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Weekly Devotionals

Be Great??

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’[c] 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. 

Matthew 11:2-11

For our devotion this week, I felt led to remind us that what it is to be “great” in the eyes of God is vastly different from what is “great” in the eyes of the world. We can see this truth very clearly in this story of John the Baptist. By this point in his life, John the Baptist was arrested and as I’m sure he probably knew, he was soon be executed. Therefore, though he was a man who in the face of persecution from the religious authorities of the day, not only boldly called all to repent to turn back to God but also boldly declared Jesus as the promised Messiah, in this moment we find John the Baptist doubting his faith in Jesus.

So as we see in our passage, from prison, John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was indeed the promised Messiah that John had believed Him to be. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus responds to this by saying the following: Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Or in other words, that He, Jesus, is indeed who John believed Him to be.

But thereafter, we see Jesus going above and beyond John’s request by also affirming who Jesus saw John to be. And how did Jesus see John? As we see in verse 11, Jesus saw John as the greatest human being to ever be born of a woman! Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist

So from this we see that indeed, what it is to be “great” in the eyes of God is vastly different from what is “great” in the eyes of the world. For in the eyes of the world, John the Baptist was the opposite of what would be considered “great,” and this, even before he was arrested and jailed. For remember, John was a man who lived in the wilderness, dressed only in a camel hair robe, eating a diet of wild locust and honey. And now, he was a man who had been arrested as a criminal who would soon be sentenced to die. Yet still, Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest human being to ever be born of a woman??

So from this I like to leave us with two questions to consider this week:

  1. Are you living to be great in the eyes of the world or are you living to be great in the eyes of God?
  2. What made John the Baptist so great to Jesus?

And from considering these two questions, may we live to be great not in the eyes of the world but like John, to be great in the eyes of Jesus! Amen!

Have a great week!