Matthew 11 begins the third narrative section, but as you will quickly see, even in narrative, Jesus is teaching. In chapters eleven and twelve, the Lord turns to the subject of “the judgment” – mentioned more in these two chapters than in any other section in Matthew.
Matthew begins with a story about John the Baptist. It is not to John’s credit that he is now questioning Jesus. But the thing is, Jesus is not behaving as John expects the Messiah to behave, and that is causing John to question Jesus’ real identity.
The Lord responds by reminding John that he (Jesus) is doing things only a Messiah can do. John must change his notions of the Messiah and yield to the reality that is Jesus.
But Jesus (and Matthew) then turns to comment on those who come to him. John is doubtful because Jesus is not behaving as John thinks he ought. But the people are doubtful because neither Jesus nor John behave as the people desire. No matter what great things might be done, if it is not what the people expect or want, they reject it. That’s why judgment will be so harsh for them.
A Havard professor opined recently that the American people do not want to know what the constitution allows, they want the constitution to allow what they want it to allow. Christians often buy into a similar notion: they do not want what Jesus offers and they do not want to do as Jesus directs. They want Jesus to offer what they want, and approve what they want to do. Jesus’ reply is: Hell will be hotter for those people than even for the wicked of Sodom.