Skip to content

Matthew 11:7-10

Why Did You Go?

7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

There is something in the human nature, some kind of wickedness, that gives us pleasure when another person's flaws are exposed. This seems to be especially true when that person is well known or has exhibited some form of greatness. We love scandal and gossip.

Jesus understood what was going through the minds of the crowd when John the Baptist's disciples came to Him to publicly question His identity. We can only imagine the gossip that was being passed along. "Even John, who baptized Him, doesn't believe that He is the Messiah." Or, "See how weak John's faith was? He has already begun to doubt."

Jesus waited until John's disciples had gone, so that His defense of John would not appear to be mere flattery. He began by asking the crowd what their motives were for going to John, in the first place. Did they go out to see a reed shaken with the wind? The reed was a symbol of strength and permanence in their culture. The rains and the winds could come and, when the storms ceased, trees may have been brought down and buildings damaged, but the reed would still be standing straight. Did they go to John to hear the truth preached or to find fault with a great preacher?

Or did they go to see someone who dressed fancily and put on a good show of righteousness? Why would they go into the wilderness to find him? If that is what they wanted, they were in the wrong place. John lived in the wilderness and dressed in the appropriate clothing. He wasn't trying to draw attention to himself, but to the One who was better than himself.

We might ask these same questions of those who enter our worship services today. "Why do you come? Are you there to gossip, start a scandal, or find fault with the preacher? Perhaps you come because you think it is expected of you by your family and friends. Or do you come to hear the message that God has prepared for you?"

Some people go to church because it is a place to flaunt their fashions, make important business acquaintances, or to present themselves as more righteous than others. They reject those who come "improperly dressed" and certainly would not accept a preacher who came dressed in rough clothing that was more appropriate for a wilderness camp out.

"Do you go to church to worship and hear the word being preached or because you have to play the piano or sing in the choir? Are you there to demonstrate your righteousness, to put yourself on display and flaunt your 'holiness', or to draw attention to the Messiah, Jesus Christ?"

Jesus asked the people if they went to see a prophet? Is that the spectacle that drew them to John? Did they want to be able to tell their grandchildren that they had seen a great prophet? Whatever it was that brought them to John, they missed the real benefit of going to see him.

We might go to see Billy Graham or some other world renowned evangelist. If that is our reason for going, the chances are that we too will miss the real benefit that God has prepared.

John was more than a prophet. He was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi 3:1. That prophecy was pointing the way, not to the messenger in the wilderness, but to the Messiah whom he would serve. Billy Graham and other evangelists are more than great preachers. They are faithful messengers fulfilling the prophecies concerning those who would lead others to Christ. These men are the miracle of a God who is working through them to accomplish His will.

Jesus will defend the integrity of His servants. Though John expressed a doubt and revealed a human flaw in himself, he was personally chosen by God to accomplish His purpose. Therefore, no man had any right nor reason to criticize him. Human weaknesses are not to be our focus. We must come to church for one reason and one reason only….. to experience the wonder working power of God. If we use worship time to focus on the qualities or flaws of men, we are the losers.

Before The Throne:

Pray for a cleansing of your own heart. Ask God to help you lay your prejudices and selfish motives aside, so that your focus might be on Him. Pray for your pastor and church leaders, asking God to keep them humble and to use them for His purpose.

For Further Study:

** Jesus. Lu 7:24-30; ** What. Matt 3:1-3, 5; Matt 21:25; Mark 1:3-5; Luke 3:3-7; Luke 8:18; John 1:38; John 5:35; ** A reed.
Gen 49:4; 2Cor 1:17-18; Eph 4:14; Jas 1:6;

(v.8 ) ** A man. Matt 3:4; 2Kgs 1:8; Isa 20:2; Zech 13:4; 1Cor 4:11; 2Cor 11:27; Rev 11:3;

(v.9) ** A prophet. Matt 11:13-14; Matt 14:5; Matt 17:12-13; Matt 21:24-26; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:15-17, 76;

(v.10) ** Matt 3:3; Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1; Mal 4:5; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:26-27; John 1:23;


No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.

Form options