Following an introductory verse (v. 1), Matthew groups together teaching on the developing relationship between John and Jesus (vv. 2–19): John’s question about Jesus (vv. 2–6), Jesus’ views of John (vv. 7–15), and Jesus’ rebuke of “this generation” for its response to both John and himself (vv. 16–19). Next, vv. 20–24 more directly threaten judgment upon the unrepentant cities in which Jesus had worked many of his miracles. By way of contrast, the chapter concludes with Jesus’ offer of rest for the spiritually weary (vv. 25–30).
Ver. 1.—Matthew only. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end. The same formula recurs in ch. 7:28; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1. In all five cases it marks the end of important speeches. (1) The sermon on the mount (ch. 5–7:27); (2) the charge to the disciples (ch. 10:5–42); (3) the parables (ch. 13:1–52); (4) discourses to the disciples (ch. 18.); (5) prophecies about the end of the world, etc. (ch. 24., 25). (Cf. Introduction, p. iii) for the bearing that this has upon the sources of the Gospel.) Of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence. Whence? We have no knowledge. Perhaps the place had been named in the original context, from which the discourse was derived. Ch. 9:35 suggests that it was some place on his journey (cf. Alford), but our verse in itself implies rather some fixed centre of work, e.g. Capernaum. To teach and to preach in their cities. If he ceases to speak at length, it is that he may begin more aggressive work (cf. ch. 7:28, 29; 13:53, 54). Their. It is hardly by accident that the word recurs, with the same reference, as it seems, to the Jews generally, in the passages just quoted (cf. ch. 12:9, note).
Vers. 2–24.—JESUS THE ONE THAT SHOULD COME.
(1) Vers. 2–6: The Baptist’s question, and its answer: the Coming One has come.
(2) Vers. 7–15: Jesus’ recognition of the greatness of John as herald.
(3) Vers. 16–19: Yet both John and he himself are rejected.
(4) Vers. 20–24: Woe on those who disregard the signs of God’s work.
Vers. 2–6.—The Baptist’s question, and its answer. Parallel passage: Luke 7:18–23.