Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
John the Baptist: Greatest Among Those Born of Women
I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty
John’s first recorded words were “repent for the kingdom of God is near” (Matt 3:2), he urged the people to turn away from their sins, but recognized he was not the one to save them. Prophets spoke of the Messiah that would bring his kingdom, but John saw it almost first handedly. He ushered the kingdom of God by introducing Jesus as the “lamb who would take away the sins of the world” (Jn 1:29). John also had the qualities of Elijah who called nations to repent and criticized governments and religious leaders for not showing any fruit of their repentance (Matt 3:7-10). But we truly understand why Jesus calls John the greatest in the next verse, “who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he”. The disciples actively sought greatness and recognition for following Jesus, and Jesus often rebuked them for thinking in this way (Mk 9:34). However, John’s ministry was to make the savior known not with prideful boasting, but with humble rejoicing. John’s baptism was to help the people realize their need of a savior, but Jesus’s baptism would be what effectively saves them from their sins. Jesus is the “refiner’s fire” that burns away all impurities, HE is the “launderer’s soap” that washes clothes as white as snow (Mal 3:2). John was just a man who witnessed the true light of the world, that is what made him great. John is the great “I am not” while Jesus is the great “I am”. In this season, we should pray to make Jesus more known and celebrated like John did. The gospel is the greatest news the world will ever receive, John knew this and sought to be lesser as HE became greater. Let’s approach the Christmas season with the same mentality and attitude, so Jesus’ greatness would be on full display.
Lord, help us find peace and strength in knowing you. You are the only one who can satisfy our soles and in you alone, at your right hand, there are pleasures forever more. Like John the Baptist, give us a spirit of boldness and humility to make you known, so our friends, neighbors, and even strangers would come to know you as Lord and that they would be counted towards your kingdom.
Thought for the Day
There is no peace like the peace of those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has known them, and that this relationship guarantees God’s favor to them in life, through death and on forever.
J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Shane Thomas, Long Island Mar Thoma Church, New York