Bible Society of South Africa

Very important to God – 7 September 2022

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

11I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than anyone who has ever lived. But the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John.

Matthew 11:11GNBOpen in Bible reader

I sometimes wish the Bible had more information about John the Baptist. I am fascinated by his ascetic way of living that often took him into the desert, where he preached and sustained himself by eating locusts and wild honey. Some Bible interpreters try to explain the eating of locusts by saying it was the pod of a so-called locust tree, but I think he ate real locusts like desert dwellers do in our own country. I envisioned him as a tall, sinewy man with a great voice who, on account of his unmovable faith, was not afraid to call the Pharisees and Sadducees a brood of vipers. Please read Matthew 3.

He was apparently a strong person, but when in jail, even he started to have doubts about Jesus. Is this Jesus really the Messiah? Jesus sends him a comforting message and then uses the opportunity to explain a very important feature of the kingdom by what he said about John.

In our verse for today, Jesus does not necessarily mean that John was the most important person who was ever born, but rather that in a long line of prophets, who proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, John was the greatest. If we keep in mind prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel and Micah, to just name a few, it was great praise indeed. Jesus saw John as a very important person. He was the one who was called by God above all men to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ. A greater honour could no one wish to receive, “yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” – referring to you and me. Are we greater than John the Baptist? No, this is not what Jesus meant. What he really meant by this is the fact that every single person who enters the kingdom of heaven, is very important to God. What a joy to know that I am very important to God.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that although I am not in the line of great prophets, I am still very important to you. Amen

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