Remember that there is no record of John ever performing a single miracle. Miracles are not what makes someone great. So, what made John such a special prophet? His message. The other prophets had prophesied about that great time off in the future when God would establish his kingdom (Genesis 49:10; Daniel 2:44, Zechariah 9:9, Joel 2:28-32, etc.). John was the one who got to preach, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”(Matthew 3:1-3). He got to tell people that the glorious time promised for centuries was finally coming. Even though the kingdom was close and many that heard John’s teaching would enter that kingdom when it was established on the day of Pentecost some 3-4 years in the future(Mark 9:1; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:4), John himself would not get the opportunity to be a part of the kingdom that he preached about. John was executed by Herod(Matthew 14:1-12) before Jesus built his church, the kingdom of God on earth (Matthew 16:18-19). This explains the statement that Jesus closes with. Regardless of how great John was, Jesus says that the least important person who was IN the kingdom would be greater than John.
Imagine that! Every true Christian (not every one who claims Christianity) who has ever lived is greater than John the Baptist. Christians have access to things that John and the prophets never dreamed of. Ephesians 1:3 tells us that all spiritual blessings are in Christ. Paul explains in (Ephesians 1:9; 3:3-12; 6:19-20 and Colossians 1:26-27; 4:2-4 ) that the mystery that was hidden from the foundation of the world has now been revealed through the apostles and inspired Christian writers of the New Testament. Christians have access to the blood of Christ and to Christ Himself as our High Priest. The list could go on and on. Suffice it to say we live under a better covenant with better promises and a better mediator (Hebrews 8:6). If you are not in God’s kingdom you better get there before it is too late.
Now, let’s switch gears and ask a similar question for all of you “church goers” out there. Think about the last time you went to church. What did you go in there to see? Did you go to see who else would be there? I hope not. Did you go to see who would have the best clothes? For shame. Worse yet, did you go because your favorite team won a game and you want to rub it in? Did you go to be entertained by a choir and a preacher’s anecdotes and jokes? Some do. Maybe you only went because you didn’t have “anything better” to do. Did you go to see what you would get out of it? That seems increasingly to be the primary reason people go to church.
If you are going to a church where the focus is on the “audience” or if you want the focus to be on you, then you need to make a change. Jesus built the church so that the focus would be on HIM not us. What do you go to see? I hope and pray that each of you will begin thinking of worship as something for God and not something for you. When we change our focus in this way we should realize that many of the things that are being done in many churches are done not because God wants them done, but because of human arrogance and selfishness. When we go to worship God he is the audience, not those sitting in the pews.
If everyone was doing what God wants in religion, then there wouldn’t be dozens of churches in every city. Division comes from men doing what they want instead of what God commands in scripture.