John the Baptist was sent for the specific purpose of preparing the way for Jesus Christ the Messiah. He pointed people toward the time when Jesus would come to earth. He did this powerfully and unafraid even to the point of confronting Herod about his adultery with Herodias. He seemed to have no doubt about his purpose and God’s plan for his life. He carried it through even unto his death. In Matthew 11:11, Jesus said no one who had ever lived was greater than John.
Matt. 11:11 (NLT) “ I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!
John the Baptist had doubts and Jesus called him the greatest person to ever live. So, if you have doubts about Jesus don’t let satan beat you up about it. Jesus already knows that you have those doubts. Do what John the Baptist did, ask Jesus about your doubts. Jesus can use those doubts to bring you into a closer relationship with Him. As you draw nearer to Him, those doubts will start to disappear. You will have joy in your salvation and strength to overcome all your battles.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
As long as we live in the flesh, we will not have the capability to love like God loves us. But, over and over, in the Scriptures, God instructs us to love Him first and most of all and then to love our neighbors as ourselves. God gave up His only Son to redeem us. Jesus gave up all His glory in heaven, came to earth to walk among us in the flesh and submitted Himself to death on a cross to demonstrate His love for us. This was while we were still sinners and separated from Him. Not many of us will be asked to give up our physical life for Christ, so how do we demonstrate our love for Jesus? We do that by giving up our rights, putting Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last. This is the example that Jesus set for His disciples then and for us now.
29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then—Matt. 19:29,30 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God has a plan for each of us and following that plan, we will intersect with the plans He has for others. Every minute detail of every plan is laid out and weaved into the patterns of our lives. The lame man was laid by the Temple gate every day. No doubt, Peter, John and even Jesus had passed him before on their way to worship in the Temple. Why did God choose this particular day to demonstrate His power? We could say that we don’t know the specific reason and that would be true. But we can assume without doing any injury to the Scriptures here that there was at least one person present in the crowd that day that needed to see this miracle occur. Probably more, but at least one, needed to see a lame man made whole. God doesn’t waste miracles. He has His reasons for when, where, and why. We have no idea of how big the impact of this particular miracle became as time passed. When reading the Bible, it is important to remember that the acts we read about are only a small sampling of what was going on at the time. One of the people in the crowd may very well have become a church founder or maybe just a missionary to his own family. Either way, it was necessary for this miracle to happen at this exact moment on this day in front of this crowd. God excels in doing the extraordinary in ordinary places and times. Listen for the small, still voice. He is asking some of us to allow Him to take our ordinary lives and do something extraordinary with them today. At least one of us, maybe more.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. – Romans 12:1 NLT
God sent John the Baptist as a forerunner of Jesus. The purpose and plan for John’s life was to tell the world about the Light that was coming. John understood and accepted his mission wholeheartedly. John spent his life in the wilderness living on locusts and honey, witnessing to those who came out to hear him. He was not the Light but was a witness that the Light was coming. John was so effective in his work that Jesus called him “the greatest man who ever lived”.
Yet, Jesus said “even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is”. How can this be that we could be greater than John the Baptist who lived his life for and utltimately gave his life for Jesus? The word “greater” here is used in the same sense that the word “greater” is used when Jesus said that we would do even “greater” works than Jesus did when He walked here on the earth. It is not meant to demean or lessen the value of the work that John and Jesus did, but to emphasize the greatness of the Kingdom of God itself. It is not written to give us illusions of grandeur or self-importance, but to encourage us to work for the Kingdom of God. It is not as individual Christains that we are greater or can do greater works but it is our inclusion in the Kingodm of God that is emphasized as being of utmost importance. So, the work we do for the expansion of the Kingdom of God is greater in importance than anything that we do that the world considers great or important. If we are to be “greater” then we must finish the work that John started. John was the forerunner, Jesus was the reason and we are the witnesses for this and future generations. We are here as Light and Life to a dark and dying world. So, let your Light shine and speak the words of Life to those around you wherever you are and whenever you can. There is no “greater” work to be done.
29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News,30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then. — Mark 10:29-31 NLT
God has nothing against rich people or people that are successful from a worldly viewpoint. Riches, power and position are neutral and can be used for good or for evil. It is the misuse of these things that causes our issues with God. He allows us to have those things for His honor and His glory. We are to use whatever we have, be it little or be it much, as a means to an end, not the end itself. We should use those things for His glory here and now and be ready to give them up completely, if necessary. Any good thing that we have now comes from God and belongs to God. When properly used, it will bring glory to God now. If it is necessary for us to give it up to bring glory and honor to the Father, we will receive a return now and rewards in eternity. It is not about the amount we give, it is about the sacfrifice we make in giving to God. The poor widow put in two small coins, others gave much more, but only she recevied praise from Jesus. She gave her grocery money, they gave from their surplus. When we have the heart of the widow and give like she gave, then the blessings will come. Not because we gave a lot, but because we gave sacrifically, trusting God to meet our every need. Don’t be concerned about the amount or the percentage, don’t quit giving when it hurts, just keep giving until it feels good.
21 One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.–Luke 3:21,22 (NLT)
18 The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, 19 and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”–Luke 7:18,19 (NLT)
28 I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!”–Luke 7:28 (NLT)
John the baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and saw with his own eyes God’s Holy Spirit come down in bodily form like a dove and He heard the voice from heaven confirming that Jesus was the Son of God. We would think that nothing could make him doubt who Jesus was. Yet, when John was in prison. we can see that he began to have doubts about Jesus being the Messiah and sent two of his disciples to inquire if Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah. Notice that Jesus did not criticize or condemn John but rather paid him a great compliment. At that time, the time before Jesus had been crucified and resurrected, Jesus said that John was the greatest man to have ever lived. But he qualified His statement saying that “the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he” Although, John baptized with water, there was no salvation or baptism in the Spirit until after Jesus was resurrected and ascended. Since Jesus did not condemn John or any of the disciples for having doubt and “little faith”, neither does He condemn us when doubts enter our minds. He draws us to Himself and gives us peace in the middle of the storms.