Who Is Greater? (2)

Though John the Baptist exceeded all who went before him, he is “less” than the least of those disciples of Christ who follow the Lord to whom John pointed. His greatness lay in his unprecedented knowledge of the Messiah. Their deeper, clearer understanding of Christ renders the followers of Jesus even “greater” than John. Because of his courageous criticism of Herod, John was cast into prison and later beheaded. He thus did not live to see the ministry of Jesus. John never witnessed the powerful healings and marvelous deliverance from demons which those who believed in Jesus saw. Perhaps that partly explains why he asked, “Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another” (3). Nor did John live to hear the matchless teachings of Christ about the kingdom of God (chapters 5-7, 13, 18, 24, etc.). Most important of all, John did not have the chance to follow Jesus through His last days, as He was mocked, tried, and then cruelly crucified. When the Lord rose victoriously from the grave, only His disciples were allowed to see Him alive again. Finally, when the day of Pentecost arrived, the promised Holy Spirit fell upon Jesus’ disciples, fulfilling ancient promises and bringing them that regeneration without which no one can either see or enter the Kingdom(John 3:3,5). John’s significance lay in his clarion call to repent, and his pointing to Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. Likewise, the goal of our life is achieved when we bear witness to Christ (10:32-33; 28:18-20). What a privilege we have, to surpass even greatest of the Old Testament prophets as we disciple all nations!