Who Is Greater?

Jesus’ evaluation of John comes through loud and clear: He was the greatest person born up to that time. Why? Because he bravely rebuked King Herod for his adultery, and suffered imprisonment and finally death? Or was it his firm, unbending conviction that led him to preach repentance for sin? He surely was no “reed shaken by the wind” (7). Nor did he indulge in luxury, for he was not “clothed in soft garments,” but “in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist” (8; 3:4). He also exercised strict self-control, so that Jesus said that he “came neither eating nor drinking” (18) – referring to John’s simple diet (3:4). Like Jesus who followed him, John suffered abuse and rejection, for people said that his simple lifestyle showed that he was demon-possessed. Though all of these qualities show John to be an extraordinary man, Jesus called him great for another reason: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You” (10, quoting Malachi 3:1). John was great, because God made him so. In particular, John prepared the way for Jesus (10). Unlike other prophets, he not only predicted the coming of the Messiah, but pointed Him out when He arrived on the bank of the Jordan (John 1:29). John looked for Christ, spoke of Christ, oriented his entire life towards Christ, and finally saw Christ. May we be like him!