Greater Than The Greatest
Chan Gin Kai
After John’s messengers left, 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? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 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 7:24-28)
After John’s messengers received Jesus' reply and left, Jesus explained to the crowd that John the Baptist was a great man of God. He described John as steady and not easily swayed, despite the fact that John had just doubted Jesus. He had stumbled.
It is OK to stumble, Jesus understands, and he knows we all do. That doesn’t mean we are weak or useless, it only means we are human. Even as we strive to live in accordance to God’s word, we will have momentary lapses and periods of weakness. Do not despair, for Jesus sees and appreciates our efforts.
Jesus also praised John’s putting aside of material comfort to do God’s work. John was also described as more than a prophet. Jesus quoted Malachi 3:1, which prophesied the coming of John the Baptist, while none of the other prophets were prophesied. Besides, the other prophets could only say, “The Messiah is coming”, but John could say, “The Messiah is here.”
And then came the biggest of all praise – “among those born of women there is no one greater than John.”
Who is born of women? Everyone! That’s right, John the Baptist was greater than Noah the ark builder, Moses the lawgiver, David the King, Elijah the prophet, and everyone else.
And you know what’s more amazing? Do you know who’s even greater than John the Baptist? You are. We, the disciples of Christ, members of God's Kingdom, are greater than John. Yes, Jesus said that, "yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” You are greater than all the Old Testament heroes you love and admire.
“But I am unworthy!” That’s right. “And I am sinful and weak!” That’s true. We do not deserve to be considered equal, least of all greater than any of these incredible men and women of God. But Jesus said so, and he means what he said.
All of our OT heroes, and John the Baptist, lived and died before the completion of Jesus’ work through his death and resurrection. They were part of the Old Covenant; we are part of the New. We are the privileged who are born after Jesus delivered the plan for humanity’s redemption.
Instead of following the law as a fatal must, we have received salvation as a gift, and now obey out of gratitude. We’ve learnt of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and felt God’s abundant grace. The bitterness of our sins is washed away and we’ve tasted the sweetness of mercy. We do not live in fear, but walk in faith, confident that God’s love covers over all our ugly weaknesses. We stand before God flawless and beautiful because of Jesus.
Let us be so thankful for what we have. We are undeserving; yet we have been blessed with love that is beyond our understanding. We can only respond with humility and joy, that Jesus considers us greater than the greatest!
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".