After Jesus instructed the disciples on gospel of kingdom ministry in Matt. 10, He continued teaching and preaching in their cities (Matt. 11:1). His purpose was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
The last item listed in Matt. 11:5, "the poor having the gospel preached to them," is the only one requiring human initiative. The blind will not receive sight, lame walk, lepers cleansed, deaf hear and dead raised up unless the gospel of Christ is proclaimed and believed (Is. 35:5-6).
It's true that few believers are preaching the gospel. Studies less than 10% are actively sharing their faith. It's also true that many people refuse to believe the gospel. What roadblocks must be cleared out so we prioritize the preaching of the gospel and for people to believe the message so the blind, lame, lepers, deaf and dead are transformed (Matt. 11:5).
Matthew addresses those who proclaim the gospel first. Like John the Baptist, we must adjust how we view Christ and His work. While in prison, John asked the disciples to send him word whether he should be looking for someone else who would baptize with fire (Matt. 3:11-12; 11:2-3). John expected Christ to judge sinners, but learned His purpose on earth was to show mercy (blind receiving sight, lame walking, etc.). God's love and grace trumped law and wrath.
Rather than criticizing John the Baptist's mistaken notions, Christ praises him for his sacrifice in living out his mission in the wilderness instead of a plush palace (Matt. 11:7-11). How does that relate to us? John was the greatest and last Old Testament prophet. You and I, even the least of us, is greater than John, in Christ's eyes (Matt. 11:11). Seeing how valuable we are in Christ's eyes as a new creation makes all the difference in how we prioritize our job as His ambassador in sharing the gospel with others (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Ambassador is defined as a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another, usually for a specific length of time.
Matthew next addresses those who hear the good news of Christ. The children in Jesus' parable react with frustration because no one will join them in their music because of stubbornness (Matt. 11:16-17). Many people aren't teachable and open. They won't listen to the message of Christ. The Pharisees criticized John because of his extremes in living outside the mainstream. They said Jesus had a demon for the opposite behavior, mixing with sinners (Matt. 11:18-19). Neither could win! Indifference and pride dulled the Pharisees hearing so they wouldn't believe either John's or Christ's message.
Christ applied it more broadly to include hearers of the message in any city where his miracles were done (Matt. 11:20-24). Will recipients of the gospel humble themselves and repent? As people understand God's law for judgment of sin, they will begin to understand their need for the gospel (Rom. 3:19-20).
How will someone come to this realization? God will hide the gospel from the worldly wise but reveal Himself to those with childlike faith. He removes the veil from blind eyes so they see the light of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:3-4). The key is to not adulterate the word of God for personal gain, but to commend, literally meaning to "stand together with someone," ourselves to every man's conscience, literally meaning "know together with someone" (2 Cor. 4:2). In other words, we develop friendships of equality and mutual give-and-take. As our relationship progresses, we develop trust and learn what makes them tick. Our speech can be targeted to meet them at their point of need with the gospel, trusting God to open their hearts to believe it (Matt. 11:26-27).
We invite both the communicators and those who hear the message to remove the heavy yoke--self-pride, self-righteousness, self-sacrifice, self-promotion, self-assertion, and selfishness--replace it with the easy, light, life-giving and freedom-producing yoke of Christ (Matt. 11:28-30).
What is the heavy yoke you are carrying. Come to Christ right now and exchange your heavy yoke with His life-giving yoke. Ask God to lead you to relationships where you can be His ambassador of reconciliation.