ's Strange Thanksgiving
'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.' --MATT. xi. 25. When Jesus was about to cure one dumb man, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and sighed. Sorrow filled His soul in the act of working deliverance. The thought of the depth of the miseries He had come to heal, and of the ocean of them which He was then diminishing but by one poor drop, saddened Him. When Jesus thought of the woes that had
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

John's Doubts of Jesus, and Jesus' Praise of John
'Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3. And said unto Him, Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another? 4. Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me. 7.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Rest Giver
'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.'--MATT. xi. 28, 29. One does not know whether tenderness or majesty is predominant in these wonderful words. A divine penetration into man's true condition, and a divine pity, are expressed in them. Jesus looks with clearsighted compassion into the inmost history of all hearts, and sees the toil and the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Rest for the Weary
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. W hich shall we admire most -- the majesty, or the grace, conspicuous in this invitation? How soon would the greatest earthly monarch be impoverished, and his treasures utterly exhausted, if all, that are poor and miserable, had encouragement to apply freely to him, with a promise of relief, fully answerable to their wants and wishes! But the riches of Christ are unsearchable and inexhaustible. If millions and millions
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

Messiah's Easy Yoke
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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. T hough the influence of education and example, may dispose us to acknowledge the Gospel to be a revelation from God; it can only be rightly understood, or duly prized, by those persons who feel themselves in the circumstances of distress, which it is designed to relieve. No Israelite would think of fleeing to a city of refuge (Joshua 20:2.
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Yoke of Christ.
"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; for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."--Matt. xi. 29, 30. These words, which are brought before us in the Gospel of to-day's festival[1], are also found in the address made to us upon Ash Wednesday, in which we are told that if we "return unto Him who is the merciful Receiver of all true penitent sinners, if we will take His easy yoke and light burden upon us, to follow Him
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xi. 2, "Now when John Heard in the Prison the Works of the Christ, He Sent by his Disciples,
1. The lesson of the Holy Gospel has set before us a question touching John the Baptist. May the Lord assist me to resolve it to you, as He hath resolved it to us. John was commended, as ye have heard, by the testimony of Christ, and in such terms commended, as that there had not risen a greater among those who were born of women. But a greater than he had been born of a Virgin. How much greater? Let the herald himself declare, how great the difference is between himself and his Judge, whose herald
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xi. 25, "I Thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, that Thou Didst Hide These Things From
1. When the Holy Gospel was being read, we heard that the Lord Jesus exulted in Spirit, and said, "I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." [2252] Thus much to begin [2253] with, we find before we pass on further, if we consider the words of the Lord with due attention, with diligence, and above all with piety, that we ought not invariably to understand when we read of "confession" in
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Again on the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xi. 25, "I Thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth," Etc.
1. We have heard the Son of God saying, "I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." What doth he confess to Him? Wherein doth he praise Him? "Because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." [2288] Who are the "wise and prudent"? Who the "babes"? What hath He hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes? By the "wise and prudent," He signifieth those of whom St. Paul speaks; "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Again on the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xi. 28, "Come unto Me, all Ye that Labour and are Heavy Laden, and I Will Give You
1. It seems strange to some, Brethren, when they hear the Lord say, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." [2323] And they consider that they who have fearlessly bowed their necks to this yoke, and have with much submission taken this burden upon their shoulders, are tossed about and exercised by so great
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

The Sinner's Friend
"Savior of sinners they proclaim, Sinners of whom the chief I am." What the invidious Jews said in bitter spleen, has been turned by the Holy Spirit to the most gracious account. Where they poured out vials of hate, odours of sacred incense arise. Troubled consciences have found a sweet balm in the very sound. Jesus, "the friend of publicans and sinners," has proved himself friendly to them, and they have become friends with him; so completely has he justified the very name which his enemies gave
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 10: 1864

Rest, Rest
We will, this morning, if we can, conduct you into the inner chambers of out text, place its words under the microscope, and peer into the recesses of each sentence. We only wish our microscope were of a greater magnifying power, and our ability to expound the text more complete; for there are mines of instruction here. Superficially read, this royal promise has cheered and encouraged tens of thousands, but there is a wealth in it which the diligent digger and miner shall alone discover. Its shallows
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Holy violence
"But," says one, "do you wish us to understand, that if a man is to be saved he must use violence and vehement earnestness in order to obtain salvation?" I do, most assuredly; that is the doctrine of the text. "But," says one, "I thought it was all the work of God." So it is, from first to last. But when God has begun the work in the soul, the constant effect of God's work in us is to set us working; and where God's Spirit is really striving with us, we shall begin to strive too. This is just a test
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

The Meek and Lowly One
I. First, then, I am to consider THE FIRST QUALITY WHICH JESUS CHRIST CLAIMS. He declares that he is "MEEK." Christ is no egotist; he takes no praise to himself. If ever he utters a word in self-commendation, it is not with that object; it is with another design, namely that he may entice souls to come to him. Here, in order to exhibit this meekness, I shall have to speak of him in several ways. 1. First, Christ is meek, as opposed to the ferocity of spirit manifested by zealots and bigots. Take,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Powerful Persuasives
I HAVE preached to you, dear friends, several times from the words, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." There is such sweetness in the precept, such solace in the promise, that I could fain hope to preach from it many times more. But I have no intention just now to repeat what I have said in any former discourse, or to follow the same vein of thought that we have previously explored. This kindly and gracious invitation needs only to be held up in different
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916

Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
(From the Gospel for St. Matthias'-day, 24th February) Of the proper marks of true humility. Matt. xi. 29.--"Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." CHRIST, our blessed Lord, the true master and teacher of all art and virtue, and a pattern of all perfection, when He came down from Heaven to instruct us poor ignorant men, did not see fit to make use of great subtleties, or mysterious and ingenious statements of truth; but in short, plain, simple words He delivered to us a maxim, and gave us
Susannah Winkworth—The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler

Sermon for the Third Sunday in Advent
(From the Gospel for the day) How that we must wholly come out from ourselves, that we may go into the wilderness and behold God. Matt. xi. 7.--"What went ye out into the wilderness for to see?" OUR Lord Jesus Christ said unto the Jews, "What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?" In these words let us consider three things: First, the going out; secondly, the wilderness; thirdly, what we are to see there. First, let us consider the going out. This blessed going
Susannah Winkworth—The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler

Sixth Day. Thankfulness.
"I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth."--Matt. xi. 25. A thankful spirit pervaded the entire life of Jesus, and surrounded with a heavenly halo His otherwise darkened path. In moments we least expect to find it, this beauteous ray breaks through the gloom. In instituting the memorial of His death, He "gave thanks!" Even in crossing the Kedron to Gethsemane, "He sang an hymn!" We know in seasons of deep sorrow and trial that every thing wears a gloomy aspect. Dumb Nature herself to
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

Fifth Day. Meekness.
"I am meek and lowly in heart."--Matt. xi. 29. There is often a beautiful blending of majesty and humility, magnanimity and lowliness, in great minds. The mightiest and holiest of all Beings that ever trod our world was the meekest of all. The Ancient of Days was as the "infant of days." He who had listened to nothing but angel-melodies from all eternity, found, while on earth, melody in the lispings of an infant's voice, or in an outcast's tears! No wonder an innocent lamb was His emblem, or
John R. Macduff—The Mind of Jesus

"I Will Give You Rest. "
A COMMUNION ADDRESS AT MENTONE. "I will give you rest."--Matthew xi. 28. "I WILL GIVE YOU REST." WE have a thousand times considered these words as an encouragement to the labouring and the laden; and we may, therefore, have failed to read them as a promise to ourselves. But, beloved friends, we have come to Jesus, and therefore He stands engaged to fufil this priceless pledge to us. We may now enjoy the promise; for we have obeyed the precept. The faithful and true Witness, whose word is truth,
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come

A Devout Exhortation to the Holy Communion the Voice of Christ
Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you,(1) saith the Lord. The bread that I will give is My flesh which I give for the life of the world.(2) Take, eat: this is My Body, which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.(3) He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me and I in him. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.(4) (1) Matthew xi. 28 (2) John vi. 51. (3) Matthew xxi. 26; Luke xxii. 19. (4) John vi.
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Baptist's Inquiry and Jesus' Discourse Suggested Thereby.
(Galilee.) ^A Matt. XI. 2-30; ^C Luke VII. 18-35. ^c 18 And the disciples of John told him of all these things. ^a 2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent by his disciples ^c 19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them unto the Lord [John had been cast into prison about December, a.d. 27, and it was now after the Passover, possibly in May or June, a.d. 28. Herod Antipas had cast John into prison because John had reproved him for taking his brother's wife.
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

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