Wednesday Word 12.18.2019
Matthew 11:2-11 New International Version
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” 7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
That last line can leave those of us in the modern age scratching our heads just a little. Our culture has the tendency to hero-worship. It doesn’t matter what kind of hero it is. We idolize them all! Movie stars, ball players, musicians, and more capture our fancy and are revered for their accomplishments. Even the humble and selfless become heroic in our eyes. Mother Teresa even won a Nobel Prize! If we admire people for the right things, they can be a source of inspiration and encouragement. John the Baptist lived his entire life in obedience to God. So when Jesus says John the Baptist has risen to greatness among men, but that the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he…well, that’s kind of confusing to me.
I went looking for help. John Wesley, in his Explanatory Notes, interpreted Verse 11 to mean that while John was born of a woman and was considered “perfect” under the law, those who would be born again in the Holy Spirit with the fullness of the Gospel story, would be even greater. Those in the Kingdom of Heaven will have embraced that Gospel story and will be in an even deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, who will have made it possible through his sacrifice. That story had not yet been fulfilled. John died before it came to pass.
Nevertheless, John had done his part. I can’t help but believe His place in the Kingdom will be secured! You know the Gospel Story. As we await the Savior’s birth, ask yourself: what part are you going to play in the Kingdom? What part are you playing right now?…something to pray about.
Your sister in Christ, Vicki