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Matthew 11 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

John the Baptist

11 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he left and began teaching and preaching in the towns.[a]

John was in prison when he heard what Christ was doing. So John sent some of his followers to ask Jesus, “Are you the one we should be looking for? Or must we wait for someone else?”

Jesus answered, “Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People with leprosy[b] are being healed, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. God will bless everyone who doesn’t reject me because of what I do.”

As John’s followers were going away, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John:

What sort of person did you go out into the desert to see? Was he like tall grass blown about by the wind? What kind of man did you go out to see? Was he someone dressed in fine clothes? People who dress like that live in the king’s palace. What did you really go out to see? Was he a prophet? He certainly was. I tell you that he was more than a prophet. 10 In the Scriptures God says about him, “I am sending my messenger ahead of you to get things ready for you.” 11 I tell you that no one ever born on this earth is greater than John the Baptist. But whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John.

12 From the time of John the Baptist until now, violent people have been trying to take over the kingdom of heaven by force. 13 All the Books of the Prophets and the Law of Moses[c] told what was going to happen up to the time of John. 14 And if you believe them, John is Elijah, the prophet you are waiting for. 15 If you have ears, pay attention!

16 You people are like children sitting in the market and shouting to each other,

17 “We played the flute,
    but you would not dance!
We sang a funeral song,
    but you would not mourn!”

18 John the Baptist did not go around eating and drinking, and you said, “That man has a demon in him!” 19 But the Son of Man goes around eating and drinking, and you say, “That man eats and drinks too much! He is even a friend of tax collectors[d] and sinners.” Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what it does.

The Unbelieving Towns

20 In the towns where Jesus had worked most of his miracles, the people refused to turn to God. So Jesus was upset with them and said:

21 You people of Chorazin are in for trouble! You people of Bethsaida are in for trouble too! If the miracles that took place in your towns had happened in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have turned to God long ago. They would have dressed in sackcloth and put ashes on their heads.[e] 22 I tell you that on the day of judgment the people of Tyre and Sidon will get off easier than you will.

23 People of Capernaum, do you think you will be honored in heaven? You will go down to hell! If the miracles that took place in your town had happened in Sodom, that town would still be standing. 24 So I tell you that on the day of judgment the people of Sodom will get off easier than you.

Come to Me and Rest

25 At that moment Jesus said:

My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. 26 Yes, Father, that is what pleased you.

27 My Father has given me everything, and he is the only one who knows the Son. The only one who truly knows the Father is the Son. But the Son wants to tell others about the Father, so that they can know him too.

28 If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. 29 Take the yoke[f] I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest. 30 This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.

Footnotes:

  1. 11.1 the towns: The Greek text has “their towns,” whichmay refer to the towns of Galilee or to the towns where Jesus' disciples had lived.
  2. 11.5 leprosy: See the note at 8.2.
  3. 11.13 the Books of the Prophets and the Law of Moses: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.
  4. 11.19 tax collectors: See the note at 5.46.
  5. 11.21 sackcloth. . . ashes on their heads: This was one way that people showed how sorry they were for their sins.
  6. 11.29 yoke: Yokes were put on the necks of animals, so that they could pull a plow or wagon. A yoke was a symbol of obedience and hard work.

Matthew 11 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

John Sends Men to Ask Jesus a Question

11 When Jesus finished these instructions for his twelve followers, he left there. He went to the towns in Galilee to teach the people and tell them God’s message.

When John was in prison, he heard about the things that were happening—things the Messiah would do. So he sent some of his followers to Jesus. They asked him, “Are you the one we have been expecting, or should we wait for someone else?”

Jesus answered, “Go tell John what you have heard and seen: The blind can see. The crippled can walk. People with leprosy are healed. The deaf can hear. The dead are brought back to life. And the Good News is being told to the poor. Great blessings belong to those who don’t have a problem accepting me.”

When John’s followers left, Jesus began talking to the people about John. He said, “What did you people go out to the desert to see? Someone who is weak, like a stem of grass[a] blowing in the wind? Really, what did you expect to see? Someone dressed in fine clothes? Of course not. People who wear fine clothes are all in kings’ palaces. So what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, John is a prophet. But I tell you, he is more than that. 10 This Scripture was written about him:

‘Listen! I will send my messenger ahead of you.
    He will prepare the way for you.’

11 “The truth is that John the Baptizer is greater than anyone who has ever come into this world. But even the least important person in God’s kingdom is greater than John. 12 Since the time John the Baptizer came until now, God’s kingdom has been going forward strongly.[b] And people have been trying to take control of it by force. 13 Before John came, the Law of Moses and all the prophets told about the things that would happen. 14 And if you believe what they said, then John is Elijah.[c] He is the one they said would come. 15 You people who hear me, listen!

16 “What can I say about the people who live today? What are they like? The people today are like children sitting in the marketplace. One group of children calls to the other group,

17 ‘We played flute music for you,
    but you did not dance;
we sang a funeral song,
    but you were not sad.’

18 Why do I say people are like that? Because John came, not eating like other people or drinking wine, and people say, ‘He has a demon inside him.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and people say, ‘Look at him! He eats too much and drinks too much wine. He’s a friend of tax collectors and other sinners.’ But wisdom is shown to be right by what it does.”

Jesus Warns People Who Refuse to Believe

20 Then Jesus criticized the cities where he did most of his miracles. He criticized these cities because the people there did not change their lives and stop sinning. 21 Jesus said, “It will be bad for you Chorazin! It will be bad for you Bethsaida! I did many miracles in you. If these same miracles had happened in Tyre and Sidon, the people there would have changed their lives a long time ago. They would have worn sackcloth and put ashes on themselves to show that they were sorry for their sins. 22 But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be worse for you than for Tyre and Sidon.

23 “And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? No! You will be thrown down to the place of death. I did many miracles in you. If these same miracles had happened in Sodom, the people there would have stopped sinning, and it would still be a city today. 24 But I tell you, it will be worse for you in the day of judgment than for Sodom.”

Jesus Offers Rest to His People

25 Then Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. I am thankful that you have hidden these things from those who are so wise and so smart. But you have shown them to people who are like little children. 26 Yes, Father, you did this because it’s what you really wanted to do.

27 “My Father has given me everything. No one knows the Son—only the Father knows the Son. And no one knows the Father—only the Son knows the Father. And the only people who will know about the Father are those the Son chooses to tell.

28 “Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. 29 Accept my teaching.[d] Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. 30 Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light.”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 11:7 stem of grass Literally, “reed.”
  2. Matthew 11:12 has been … strongly Or “has suffered violence.”
  3. Matthew 11:14 Elijah See Mal. 4:5-6.
  4. Matthew 11:29 Accept my teaching Literally, “Take my yoke upon you.” A yoke was put on the neck of a work animal for pulling a load. It was a Jewish symbol for the law. See Acts 15:10; Gal. 5:1.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Matthew 11 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Jesus and John the Baptist

11 Jesus finished teaching his 12 disciples. Then he went on to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

John the Baptist was in prison. When he heard about the actions of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him. They asked Jesus, “Are you the one who is supposed to come? Or should we look for someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back to John. Report to him what you hear and see. Blind people receive sight. Disabled people walk. Those who have skin diseases are made ‘clean.’ Deaf people hear. Those who are dead are raised to life. And the good news is preached to those who are poor. Blessed is anyone who does not give up their faith because of me.”

As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. He said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? Tall grass waving in the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No. People who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 He is the one written about in Scripture. It says,

“ ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you.
    He will prepare your way for you.’ (Malachi 3:1)

11 What I’m about to tell you is true. No one more important than John the Baptist has ever been born. But the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is more important than he is. 12 Since the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom of heaven has been under attack. And violent people are taking hold of it. 13 All the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John came. 14 If you are willing to accept it, John is the Elijah who was supposed to come. 15 Whoever has ears should listen.

16 “What can I compare today’s people to? They are like children sitting in the markets and calling out to others. They say,

17 “ ‘We played the flute for you.
    But you didn’t dance.
We sang a funeral song.
    But you didn’t become sad.’

18 When John came, he didn’t eat or drink as you do. And people say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 But when the Son of Man came, he ate and drank as you do. And people say, ‘This fellow is always eating and drinking far too much. He’s a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ’ By wise actions wisdom is shown to be right.”

Towns That Do Not Turn Away From Sin

20 Jesus began to speak against the towns where he had done most of his miracles. The people there had not turned away from their sins. So he said, 21 “How terrible it will be for you, Chorazin! How terrible for you, Bethsaida! Suppose the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon. They would have turned away from their sins long ago. They would have put on clothes for mourning. They would have sat down in ashes. 22 But I tell you this. On judgment day it will be easier for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And what about you, Capernaum? Will you be lifted to the heavens? No! You will go down to the place of the dead. Suppose the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom. It would still be here today. 24 But I tell you this. On judgment day it will be easier for Sodom than for you.”

Rest for All Who Are Tired

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father. You are Lord of heaven and earth. You have hidden these things from wise and educated people. But you have shown them to little children. 26 Yes, Father. This is what you wanted to do.

27 “My Father has given all things to me. The Father is the only one who knows the Son. And the only ones who know the Father are the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to make him known.

28 “Come to me, all you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. 30 Serving me is easy, and my load is light.”

New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

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