|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:7-15 What Christ said concerning John, was not only for his praise, but for the people's profit. Those who attend on the word will be called to give an account of their improvements. Do we think when the sermon is done, the care is over? No, then the greatest of the care begins. John was a self-denying man, dead to all the pomps of the world and the pleasures of sense. It becomes people, in all their appearances, to be consistent with their character and their situation. John was a great and good man, yet not perfect; therefore he came short of glorified saints. The least in heaven knows more, loves more, and does more in praising God, and receives more from him, than the greatest in this world. But by the kingdom of heaven here, is rather to be understood the kingdom of grace, the gospel dispensation in its power and purity. What reason we have to be thankful that our lot is cast in the days of the kingdom of heaven, under such advantages of light and love! Multitudes were wrought upon by the ministry of John, and became his disciples. And those strove for a place in this kingdom, that one would think had no right nor title to it, and so seemed to be intruders. It shows us what fervency and zeal are required of all. Self must be denied; the bent, the frame and temper of the mind must be altered. Those who will have an interest in the great salvation, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing. The things of God are of great and common concern. God requires no more from us than the right use of the faculties he has given us. People are ignorant, because they will not learn.
Verse 9. - But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? But wherefore went ye out? To see a prophet? (Revised Version). Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. Our Lord accepts their estimate of John, but says that it is insufficient. He thus passes on to show the relation in which John stood to himself. John was more than a prophet such as they thought of, for he was "the subject as well as the vehicle of prophecy" (Alford), and was the immediate forerunner of the great King. More than; much more than (Revised Version). Περισσότερομν is probably neuter, for this not only agrees with τι, but emphasizes the thought more than the masculine (cf. Matthew 12:6, note).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But what went ye out for to see?.... Since it was not any thing so mean as a shaking reed, or so grand as a man in gay clothing, pray what was it you went out to see?
A prophet? This was the truth of the matter, they expected to see a prophet, and they believed he was one; this was the common voice of the people; all held John to be a prophet. This made Herod afraid to put him to death, and the Pharisees to speak against his baptism: now, though this was giving him a great character, to believe and own him to be a prophet, yet it did not come up to his full character.
Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet; when they saw him, they saw not only a prophet, but one that was greater, and more excellent than any of the prophets that went before him: they prophesied of the Messiah at a distance, and in words not so clear, and easy to be understood; they spoke of him as to come, but he pointed him out with his finger, and declared that he was come; he saw him himself, and showed him to others; he saw the Spirit of God descending on him, and he himself baptized him; his office, as the harbinger of Christ, and the administrator of the ordinance of baptism to him, gave him a preference to all the prophets; and was such an one, as never any man was vested with but himself.
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