11. GOOD NEWS FOR THE POOR (Matt.11:1-6)

BACKGROUND: John the Baptist, now 30 years old, was the man who had baptized Jesus and witnessed how the Holy Spirit descended on him from heaven. In his answer to John, Jesus is quoting the prophet Isaiah. (Is.35:5,6 and Is.61:1). The leader should read these verses.
  1. John the Baptist was imprisoned in the midst of a flourishing ministry for having criticized King Herod for his adultery. Which aspects of his imprisonment were perhaps most frustrating for him?
    • When John had met Jesus for the first time, he had said: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). What made him now doubt his previous convictions?
       
  2. What conclusion would John have to draw about his own life if it became clear that Jesus had after all not been Christ?
    • If you have ever doubted whether Jesus is God or not, in which circumstances did it happen?
       
  3. When sending his disciples to Jesus, do you think John expected him to come and free him from prison in a miraculous way (verses 2-3)? Give your reasons.
    • Why didn't Jesus come and visit John in prison?
       
  4. Why didn't Jesus simply answer to John's question: "Yes, it is I. You don't have to wait for anyone else"? (Why did Jesus want to answer with a quotation from the Old Testament?)
    • How do you feel if you get from your friend a Bible verse in the midst of your sorrows?
    • While quoting Isaiah, why did Jesus skip the promise about the Messiah freeing prisoners?
       
  5. Which words in Jesus' reply could John apply to himself?
    • The phrase "the good news" means above all the forgiveness of sins (vs.5). For which sin did John need God's forgiveness in that situation?
    • Why does God often make his believers as "poor" as John the Baptist was in prison?
       
  6. What do Jesus' words in verse 6 mean?
    • According to this passage, what should we do if we become offended by the way Jesus treats our loved ones and us?
       
  7. How do you think John felt about Jesus' answer? (Did he get peace in his heart before he died?)
    • John had been a true believer for all his life. How do you think his faith changed through this last contact with Jesus?
       
  8. What did John probably think about his life and death, when Herod's henchman came to cut his head off?

GLAD TIDINGS: Jesus said that he came to "preach the good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives... to comfort all who mourn" (Is.61:1-2). He comes also to you today and does all that - through his word.

2012 Glad Tidings Bible Studies - www.gladtidings-bs.com