|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:2-6 Some think that John sent this inquiry for his own satisfaction. Where there is true faith, yet there may be a mixture of unbelief. The remaining unbelief of good men may sometimes, in an hour of temptation; call in question the most important truths. But we hope that John's faith did not fail in this matter, and that he only desired to have it strengthened and confirmed. Others think that John sent his disciples to Christ for their satisfaction. Christ points them to what they heard and saw. Christ's gracious condescensions and compassions to the poor, show that it was he that should bring to the world the tender mercies of our God. Those things which men see and hear, if compared with the Scriptures, direct in what way salvation is to be found. It is difficult to conquer prejudices, and dangerous not to conquer them; but those who believe in Christ, their faith will be found so much the more to praise, and honour, and glory.
Verses 2-24. - JESUS THE ONE THAT SHOULD COME.
(1) Vers. 2-6: The Baptist's question, and its answer: the Coming One has come.
(2) Vers. 7-15: Jesus' recognition of the greatness of John as herald.
(3) Vers. 16-19: Yet both John and he himself are rejected.
(4) Vers. 20-24: Woe on those who disregard the signs of God's work. Verses 2-6. - The Baptist's question, and its answer. Parallel passage: Luke 7:18-23. Verse 2. - Now when John had (omit, with the Revised Version) heard in the prison; i.e. Machaerus (Schurer, 1. 2:27; comp. Matthew 3:1, note; Matthew 14:1, note). Matthew alone tells us that he was already in prison. The works of Christ; of the Christ (Revised Version); τοῦ Ξριστοῦ. Not the proper name, but the official title (Matthew 1:16, 17, notes). The title may be merely due to the evangelist's narrative, or may represent the actual terms in which the message was brought to John. It brings out the pathos of the situation. John had prepared the way of the Christ, and had at the baptism taken part in his anointing. Yet of all the works that the Christ now did there was none to set his kinsman and herald free. He sent two of his disciples; by his disciples (Revised Version). Possibly the slight difference between διά, the true reading here, and δύο, which is genuine in Luke, points to the common source (observe here a Greek source) having been written, but with the close similarity in sound this need not have been the case. Observe that the true reading lays slightly more emphasis on the fact of the inquiry coming from John himself (vide infra). "Sent by" is the equivalent of the Hebrew שלח ביד (Exodus 4:13; 1 Samuel 16:20; 1 Kings 2:25; comp. also Revelation 1:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now when John had heard in the prison,.... The person here spoken of is John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, who was now in the prison of Machaerus; being put there by Herod, for his reproving him for taking Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; and whilst he was there, an account was brought him by his own disciples, see Luke 7:18 of
the works of Christ, the miracles he wrought; as the healing of the centurion's servant, the raising from the dead the widow's son of Nain, and the like; upon hearing of which,
he sent two of his disciples, who might be the most prejudiced against Christ, because of the increase of his followers, and the decrease of their master's; and because he did not live such an austere life as John did; and who, notwithstanding all that they had heard, and their master had told them of Jesus, were not easily persuaded that he was the true Messiah. Moreover, two of them were sent, both because it was more honourable to Christ, and that they might be proper witnesses of what they saw and heard; and since it was not so much for himself, as for the sake of his disciples, that these messengers were sent.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Now when John had heard in the prison—For the account of this imprisonment, see on Mr 6:17-20.
the works of Christ, he sent, &c.—On the whole passage, see on Lu 7:18-35.
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