Greater than John
Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. 13 “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. Matthew 11:11-13 NASU
John the Baptist came—in the spirit and power of Elijah— preaching the Kingdom of God, condemning sin, and preaching repentance and water baptism unto the newness of life. John was the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first to announce that the Kingdom of God was at hand (Matt. 3:2). He received the highest commendation from the Lord: “among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” Notwithstanding, he that is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John.
What made John the Baptist great? It was not, necessarily, a special gift; it was not his camel hair clothing and the leather belt he wore or his diet of locust and wild honey (Matt. 3:4) or his holiness. He was great because he had a unique role in the plan and purpose of God, plus he was anointed with the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17).
Furthermore, John was the only prophet in the Bible who was the subject of prophecies (Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1). In fulfillment of these prophecies, he was the forerunner to Jesus Christ and introduced Him to the world as the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 35-36). He was the bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. His preaching broke 430 years of divine silence.
So, what makes you—the believer in Christ—greater than John? Without question, it is your position and privilege in Christ. You had the privilege of hearing about and seeing the fullness of God’s plan in Christ including the crucifixion, the resurrection, the full Gospel; and the blessed position of being saved by grace, being baptized in Jesus’ name, being a recipient of the new covenant, receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and being baptized in the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Heb. 8:6). John the Baptist, evening in his greatest, could not attest of any of the aforementioned blessings of being in Christ and being called a son of God (John 1:12; Gal. 3:26).
John’s greatest caused him to be casted into prison and to give his life as a martyr. Thus, the kingdom God suffered violence and the violent, i.e., king Herod, the Pharisees and Sadducees assaulted and afflicted John; they opposed and persecuted him—everyone of them used violence and behaved in a violent way against John and his message of the kingdom of God (Matt. 11:12; Luke 16:16). Because you, the believer, are greater than John, the violent, the forceful and self-willed will oppose and seize upon the kingdom of God in you (Luke 17:21) too!