“I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Luke 7:28 (NIV)
There are many men and women throughout history who are considered to be great, including kings, queens, emperors, politicians, religious leaders, musicians, entertainers, composers, painters, sportsmen, sportswomen, writers, scientists, inventors, soldiers, explorers, pioneers, humanitarians and medical practitioners. Examples of well known individuals from the pages of history are Alexander the Great of Greece (356 -323 B.C.) and Herod the Great, a Roman client king of Judea. As far as historians are concerned, John the Baptist is not counted among those who are great. But where God is concerned John is the greatest human being who ever lived, apart from Jesus Christ, who is both God and man. God does not look on human greatness the way humans think about and assess greatness. “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55: 8-9.
Unlike other human beings, John had the Holy Spirit from birth (Luke 1:15 NKJV). He did not live in a palace; he lived in the wilderness. He did not wear designer clothes; his clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. He did not eat in fine restaurants; his food was locusts and wild honey. (Matthew 3:4) Yet John was greater than the greatest of men or women of this world. His role in life was to prepare the way for the First Coming of Jesus Christ. He never drew attention to himself, and always pointed to Jesus. If we aspire to be great, God does not expect us to live in the wilderness, eating locusts and wild honey, but to serve one another (Matthew 20:26). In so doing, we are serving God: “’When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ The king will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers (and sisters) of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:39-40
As Christians we are Christ’s ambassadors involved in God’s work of preparing the way for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to establish the reign of the kingdom of God. The one who is least in that kingdom is greater than John the Baptist!
Holy Father, please grant us the love and humility to serve others, especially those who belong to the household of faith, knowing that in serving them, we are serving you.
Study by Sherwin Scott
About the Author:
Sherwin Scott is a Deacon in the Grace Communion in Lewes, a congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
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