Matthew 11:4

ESV And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
NIV Jesus replied, 'Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
NASB Jesus answered and said to them, 'Go and report to John what you hear and see:
CSB Jesus replied to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see:
NLT Jesus told them, 'Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen —
KJV Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:

What does Matthew 11:4 mean?

John the Baptist's disciples have come to Jesus with a question. John has heard about everything Jesus has been doing, and he wants to know if Jesus is the "one who is to come" or if they should be looking for someone else?

At first glance, this seems like a strange question from John the Baptist. He was the one who declared Jesus to be "the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29–31). He was the one who said he was not worthy even to tie Jesus' sandals (John 1:27). He also was present when God's voice spoke from heaven and declared that Jesus was His beloved Son.

It's even stranger, in a way, because John is responding to what he has heard about Jesus' ministry. Christ was going about Galilee, miraculously healing every kind of disease and affliction. He effortlessly cast out demons. He powerfully preached about the coming kingdom. Looking back, with the advantage of hindsight, we might think of these as obvious signs.

It's likely John was expecting Jesus to bring immediate judgment on those in Israel who had not repented of their sins. Perhaps John expected that judgment to reach his own captor, Herod Antipas, the Jewish ruler over parts of Israel under the rule of the Romans. From John's perspective, it might have seemed strange that Jesus had not yet brought earthly judgment. For many people of that era, who had lived under constant oppression, this was a common misunderstanding (John 6:15; Matthew 16:21–23). It would not be until after Christ's death and resurrection that the details prophesied in the Old Testament would become clear (John 2:22).

Another possibility is that John's question is not so much an expression of doubt as impatience—the equivalent of asking, "Jesus, are you going to do these things, or not?"

Jesus now instructs the messengers to go and tell John what they have witnessed. Jesus spells that out in the following verses, and John would have understood Him to be referencing passages in Isaiah about the coming Messiah. This is Jesus' evidence to John that He truly is the One who was to come.
What is the Gospel?
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