Matthew 11:15
The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. It is difficult to accept restfully any of the explanations offered of this very bold figure. We cannot think who had been showing such "violence" in pushing into Christ's new kingdom. Evidently our Lord is dealing with John's mistake. He was filled with doubts because Christ's ways were so gentle. If Jesus meant to establish the Messianic kingdom, John felt that he would have to put more force into it. So Jesus, thinking of this idea of John's, says, "It is the common mistake men have made ever since that vigorous ministry of John's. Everybody seems to think the Messianic kingdom is to be established by violence. They are all tempting me to use force." Men were disposed violently to hurry the kingdom into premature existence. They will have it now. They will take it by storm. ]PGBR>

I. MEN'S WAY OF GETTING THE KINGDOM. Because the only kingdom they could realize was an outward one, some good they could possess, some liberty, some position, some rights and privileges, some wealth which they could gain and hold, therefore they thought they must grasp, and push, and strive, and fight. These are men's ways of getting all kinds of outside good. Illustrate by the crowding and pushing to get the benefits of our Lord's healings. To get something men can be violent; each striving to be first, and the "violent taking by force."

II. CHRIST'S WAY OF GETTING MEN INTO THE KINGDOM. He evidently trusted to first getting the kingdom into them; for to him the kingdom was inward, a state of mind and heart, a gracious relation with God, character moulded to the Divine image, and then conduct ruled by the Divine will. From our Lord's point of view there was no room for physical force, though plenty of room for moral energy. Violence was altogether unsuitable; indeed, as he taught in the sermon on the mount, the gentle and submissive elements of character, rather than the strong and forceful, made ways into his kingdom. The best comment on our Lord's words here - a comment which brings out clearly enough that he is rebuking the violence of those who use force, and in no way praising it - is found in the familiar but most gentle and gracious words of vers. 28-30. - R.T.







He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
I. Take heed THAT ye hear.

1. This implies willingness to hear; it pre-supposes a mind exempt from prejudice.

2. It implies devout earnestness to hear.

II. Take heed HOW ye hear.

1. This means that we should seek to understand the gospel.

2. That we should endeavour to experience the gospel.

3. That we should reduce what we learn to practice.

III. Take head WHAT ye hear.

1. You should desire to hear the Word of God.

2. The pure Word of God.

3. The plain Word of God.

4. The sure Word of God.

5. The living Word of God.

(J. C. Jones.)

What a man can do, that he ought to do. If he can hear, let him hear; yes, and if he can see, let him see; if he can serve, let him serve; if he can pray, let him pray. Men can hear much that they do not hear. An average ear, we are told, is able to recognize about a thousand musical tones. Speaking roughly, the human ear is so constructed that all tones, from that which is caused by fifty vibrations in a second to that which is caused by five thousand vibrations in a second, can be distinctly received and discriminated. How much we lose, for example, in walking through a wood, if we are ignorant of the notes of the various birds we hear around us; how much the scene gains in interest and charm when we have learned to recognize them, and can call up a picture of the birds in their several haunts. Nay, how many more distinct tones we hear in the sweet general babble of the woods, if we are able to recognize the several notes of which it is composed

(Carpus, in "Expositor.")

Remember what lovely and pathetic parables our Lord was for ever hearing, as well as speaking, when He dwelt among us. For Him the whole realm of Nature was instinct with spiritual significance, and all the relations, occupations, and events of human life. For Him they had voices, and voices that disclosed their inmost secret. The birds of the air spoke to Him, and the lilies of the field, and the sower going forth to sow, and the housewife sweeping her floor or making her bread, and the very children as they played and wrangled in the market-place. What a world that was through which He moved; with what sweet and delicate voices it greeted Him; what tender and lovely stories they were always telling Him; what spiritual messages and consolations and encouragements and hopes they were for ever bringing Him.

(Carpus, in "Expositor.")

When Julius Mascaron preached before the French Court, some envious persons would have made a crime of the freedom with which he announced the truths of Christianity to King Louis XIV. His Majesty very spiritedly rebuked them, saying, "He has done his duty; it remains for us to do ours."

(Percy.)

There is a story of two men, who, walking together, found a young tree laden with fruit. They both gathered, and satisfied themselves for the present; but one of them took all the remaining fruit and carried it away with him; the other took the tree, and planted it in his own ground, where it prospered and brought forth fruit every year; so that though the former had more at present, yet this had some when he had none. They who hear the Word, and have large memories and nothing else, may carry away most of the Word at present; yet he that can perhaps but remember little, who carries away the tree, plants the Word in his heart, and obeys it in his life, shall have fruit when the other has none.

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