Posted By Nan

Matthew 11:7-11.
Having sent John’s disciples back to him with Jesus’ message, Jesus now talks to the crowds about John. In this section, Jesus gives John praise and that is why Barclay referred to this as Jesus “accent of admiration”.
Jesus asked the people if they went out into the desert to see an ordinary person. Of course not, John was an extraordinary person. Did they go out to see someone who was unable to express a strong opinion, a “fence sitter”? No one would go out into the desert for someone like that. Then he asked if they went out to see a man dressed in beautiful, luxurious robes. This is the man who knows how to flatter rulers and leaders. John was not a man like that, he spoke the truth to everyone, even rulers and leaders. Finally, Jesus asked if they went out to see a prophet. By this He meant a man who had confidence in God and spoke the truth from God. He had a message and the courage to deliver it. He had God’s wisdom in his mind, God’s truth on his lips and God’s courage in his heart. Jesus confirmed this is who the people went to see, but John is more. He is the one spoken of by Isaiah (40:3) and Malachi (3:1) who will proclaim the coming Messiah.
Having spoken this great praise about John and his mighty ministry, Jesus then announced that the least in the Kingdom of Heaven will be greater than John. What does that mean? Hasn’t Jesus just sung John’s praises and spoken of his greatness? Jesus was referring to the fact that John had not seen the cross. Those who see the cross receive the greatest revelation of the love of God that it is possible to receive. But this is what John had not seen, because it had not happened and would not until after he was dead. John was able to alert people to the fact of their sinfulness. This was necessary in order for them to receive the good news about God’s love and redemption. It is not possible to receive forgiveness until you are aware of the need for forgiveness. As in the time John warned the people of the need to repent, we also need to be aware of our sin and, where directed by God, to alert others of their sin. No one can come to Jesus without an awareness of their sinfulness. Sometimes God does bring people across the path of another to alert him to his sinfulness, other times just entering the presence of God, as happened to Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5 is enough to convict a person of their sinfulness. I know that was my experience of coming to faith in Jesus. Just standing in the presence of God was enough to convict me of my need of a saviour!
Are you or can you be greater than John and experience that revelation of the love of God that allows our sins to be forgiven through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross?

 
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Nan
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