1 When Jesus had finished giving these instructions to his twelve disciples, he went off teaching and preaching in towns throughout the country.
2 John the Baptist, who was now in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus,
3 "Are you really the Messiah we've been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?"
4 Jesus told them, "Go back to John and tell him about what you have heard and seen--
5 the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.
6 And tell him: `God blesses those who are not offended by me.*' "1
7 When John's disciples had gone, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. "Who is this man in the wilderness that you went out to see? Did you find him weak as a reed, moved by every breath of wind?
8 Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? Those who dress like that live in palaces, not out in the wilderness.
9 Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet.
10 John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, `Look, I am sending my messenger before you, and he will prepare your way before you.'*2
11 "I assure you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the most insignificant person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!
12 And from the time John the Baptist began preaching and baptizing until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people attack it.*3
13 For before John came, all the teachings of the Scriptures looked forward to this present time.
14 And if you are willing to accept what I say, he is Elijah, the one the prophets said would come.*4
15 Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!
16 "How shall I describe this generation? These people are like a group of children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends,
17 `We played wedding songs, and you weren't happy, so we played funeral songs, but you weren't sad.'
18 For John the Baptist didn't drink wine and he often fasted, and you say, `He's demon possessed.'
19 And I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say, `He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners!' But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it."
20 Then Jesus began to denounce the cities where he had done most of his miracles, because they hadn't turned from their sins and turned to God.
21 "What horrors await you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have sat in deep repentance long ago, clothed in sackcloth and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse.
22 I assure you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on the judgment day than you!
23 And you people of Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to the place of the dead.* For if the miracles I did for you had been done in Sodom, it would still be here today.5
24 I assure you, Sodom will be better off on the judgment day than you."
25 Then Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike.
26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!
27 "My Father has given me authority over everything. No one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.