And from the days of John ... - That is, from the days when John began to preach. It is not known how long this was, but it was not probably more than a year. Our Saviour here simply states a fact. He says there was a great rush or a crowd pressing to hear John. Multitudes went out to hear him, as if they were about to take the kingdom of heaven by force. See Matthew 3:5. So, he says, it has continued. Since "the kingdom of heaven," or "the gospel," has been preached, there has been a "rush" to it. People have been "earnest" about it; they have come "pressing" to obtain the blessing, as if they would take it by violence. There is allusion here to the manner in which cities were taken. Besiegers "pressed" upon them with violence and demolished the walls. With such "earnestness" and "violence," he says, people had pressed around him and John since they began to preach. There is no allusion here to the manner in which individual sinners seek salvation, but it is a simple record of the fact that multitudes had thronged around him and John to hear the gospel.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Matthew 11:12:
2 Corinthians 12:2
1 Thessalonians 4:17
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