When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.) Luke 7:24-30
After John’s disciples left Jesus addressed the crowd concerning John. John had lived as a Nazarite. He did not cut his hair and did not drink wine. In fact John lived a harsh life even by first century standard. He essentially lived off the land and wore cloths suitable for such a life. The luxuries of the city were not for John. He had more important things to do and say.
John was the herald for Jesus. I guess in modern parlance, John was Jesus opening act. From the short passages we have of what John said he was in line with what Jesus would preach. John called Israel to repentance. John offered baptism for the people to show their repentance. John however knew that he was not the Messiah. John told the people who flocked to see him that another would come.
Jesus goes on the praise John saying that “among those born of women none is greater than John.” Yet Jesus goes on the say “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Sounds like what Jesus gave with one hand He takes away with the other. But I think Jesus is telling us that what is really important is not what we do on earth but that we used this time on earth to make sure we enter God’s kingdom when we move on to the next life.
After all nothing we do or accomplish here will be eternal. For most of us in a hundred years or so we will be nothing more than a name on a tombstone. We will have been forgotten by those alive then. Everything we have accumulated will belong to others. There may be a few faded photos that people scratch their heads to identify who is in them but that is it.
But heaven, that is where we will not be forgotten. We will be God’s people and will spend eternity worshiping God and doing the work He has for us. Most of the people around Jesus understood what Jesus was saying. But, the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected what Jesus said. They had stayed away from John except to confront him and they would only come around Jesus to challenge Him. I think they recognized that Jesus was ending their way of life and like most people they wanted to keep a good thing going. That is what happens when our minds are on earthly things rather than the eternal.
Have a blessed day,