Who besides Jesus is greater than the greatest?

Floyd Rogers – Texas Gospel Volunteer, Christian writer

Matthew 11:7-19 NASB:  7 As these disciples of John were going away, Jesus began speaking to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Behold, I am sending My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has been treated violently, and violent men take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. 15 The one who has ears to hear, let him hear. 16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call out to the other children, 17 and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a song of mourning, and you did not mourn.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a heavy drinker, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ And yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”  

The 11th Chapter of Matthew tells us that while John was in prison, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if Jesus is the one, or if there would be another. I think Matthew wrote about this encounter to explain the nature of God’s kingdom.  Let’s look at Jesus’ answer and what can be inferred from it.

“What did you go out into the wilderness to see?” Jesus asked as he began to tell them that John is, “…more than a prophet.” 

Jesus began by making it clear that John is the real deal. He is the greatest born among women.  But he went on to say the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John!  There is a kingdom of Heaven where all are greater than those who have not yet entered.  But what is The Kingdom of Heaven?

Matthew mentions the Kingdom of Heaven 32 times. Other Gospel writers use the phrase, “Kingdom of God,” exclusively. Matthew, who is writing to a Jewish audience, is the only Gospel writer who uses, “Kingdom of Heaven.” He is writing to a Jewish audience to convince them that the Kingdom of Heaven (God’s kingdom) is near but has not yet arrived.  When one considers John’s question, it seems it was not clear to the Jewish community if Messiah would bring a kingdom on earth or if God’s kingdom was in Heaven.   But Jesus told the crowd who heard John’s question that the least in the kingdom of heaven, which is near, is greater than even John!

Our home is not here. I think Matthew 11:16-19 lets us know that while on earth (this generation,) we can expect some to ignore the importance of the gospel or even mock it. We can expect some to falsely accuse those who deliver the Gospel. But these things are nothing compared to eternity.  Who besides Jesus is greater than the greatest? Isn’t the answer, the least of the Kingdom of Heaven?

What are your thoughts?

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