Our scripture this week is Matthew 11:2-11.
Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
This is one of those “unusual” verses from Jesus that sound like riddles. We need to unpack this to try to understand what He is telling us here. Why does He sometimes speak like this?
Jesus wants us to think about the meaning of His teachings. He doesn’t always spell everything out for us. One of the meanings of the term “disciple” is “learner”. Jesus doesn’t want us just sitting around hearing what He says, He encourages us to use our gift of intellect to engage His teachings and then apply them.
In this verse He tells us that John was a great man, but less than anyone who enters the kingdom. Some scholars have analyzed this to mean John was the last prophet, still part of the old covenant, and those that follow Jesus are therefore greater than he in the kingdom to come. However, Jesus teaches us that in Heaven there is no ranking, no one greater than the other, merely God and us. I think this verse means that anyone living is less than anyone in the kingdom. How does this verse strike you? Regardless of our interpretation, Jesus is saying “seek the kingdom for it is greater than any earthly thing”.
Gracious God, we are often perplexed by the Word, not sure of its meaning at first glance. Help us to see Your plan for us and to study Your Word with diligence in order to do Your will. Amen.