March 22

Text: Matthew 11:7-11

 "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind?  But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' palaces.  But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, 'BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER BEFORE YOUR FACE, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.'  Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (NASB)

Sometimes we do not recognize an honor or a privilege until long after the moment has passed.  In many other countries a church cannot automatically exist or function.  To obtain permission to exist, (1) certain criteria must be met and (2) there must be an official acceptance/declaration by the government.  Generally, it is a slow, painstaking, nerve-racking process requiring lots of patience.  I was once involved in that process that required two years to complete.

To recognize my patience in that process, the students in the Bible Training School made me a chief.  After a hilarious evening, I thought the whole occasion was a happy time of celebrating church registration with no serious element.  It was a year later by accident that I learned it was a significant moment of honor.  I was so ignorant that I did not even say a serious “Thank you!”

Jesus said that John was the greatest man ever born.  He was more significant than a king or a prophet.  What a statement!  As significant as David was, John was greater!  As significant as Elijah was, John was greater!  Why?  John was God-chosen to prepare Israel for the ministry of the Christ!

Even though that was true, the person who is of LEAST significance in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John.  What God planned and prepared for the man or woman in Christ bestows an honor that makes a person more significant than John!  Do you regard being a Christian a burden of drudgery or a priceless honor?  Is it a matter of backbreaking responsibility or incredible privilege?

Suggestion for reflection: How do you thank God for the honor of being in Christ?  (Read 1 Peter 1:10-12.)

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