7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John. He said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? Tall grass waving in the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No. People who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 He is the one written about in Scripture. It says, “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you. He will prepare your way for you.’ (Malachi 3:1) 11 “What I’m about to tell you is true. No one more important than John the Baptist has ever been born. But the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is more important than he is. 12 Since the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom of heaven has been advancing with force. And forceful people are taking hold of it. 13 All the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John came. 14 If you are willing to accept it, John is the Elijah who was supposed to come. 15 Those who have ears should listen. 16 “What can I compare today’s people to? They are like children sitting in the market places and calling out to others. They say, 17 “‘We played the flute for you. But you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song. But you didn’t become sad.’ 18 When John came, he didn’t eat or drink as you do. And people say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 But when the Son of Man came, he ate and drank as you do. And people say, ‘This fellow is always eating and drinking far too much. He’s a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ Those who act wisely prove that wisdom is right.”
In this passage Jesus gives an amazing public affirmation of John. He identifies him as one who was greater than any other prophet because he was the most immediate forerunner of the Messiah to whom all other prophets pointed. Jesus also refers to two Old Testament prophets – [Isaiah and Malachi] – and declares that John was the Elijah who was to come [see Malachi 4:4,5], and that his role was to announce the arrival of the Messiah.
As great as John the Baptist was, he was the least in the Kingdom of God which Jesus came to bring into being. For us it is inconceivable that we should be greater than John in this Kingdom. But it is so, because Jesus declared it to be so. What a great privilege it is to be a participant in this Kingdom, to enjoy the benefits and blessings which are guaranteed by the King Himself.
We honour you Sovereign King by receiving daily the blessings/benefits as part of Your Kingdom. Through the Holy Spirit, grant that we will continue to appropriate all that You have for us by faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Written by Keith Bennett