⁷As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
⁸But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!
⁹But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.
¹⁰This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way before You.’
¹¹Truly 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.
¹²From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
¹³For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
¹⁴And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.
¹⁵He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus never forsakes his servants, he remains faithful to them.
The Old Testament prophets are, as it were, His colleagues, with whom He had a special bond. He himself was the greatest prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15,18; Acts 3:22-26).
- John the Baptist was his immediate forerunner, preparing his way (Matthew 11:10; Malachi 3:1a).
- Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, had announced him as “Elijah the prophet” (Malachi 4:5,6).
- The archangel Gabriel said in Luke 1:17 that Malachi meant that John would act in the spirit and power of Elijah.
- And so Jesus could say here: ‘He is Elijah who was to come’ (Matthew 11:14; Cf. Matthew 17:10-13).
How wonderful that Jesus is completely behind him!
Jesus remains faithful to him (cf. 2 Timothy 2:13).
Besides, a divisive empire will perish (Matthew 12:25)!
In his plea, Jesus appeals to the people who had followed Him, and had seen more in Him than a boaster, namely one who spoke with divine authority!
At the same time, He shows the people the still greater privilege of every believer in the new dispensation, just as the partaker of a banquet is greater than the porter (Matthew 11:11).
Also that the heavenly kingdom, which He often compared to a banquet, is already storming its way, so that John the Baptist’s proclamation had not been in vain (Matthew 11:12; cf. Luke 16:16).
John could never have received a more beautiful confirmation and appreciation for his work.
Apparently it is not too nice a picture that the Lord Jesus gives here of the people who go with Him.
- They have heard the voice of God in the preaching of John the Baptist.
- They were clamoring to get to Jesus.
- The scattered, shepherdless sheep had recognized the voice of the Good Shepherd, urgently inviting them to enter.
The same is happening in the major revival movements today, like it was when the Gospel spread among the Zulus in South Africa. The people exert themselves to the utmost, no matter how much struggle it costs them.
- How do you struggle to enter through the strait gate (Luke 13:24)?
- Thank God for His pulling love!
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