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John the Baptist Inquires of Jesus Christ

(Chapter 11, verses 1-6)

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       (1) As soon as Jesus finished instructing his twelve disciples he went across from there to teach and preach in their cities. (2) Mean­while, John the Baptist, who was incarcerated, heard about all that Christ was doing. He therefore sent his own followers (3) and asked Jesus: "Are you the Exceptional One we've been expecting? Or, is it someone else?" (4) Jesus an­swered John's followers this way: "Go back to John and tell him what you're hearing with your own ears and seeing with your own eyes: (5) The blind and visually impaired can see again; the crippled and disabled are walking like nothing was ever wrong with them; the lepers are completely healed; those deaf or hearing impaired are hearing; the dead are being brought back to life; and even the poor and otherwise economically depressed are having the good news preached to them. (6) [John, or anyone else,] who recognizes these things for what they truly are-[evidence of the Exceptional One]-and doesn't stumble over them, is wonderfully blessed and content."

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Jesus Extols John the Baptist

(Chapter 11, verses 7-19)

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       (7) As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus asked the crowd these questions about John the Baptist: "Why did you all go into the desert? To see tumble weeds blown everywhere? (8) When you got there, what did you really see? A man dressed in regal clothing? You didn't see that because those decked out like that are in stately palaces. (9) So, what was the real reason you trekked out to the desert? Was it to see a prophet? Well, I'm here to say you got more than what you bargained for. (10) The Hebrew Bible was talking about John the Baptist when it said, ‘Note this! I'm sending my messenger ahead of you. He'll make all the necessary preparations!' (11) I'm being entirely truthful--not exaggerating at all--when I say that of all the children women have given birth to, none has grown up to be greater than John the Baptist. But, by way of comparison, even one of the lesser ones in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is. (12) Speaking of the kingdom of the heavens, from John's time till now, it's what men have been reaching for; and, since it's in arm's length-as it were-they have actually grasped it. (13) The entire Hebrew Bible, all the Prophets and the Mosaic Law, outlined ongoing prophesies that culminate with John. (14) Now, it's up to you to believe it or not, but he himself is ‘Elijah who is bound to come.' (15) Let those with spiritually perceptive ears listen and act.

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       (16) "This generation is unique. Let me think now; with whom shall I compare it with? It's like young children playing in the park who whine to their hard-to-please playmates, (17) com­plaining, ‘We played good music to cheer you all up, but that didn't work; we sat and cried for all of you in an effort to share your sadness, but you would have nothing to do with us.' (18) In the same way, John came to you fasting and abstaining from alcohol, yet people say, ‘He's demonized'; (19) doing the exact opposite, the Son of man came eating aplenty (not fasting at all) and freely but moderately drinking alcoholic beverages, yet, hard-to-please people still say, ‘Look at him! A piggish wino who befriends Internal Revenue Service agents, prostitutes, and sinners in general.' Despite how it might seem to others, the wisdom of the two different approaches John and I displayed has been proven righteous by our actions. [There's just no pleasing some people!]"

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Jesus Condemns Entire Cities

(Chapter 11, verses 20-24)

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       (20) He then began to reprimand the cities that saw his most extraordinary works yet persisted in their stubborn unrepentance: (21) "Damn you, Chorazin! Damn you, Beth­saida! Because if the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon saw the powerful works you saw, they would have grieved and re­pented a long time ago. (22) So I say this to all of you, It'll be better for Tyre and Sidon on Judgment Day than for you people. (23) And what about you citizens of Capernaum? Do you think you're going to heaven? Think again, because you're going straight to hell! Why? Because if the Sodomites saw the miracles you saw, their city would be around today instead of having been destroyed by God. (24) So I say this to you citizens of Capernaum, it'll be better for the Sodomites on Judgment Day than for you."

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The Truth Concealed

--The Father Revealed

(Chapter 11, verses 25-30)

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       (25) At that particular moment [as if responding to a question from his Father] Jesus answered: "I praise you publicly, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you've chosen to encrypt these wonderful truths so that arrogant intellects could not decipher them; but you have revealed these same truths to those with childlike humility. (26) Indeed, O Father, this is how you operate. (27) [Shifting his attention back to those listening Jesus now said]: My Father has given me everything. No one completely understands the Son but the Father. Neither does anyone completely understand the Father but the Son, and whomever the Son wants to reveal him to. (28) Come to me, all who are slavishly overworked and overwhelmed, and I will rejuvenate you. (29) As strange as it may seem, when you enter into refreshing ‘servitude' to me, you actually learn [compassion], because I'm gentle, kind, and humble in heart. With such qualities I'll reinvigorate your very souls. (30) For tender servitude to me has a calming effect. My ‘load' hardly weights anything at all."