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Jesus Vindicates John


Matthew 11:7-19

Have you ever been accused of something that you didn’t do or of something that wasn’t true?

In this passage that was read Jesus is going to vindicate John the Baptist.

But in spite of Jesus reassuring John that He was the “Expected One” some of his opponents would pick up on John’s question and use it in an attempt to discredit John.

Well, here in the verses that were read Jesus vindicates…He substantiates…He refutes the accusations that might be made…and He confirms John to be the faithful servant of God that he actually was.

Now, as Jesus vindicates John in this passage I found myself asking, “What would He say about me? And what would He say about you?”

Look at what Jesus says about John starting in verse 7: And as these were going away, Jesus began to speak to the multitudes about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind?

We have all seen reeds along the bank of a creek or pond…and what happens when the wind blows? (They just sway back and forth…whatever direction the wind is blowing that is the way they are going to go…there is no rigidity…whatever influence is on it that is the way they go.)

There is an old Jewish fable that is about a reed and an oak tree…and the reed was boasting to the oak tree saying, “Because of my ability to compromise I will survive…it doesn’t matter how hard or what direction the wind blows…I just bend and go with the flow! But you old oak tree…when a big enough storm comes along you are going to fall over…you always speak about how strong  you are…and all the shade you give to others…how valuable you are to the birds…but someday you will fall.”

When these people went out to see John in the wilderness they saw a man that stood for what was right in the sight of God…they saw a man that stood strong against the “winds” of evil and unrighteousness…they saw a mighty servant of God who was willing to be imprisoned for standing up for the truth…and for what was right in the sight of God.

Look at vs. 8: “But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces.

 What they saw in John was someone who stood up to the king and even rebuked him instead of flattering him.

Look at vs. 9: But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet.

But he was “much more than a prophet”…he not only foretold the coming of the Messiah but his own coming was foretold (Mal. 3:1).

And as I look at what Jesus says here about John, would He say that I am much better than kings or those who compromise in order to wear soft clothing?

Now, look at verse 11:  “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

When Jesus speaks these words He has not yet established His kingdom, so John was not in the kingdom.

So would Jesus look at me and say that I am greater than John because I am in Christ’s kingdom…or would he look at me and say that I am still living under the Law….a system that was made obsolete by Christ? (Heb. 8:13) A system of justification by works and performance or a system of justification by faith and grace?

Look at vs. 12: From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

Satan is a mighty adversary and he has a large army of helpers to block the way into the kingdom.

And when Jesus looks at me would He say that I am pointing people to the Messiah and the kingdom too that they might seek it and find it?

Look at vs. 14: And if you care to accept it, he himself is Elijah, who was to come.”

Would Jesus say that same thing about me…or about you?

So Jesus vindicates John here and in verse 15 He says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

John comes along neither eating nor drinking and they say, “He has a demon!”

 And once again…would Jesus say this same thing about me…or about you?

Look at verse 19: Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Now I want to show you something…in this passage Jesus vindicates John against the potential criticisms and accusations that the people might have.

But let me show you something…turn if you would to Romans 8: 33. The apostle Paul says, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?”

 Look at the beginning of verse 34: “Who is the one who condemns?”

But look at the end of verse 33 again: God is the One who justifies!

 The difference between us and John is John was being accused falsely by men.

Satan says, “Virgil is a sinner…he has done this and he has done that!”

You know, it is a very frustrating thing to be accused of something and not be able to prove yourself innocent.