|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:16-24 Christ reflects on the scribes and Pharisees, who had a proud conceit of themselves. He likens their behaviour to children's play, who being out of temper without reason, quarrel with all the attempts of their fellows to please them, or to get them to join in the plays for which they used to assemble. The cavils of worldly men are often very trifling and show great malice. Something they have to urge against every one, however excellent and holy. Christ, who was undefiled, and separate from sinners, is here represented as in league with them, and polluted by them. The most unspotted innocence will not always be a defence against reproach. Christ knew that the hearts of the Jews were more bitter and hardened against his miracles and doctrines, than those of Tyre and Sidon would have been; therefore their condemnation would be the greater. The Lord exercises his almighty power, yet he punishes none more than they deserve, and never withholds the knowledge of the truth from those who long after it.
Verses 20-24. - Woe on those who reject him. The parallel passage, Luke 10:12-15, comes almost at the close of the commission to the seventy. It is represented in the commission reported by St. Matthew by Matthew 10:15 alone, which is almost verbally identical with ver. 24. It is possible that St. Matthew or the author of the source used by him did not care to interrupt the subject of ch. 10. by inserting more of these verses there, even though that place more nearly represented their original position. Observe that here they are connected with the rejection of John and of our Lord; in Luke, with the rejection of his disciples and of himself in them. Verse 20. - In Matthew only. It seems to be a kind of introduction, like ver. 7a, perhaps marking vers. 20-24 as a fresh section in the discourses. It serves more particularly as an explanation why our Lord especially mentioned these cities. Then began he to upbraid (Matthew 5:11, note; comp. also Mark 16:14) the cities wherein most of his mighty works (Matthew 7:22, note) were done, because they repented not. "Quilibet auditor Nov. Test. est nut multo beetler (ver. 11) ant multo miserior antiquis" (Bengel).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then began he to upbraid the cities,.... When he had sent forth his disciples to preach, and had been in these several cities hereafter mentioned himself, and had taught and preached in them, and confirmed his doctrine by many wonderful works; when he had observed how ill they had used both John and himself, representing the one as having a devil, and the other as a licentious person; when they could not be pleased with the ministry of the one, nor of the other, he very seasonably and righteously began to reproach them with their ungenerous treatment of him, their ingratitude to him, their unbelief in him, the hardness and impenitence of their hearts; which could not be moved to repent of their evil ways, and believe in him, and acknowledge him as the Messiah, by all the instructions he gave them, and miracles he wrought among them: for the cities he has a view to, were such,
wherein most of his mighty works were done; the most for number, and the greatest in their kind; as particularly at Capernaum; where he cured the centurion's servant, recovered Peter's wife's mother from a fever, healed the man sick of a palsy, raised Jairus's daughter from the dead, made whole the woman that had a bloody issue, opened the eyes of two blind men, and cast out a devil from a dumb man, possessed with one: all these, and more, he did in this one city, and therefore he might justly upbraid them,
because they repented not: not because they did not commend him, and speak well of his works, for he sought not his own glory, but their good: all he did was, in order to bring men to repentance of their sins, and faith in himself, that they might be saved.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Mt 11:20-30. Outburst of Feeling Suggested to the Mind of Jesus by the Result of His Labors in Galilee.
The connection of this with what goes before it and the similarity of its tone make it evident, we think, that it was delivered on the same occasion, and that it is but a new and more comprehensive series of reflections in the same strain.
20. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not.
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