As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of 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 arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
The disciples of John the Baptist are leaving and Jesus remembers and honors John.. he calls him more than a prophet and he identifies John a the forerunner of the Messiah. And in doing so Jesus identifies himself as that very Messiah. When I think of John I remember that he said of Christ: "I must decrease and he must increase". John was a humble prophet and as such he prophetically proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God that would take away our sins. He deflected attention away from himself and onto the Messiah.
Jesus then says something crazy. He says that one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than a great prophet. To me this speaks to the miracle of the new birth where people have new hearts with God's laws emblazoned on them. It reminds me that each reborn person is more than a prophet who proclaims God's message. It speaks to me about how such people are God's message. John was the last prophet of the old covenant. We who are born again are embodied by the Spirit of the Prophet Jesus.
Thank you Father that, by your grace, I have your laws written on my heart.