The followers of Jesus are greater than John the Baptist

CM Capture 2

“I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John [the Baptist}. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” ~ Luke 7:28

“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” ~ Matthew 11:11

I was thinking about this passage of Scripture this morning. It’s an unusual statement Jesus makes here. John the Baptist was the greatest prophet of the Old Testament era, yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he was.

I think this is because John had a mission, having been sent by God to “make straight the way of the Lord…”

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’” ~ Matthew 3:1-12

I think John tells us, here, why the least in the kingdom of heaven would be greater than he: the one coming after him, Jesus, shall baptize this followers with the Holy Spirit, whereas John only baptized with water.

Think about Peter, who, after he received the Holy Spirit, did virtually everything Jesus did, including healing multitudes and raising the dead. And we are to do the same, after we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, and walk after him and not our own desires.

I was thinking about this passage, today, because I look pretty rough, I guess, from traveling and sleeping on the streets, especially in contrast to many people around me who look nice, being well groomed, clean, and well dressed.

Look at John:

“Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.”

He looked pretty rough too, didn’t he? I don’t think camel’s hair and leather belts were the latest fashion trend… I think John must have looked like a wild man in who lived out in the desert… yet the average people heard him gladly, repented at his preaching, and were baptized by him.

Contrast these average people with the Pharisees and Sadducees, who looked, in their day, like the professional peoples of our own day: well dressed, well groomed, well fed, well off, and feeling they had no need to repent.

The gospel goes to the poor, the Bible tells us, and the Bible also says it’s impossible for the rich to be saved; mainly because they don’t feel needy, whereas the poor do. And because the rich are arrogant and prideful, whereas the poor are not.

Being a follower of Jesus is to be counter-cultural. Counter the ways of this world: success, fashion, fame, and fortune… all those things we cannot take with us beyond the graves we will all soon be occupying…

“Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” ~ Luke 12:33

A hard saying, is it not?

John the Baptist sounds even worse:

“Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

About Jesus, John said:

“His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

All of which sounds pretty serious to me.

See: Franco Zeffirelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth” (1977) – http://youtu.be/ShSerVAKObU

About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
This entry was posted in Bible, Charity, Culture, Ethics, history, Money, Religion, Society, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The followers of Jesus are greater than John the Baptist

  1. In Lk. 18, after the rich ruler refuses to sell his treasured possessions and give to the poor, and follow Jesus, Jesus says it is impossible for such rich people to enter his kingdom (18:22-25). But when some ask who then can be saved, Jesus says what is impossible with men is possible with God (18:26-27). Then in Lk. 19:1-10 a rich tax collector, Zacchaeus, repents and gives half of his goods to the poor, and repays fourfold what he defrauded. Jesus then says salvation has come to this house.
    Jesus’ kingdom is indeed a counter-culture of downward mobility, where some (even a few rich) are empowered by the Spirit to love God rather than mammon, to exchange treasures on earth for treasures in heaven, to show compassion to the poor. Jesus blesses his poor disciples with this new kingdom, with his Spirit (and the fruit of the Spirit, like love and kindness). (In the kingdom of John the Baptist, the kingdom of Israel, the law of Moses promised blessings like a fruitful land and family to those who obeyed the laws of this covenant. Thus, the question in Lk. 18:26 about who can be saved if not those most blessed, the rich.)

  2. The Cost of Discipleship = “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” ~ Jesus (in Luke 14:33)

    “Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” ~ Jesus (in Luke 14:25-33)

    See: https://ajmacdonaldjr.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/the-cost-of-being-a-disciple-of-jesus-christ-everything/

    See also: http://www.amazon.com/The-World-Perceived-Phenomenological-In-The-World/dp/1440462143

  3. Pingback: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” | A. J. MacDonald, Jr.

  4. Zohar says:

    Its simple: “Among those who born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist”, cristhians couldn’t accept this, because Jesus born of a woman, so they added “yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he”. In the gospel of Thomas they used another different addition/artiluge “Form Adam to John”, to the sentence “Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist, so much, that his eyes will not broken”. When John said “after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry” John was speaking for presumption, because leater, when he was in jail, he sent his messengers to ask Jesus “Are you who are we waiting for, or we have to wait for another?”, in other words, Jesus didnt fullfil John’s spectatives, . The so called “gospel of John” center its efforts to minimize John till the begining, ¿why do you think it is so?, and it is so different and inconsistent with the others that its evident that this gospel was invented by cristhians, it contradicts repetitively Jesus: Jesus Christ (Mathew/Mark) vs. Hesus Krishna (John). Its incredible what one could see about John, the “puppet” of cristhians, when you investigate what really Jesus said about him, and what really said ALL THE PROPHETS about him, just as Jesus said (All the prophets, including those not judeochristians, see Astvat Ereta, the inmortal, whose eyes will be not broken, Pyshishyaotna [second incarnation of Enoch, the second in the apocalypse and the apocalypse of Elijah], and Meher, the lord of all regions and countries [Jesus]). When you consider the adultarations and additions that christians made to the scriptures…. ¿do you realize that John is the beheaded lamb? (Jesus WASN’T beheded) Jesus said that he will put in order everything (he didnt said exactly this, once more: christian adulterations), and he is Elijah incarnated (christians didnt want to accept incarnation, and added “he is THAT Elijah” to the sentence “HE IS ELIJAH”), who WILL come (and they changed “who will come” for “who comes” or “who came”). I have too much things to say about this, but my english isn’t enough. Open your mind and you will see incredible things about this topic, how fascinating is the future. “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the YHVH. “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the Earth (ERETZ) with complete destruction (Jerem, wich cannot be translated in one word, because it means destruction, but complete, you need two words).” One again, christians couldn’t accept this, couldn’t accept that litteraly Elijah WILL SAVE THE WORLD, and changed Earth by land, and Complete destruction by ‘a curse’.

    We celebrate the Fravardin of the righteous Ukhshyat-ereta; (First coming: Elijah)
    We celebrate the Fravaedin of the righteous Ukhshyat-nemah; (Second coming: Yojanan)
    We celebrate the Fravardin of the righteous ASTVAT-ERETA; (Third coming; in these days, three comings, see Vahman Yasht)
    Whose name will be the victorious SAOSHYANT and whose name will be Astvat-Ereta. He will be SAOSHYANT (the Benefactor), because he will benefit the whole bodily world; he will be ASTVAT-ERETA (he who makes the bodily creatures rise up), because as a bodily creature and as a living creature he will stand against the destruction of the bodily creatures, to withstand the Druj of the two-footed brood, to withstand the evil done against the faithful. We celebrate the awful majestic Glory, created by Mazda… superior than all other creations; (Repeat Verse 9)
    That will cleave unto the victorious Saoshyant and his friend [Enoch, first incarnation of Pyshishyaotna, they; the two were minimized as ‘witnesses’ by christians in Apocalypse]

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