7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear! — Matthew 11:7-15.
Jesus states that John was not some easily shaken reed or man in soft clothing, but a prophet. Indeed, he was “The Messenger” foretold by Isaiah (40:3) and Malachi (3:1; 4:5).
As the forerunner of Christ, John was as great as any other teacher, prophet, priest, lawgiver, and king.
In at least three ways, we are “greater” than John the Baptist —
a. In our knowledge of Jesus Christ
b. In our station of life by being in Christ
c. In our privileges offered by Jesus Christ
As the beneficiaries of Christ, even the least of those in His kingdom are greater than John.
If John was so faithful in that which is less, should we not be more diligent when we have that which is more?
(adapted from Mark A. Copeland 2011).
Jesus goes on to say that the kingdom of heaven suffers from violence. Our Lord censures those who oppose Him, John and the kingdom. Then He assures the people that John is “The messenger” and “Elijah” as prophesied by Malachi (4:5).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.