Friday, July 6, 2018

The Least in the Kingdom

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).

While in prison, John the Baptist experienced doubts about Jesus. Remember, this happened before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and John did not have the kinds of “spiritual reserves” that believers enjoyed after Pentecost. He sent his own followers to ask Jesus if He really was the promised Messiah. Jesus replied that they should tell John that “the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Luke 7:22).

After John’s disciples had left, Jesus began to praise John as the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. He told the crowd that John was in fact “more than a prophet,” because he was the promised forerunner of the Messiah (Luke 7:26–27). Then Jesus stated, “among those born of women there is no one greater than John.” He said there was never a prophet greater than John.

Then Jesus stated that he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John. The weakest Christian in all the world is greater than John the Baptist. What did Jesus mean by this? Jesus is not using the word great here in the way we use it, but in a Hebrew sense. We use great to mean a person’s personal achievement, or his value to society. The Hebrew sense, however, sees greatness in terms of one’s capacity to receive blessedness.

Jesus means that though John exercised the highest role of any prophet in history, he did not live to see the full arrival of the messianic age. He lived before the resurrection and ascension of Christ. He lived before the enthronement of Jesus Christ as King. He lived before the coming of the Holy Spirit to bring in the last times.

We who live after these things are “greater” because we have been given a greater blessedness by God. However, because we have a greater privilege, we are also more accountable for our sins and doubts.

Our doubts are more serious because we are doubting in the face of the completed Word of God and in the face of the outpoured Holy Spirit. If you are plagued by doubts about the truthfulness of God, take time today to cry out to Him to reassure you. Restore your confidence and enjoy the blessedness of the kingdom.