Matthew 11:2

ESV Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples
NIV When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples
NASB Now while in prison, John heard about the works of Christ, and he sent word by his disciples,
CSB Now when John heard in prison what the Christ was doing, he sent a message through his disciples
NLT John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus,
KJV Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

What does Matthew 11:2 mean?

John the Baptist is a central figure in Matthew's telling of the story of Jesus. Before Jesus' public ministry began, John lived in the wild and preached that the people of Israel should repent because the kingdom of heaven was near. He baptized many Israelites in the Jordan River as a sign of their repentance before God (Matthew 3:1–6).

John's mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah, and He recognized Jesus as the One: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel" (John 1:29–31). John's understanding was that the Messiah was coming to bring judgment on those in Israel who did not repent (Matthew 3:7–12).

Jesus insisted that John baptize Him, as well. That's the moment when Jesus saw the Holy Spirit descend onto Him like a dove, and God the Father's voice was heard saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). Not long after that, John the Baptist was arrested and imprisoned by Herod Antipas, also known as Herod the tetrarch: ruler over parts of Israel under the authority of the Romans. Matthew 14 explains why John was arrested: He had spoken out against Herod's sin in marrying his brother's wife (Matthew 14:3–4).

Now Jesus receives a message from John, still in prison, through John's disciples. Scholars tell us John was imprisoned at Herod's fortress east of the Dead Sea, a place called Machaerus. He has been there for as long as a year at this point, but he has heard reports about what Jesus has been doing.

Many teachers had disciples. John's disciples were still loyal to him and serving him despite his imprisonment. They delivered John's question to Jesus.
What is the Gospel?
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