Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Matthew 11:3

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Art thou he that should come - Ο ερχομενος, he that cometh, seems to have been a proper name of the Messiah; to save or deliver is necessarily implied. See on Luke 7:19; (note).

There is some difficulty in what is here spoken of John. Some have thought he was utterly ignorant of our Lord's Divine mission, and that he sent merely for his own information; but this is certainly inconsistent with his own declaration, Luke 3:15, etc.; John 1:15, John 1:26, John 1:33, John 3:28, etc. Others suppose he sent the message merely for the instruction of his disciples; that, as he saw his end approaching, he wished them to have the fullest conviction that Jesus was the Messiah, that they might attach themselves to him.

A third opinion takes a middle course between the two former, and states that, though John was at first perfectly convinced that Jesus was the Christ, yet, entertaining some hopes that he would erect a secular kingdom in Judea, wished to know whether this was likely to take place speedily. It is very probable that John now began, through the length of his confinement, to entertain doubts, relative to his kingdom, which perplexed and harassed his mind; and he took the most reasonable way to get rid of them at once, viz. by applying to Christ himself.

Two of his disciples - Instead of δυο, two, several excellent MSS., with both the Syriac, Armenian, Gothic, and one copy of the Itala, have δια, by; he sent by his disciples.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Art thou he that should come? - That is, Art thou the Messiah, or the Christ? The Jews expected a Saviour. His coming had been long foretold, Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 9:1-6; Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 35:4-6; Isaiah 53:1-12; Daniel 9:24-27. See also John 6:14. Compare Deuteronomy 18:18-19. In common language, therefore, he was familiarly described as “he that was to come.” Luke adds here Luke 7:21, that at the time when the messengers came to him, Jesus “cured many of their infirmities, and plagues, and of evil spirits.” An answer was therefore ready to the inquiries of John.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
Reflecting Christ, 352

Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13. RC 352.1

Let everyone who names the name of Christ read this scripture again and again, and then inquire, Am I clothed with the whole armor of God, that I may be a successful colaborer with Christ? The more we know of ourselves, the more we probe our motives and desires, the more heartfelt will be our consciousness of our utter inability to fight the battle of the Lord in our Own strength.... RC 352.2

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 34-6

From Herod's dungeon, where in disappointment and perplexity concerning the Saviour's work, John the Baptist watched and waited, he sent two of his disciples to Jesus with the message: MH 34.1

“Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” Matthew 11:3. MH 34.2

The Saviour did not at once answer the disciples’ question. As they stood wondering at His silence, the afflicted were coming to Him. The voice of the Mighty Healer penetrated the deaf ear. A word, a touch of His hand, opened the blind eyes to behold the light of day, the scenes of nature, the faces of friends, and the face of the Deliverer. His voice reached the ears of the dying, and they arose in health and vigor. Paralyzed demoniacs obeyed His word, their madness left them, and they worshiped Him. The poor peasants and laborers, who were shunned by the rabbis as unclean, gathered about Him, and He spoke to them the words of eternal life. MH 34.3

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Ellen G. White
Education, 157-8

Jonathan, by birth heir to the throne, yet knowing himself set aside by the divine decree; to his rival the most tender and faithful of friends, shielding David's life at the peril of his own; steadfast at his father's side through the dark days of his declining power, and at his side falling at the last—the name of Jonathan is treasured in heaven, and it stands on earth a witness to the existence and the power of unselfish love. Ed 157.1

John the Baptist, at his appearance as the Messiah's herald, stirred the nation. From place to place his steps were followed by vast throngs of people of every rank and station. But when the One came to whom he had borne witness, all was changed. The crowds followed Jesus, and John's work seemed fast closing. Yet there was no wavering of his faith. “He must increase,” he said, “but I must decrease.” John 3:30. Ed 157.2

Time passed, and the kingdom which John had confidently expected was not established. In Herod's dungeon, cut off from the life-giving air and the desert freedom, he waited and watched. Ed 157.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 214-20

This chapter is based on Matthew 11:1-11; Matthew 14:1-11; Mark 6:17-28; Luke 7:19-28.

John the Baptist had been first in heralding Christ's kingdom, and he was first also in suffering. From the free air of the wilderness and the vast throngs that had hung upon his words, he was now shut in by the walls of a dungeon cell. He had become a prisoner in the fortress of Herod Antipas. In the territory east of Jordan, which was under the dominion of Antipas, much of John's ministry had been spent. Herod himself had listened to the preaching of the Baptist. The dissolute king had trembled under the call to repentance. “Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy; ... and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” John dealt with him faithfully, denouncing his iniquitous alliance with Herodias, his brother's wife. For a time Herod feebly sought to break the chain of lust that bound him; but Herodias fastened him the more firmly in her toils, and found revenge upon the Baptist by inducing Herod to cast him into prison. DA 214.1

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