John the Baptist languished in prison and his spirit was at its lowest ebb. He sent two of his disciples to Jesus to inquire if Jesus was truly the Christ. Jesus answered by saying:
Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. (Luke 7:22)
Jesus did not give a four-point sermon on why He was the Christ, but instead, He pointed to His acts, demonstrating that the kingdom of God had arrived on earth. He was the King of Kings and the Head of the kingdom of God on earth.
The two disciples of John the Baptist were satisfied with Jesus’ answer and departed.
Jesus then spoke about John the Baptist and his ministry. He stated that John was the messenger who prepared the way for Jesus and He added:
“For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist…” (Luke 7:28-a)
You have to remember that Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, and all of the prophets were revered by the Jews. Thus, when Jesus ranked John the Baptist at the top of the list, His words flabbergasted and astounded every listener.
Yet, the second part of Jesus statement was even more amazing –
“…but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John.” (Luke 7:28-b)
When Jesus stated that the lowest member of the kingdom of God – the one who got in by the skin of his teeth – was greater than John, Jesus was not referring to a person’s eternal rank or position. This could not be the case because all of the Old Covenant’s prophets’ positions for all of eternity were already set in place by God’s word. No one can ever usurp their positions in the kingdom of God.
So, what was Jesus referring to when He spoke Luke 7:28-b?
(Continued in Part 6)