“Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” vs. 11
In Matthew’s estimation there is a great divide between John and Jesus. John was the best and the greatest of the prophets; he was articulate and spoke the truth to those in power. He announced that the kingdom of heaven had come and told people to repent so that they could be included. At its best John’s message lacked grace and was full of law. Forgiveness came as the result of repentance and change…and people liked what they heard and flocked to be baptized. Jesus also announced that the kingdom of heaven had come near but he didn’t baptize anyone. Instead he fed people, healed them of their infirmities, and made them whole. He brought good news to the lowly and the poor and showered their lives with mercy and forgiveness. We still struggle with those two approaches to kingdom living. John’s message resonates with our default position…from birth we’re programmed to believe that being good is a product of hard work and resolve. But often that system leaves us guilt-ridden and spiritually empty. But Jesus is still hanging around…he comes to us as the Christ and showers us with unconditional love and unlimited forgiveness. He fills up our hungry hearts and restores us to holiness. In him we become the wonderful people we’ve been made to be…in him we’re even greater than John the Baptist.
Thought for the Day: How is my hungry heart filled?