Matthew 11: "Come unto Me"

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 19–20

John the Baptist received the important mission to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. He accomplished this mission by (1) preaching the true spirit and meaning of the law of Moses; (2) teaching people to repent, to be baptized, and to prepare to receive further truth and blessings from the coming Messiah; and (3) testifying that Jesus Christ was that promised Messiah. Apparently, some of John’s followers who were very loyal to him were still not sure if Jesus really was the Messiah, or Christ. True prophets always point us toward Christ and encourage us to come unto Him. Look for what John did to help his followers find Jesus and follow Him instead. Matthew 11 also contains one of the great invitations the Savior Himself made to come unto Him.
John the Baptist preaching

John the Baptist—more than a prophet

Other Accounts of What You Read in Matthew 11

Matthew 11:2–19Luke 7:18–35

Matthew 11:20–24Luke 10:12–15

Matthew 11:25–27Luke 10:21–22

Understanding the Scriptures

Matthew 11

Shew (v. 4)Show 
Offended in me (v. 6)Ashamed of things I do or say 
He that is least in the kingdom of heaven (v. 11)He whom you (the religious leaders) consider the least important; Jesus was referring to Himself 
Suffereth violence (v. 12)Experiences persecution and opposition 
Elias (v. 14)Elijah (Greek form of the Hebrew name; see Bible Dictionary, “Elias,” p. 663) 
Liken (v. 16)Compare 
Lamented (v. 17)Been sorry 
Gluttonous (v. 19)Someone who eats and drinks too much 
Winebibber (v. 19)One who drinks too much wine 
Justified of her children (v. 19)Proved true by works or deeds 
Upbraid (v. 20)Criticize, scold 
Woe (v. 21)Warning 
Sackcloth and ashes (v. 21)The Jewish people put on clothes made of coarse fabric woven from the hair of camels or goats and put ashes on their head as a sign that they were mourning or repenting. 
Tolerable (vv. 22, 24)Better (less punishment) 
Exalted unto heaven (v. 23)Filled with pride 
Labour (v. 28)Work very hard 
Heavy laden (v. 28)Carry heavy loads 
Yoke (vv. 29–30)A wooden frame used by cattle or people to make it easier to carry loads or burdens 


Yoke for cattle

Burden (v. 30)Something a person carries; obligations 

Matthew 11:7–11—“Among Them That Are Born of Women There Hath Not Risen a Greater Than John the Baptist”

The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

“How is it that John was considered one of the greatest prophets? His miracles could not have constituted his greatness.

“First. He was entrusted with a divine mission of preparing the way before the face of the Lord. Whoever had such a trust committed to him before or since? No man.

“Secondly. He was entrusted with the important mission, and it was required at his hands, to baptize the Son of Man. Whoever had the honor of doing that? Whoever had so great a privilege or glory? Whoever led the Son of God into the waters of baptism, and had the privilege of beholding the Holy Ghost descend in the form of a dove, or rather in the sign of a dove, in witness of that administration. …

“Thirdly. John, at that time, was the only legal administrator in the affairs of the kingdom there was then on the earth, and holding the keys of power. … These three reasons constitute him the greatest prophet born of a woman” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 275–76).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Matthew 11.

Activity A iconReport Back

Matthew 11:1–19 tells about two disciples of John the Baptist who came to see what Jesus did and taught. Jesus told them to go back to John and tell what they saw and heard. Based on what you read in these nineteen verses, write three things you would have told John when you returned if you had been with those two men. Include the miracles you would have seen and the truths you would have heard Jesus teach.

Activity B icon“Come unto Me”

  1. 1.

    After telling about the punishments that would come upon the wicked who rejected Him (see Matthew 11:20–24), what did Jesus promise in Matthew 11:28–30 to those who learn of and obey Him?

  2. 2.

    What kinds of labor and heavy burdens do you think Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 11:28?

  3. 3.

    Some people think that what Jesus asks of us is a burden. From the following list, choose three of what some might consider heavy burdens and explain why you think they are light burdens to those who follow Christ.

    • Paying tithing

    • Attending Church for three hours each week

    • Attending seminary

    • Fasting

    • Serving a mission

    • Staying morally clean