Thursday, June 23, 2022

What does this mean?

 

These are verses about John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. He was the baby in Elizabeth's womb who jumped when Mary, the Mother of Jesus, spoke to Elizabeth. As an adult John began preaching that the Messiah was coming. 



Matthew 11:10-11


“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.”



What does THAT mean, the least of you is greater in the kingdom of heaven than he? How and why can we be (I assuming we are the least) greater than John the Baptist?


Thoughts?



54 comments:

  1. I now remember my stay in Ein Kฤrem, where Mary met Elizabeth.
    It was an amazing meeting of two mothers.
    Hugs and greetings:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know there was a known place! What was it like?

      Delete
  2. Jesus is saying that nobody is greater than John The Baptist, but humility is greater than anything else?? You become the greatest by being like the least.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This was a great question and caused me to think more deeply. Why? I don't want to sound boastful but we do have something that John the Baptist never had and that is that we know what our Savior did for us on the cross and we have experienced the saving grace of Jesus. We also have the New Testament and all the writings of the apostles.
    John knew Him personally and had the great privilege of being the one chosen to introduce Him to the people and also to baptize Jesus, but John never saw the cross or the Day Of Pentecost.
    I'm sure there is much more to this question than what I see and that's one thing that I love about God's word . . .the more we read and study it, the more He reveals.
    Again great question and thanks for getting me to stop and dig deeper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He did not see the cross and Pentecost. Wow...he did not see the end of the story, or the middle, we haven't even seen the end yet. That is a good point. Thanks!

      Delete
  4. I am not sure how to answer this question, Sandi. But I think Jesus is speaking of something more than just the kingdom of heaven that is yet to come...it may have to do with the whole realm of Christ's kingdom, we who are saved by grace...I can't explain it, but I think Christ's idea of greatness is much different than the way we view greatness.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hmm well I'm thinking how God gave John the Baptist a great honor, to introduce Messiah to the world. But even with John being blessed to announce Messiah, he isn't any better than any of us????

    I don't know - just winging it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We have the whole Bible…John the B did not…also we are no better than anyone else…we don’t have to worry if we are Christians…born again…we are saved no matter what…

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sandi: How lucky we are to be true believers, I am saddened by the non-believers, I pray for them daily and their return to Our Lord.

    Catherine

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very interesting thought. I don't have a great answer but I enjoyed reading what others have written.

    ReplyDelete
  9. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become
    like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven...
    Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest
    in the kingdom of heaven...

    In Christianity, the last prophet of the Old Covenant before the arrival
    of Jesus is John the Baptist (cf. Luke 16:16).
    Matthew 11: “11 “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none
    is greater than John the Baptist...
    Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than
    he is...!”

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have read the comments and have a different take on this than other people seem to have. I read it as though the poorest among us is equal to the greatest among us in the eyes of God. Pattie @ Olla-Podrida (I tried to comment but kept getting an “invalid URL” error.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry about the comment troubles. I don't know what's causing them, but it seems a lot of people are experiencing it.

      What you said makes sense! Thanks for stopping by. Nice to meet you.

      Delete
  11. I would not be qualified to answer that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure you are, William. We can all know God.

      Delete
  12. My thoughts ... not sure if I'm adding more light or confusion.

    John the Baptist was a prophet. But his arrival and existence was itself prophesied in the Old Testament by previous prophets way before he was even born. He had been chosen for this mission of ushering Jesus on the scene from way back. This makes him really the greatest of all prophets, (assuming there is a league table of prophets).

    Yet ... a few verses earlier, (Matthew 11:2-3), John himself wondered whether Jesus was the Messiah and sent his disciples to check.

    He was indeed a prophet, perhaps greater than others before him, yet like all others before him he did not experience the receiving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

    When the followers of Jesus received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, this was a real event in their lives. It was not a story or prophesy they had read in old writings and parchments. To them it was a genuine experience which transformed their lives. It gave them knowledge and courage to speak out and proclaim God's truth through Jesus. It was the Holy Spirit speaking through them. That is what makes them greater than John - even though they might be the least in the Kingdom of God, (assuming there is a pecking order).

    Since Pentecost, we too can receive the Holy Spirit within us if we truly ask and invite Him in our souls and our lives. Yes, we too cane be transformed by the Holy Spirit; just like the early Christians. Thus we too, even the least of us, would be greater than John; because we would witness through the Holy Spirit. Whereas John was witnessing through his faith alone and even then he was not so sure and had to send his disciples to check.

    Anyway ... just my thoughts. I suspect that Jesus' audience at the time would have understood exactly what Jesus was saying here.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victor, that was amazing! It makes a lot of sense.

      Delete
  13. Hi Sandi, this scripture is talking about the difference between those born of women and those born again of the Holy Spirit, who become children of God Who is Spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just to say, Sandi, the previous 'Brenda' is not me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for mentioning that. I have seen so many people unable to sign in for comments. I don't know why. I'm glad people are signing their comments, but it can get confusing!

      Delete
    2. I'm afraid I know very little of prophets and preachers, Sandi. It seems to me, however, that at that time, John the Baptist was in jail for asking people to repent. So, being in jail he could be of no value, of no help, and thus 'the one who's the least, is greater than him'.

      Delete
    3. Interesting point, Duta! Thanks!

      Delete
  15. I have no idea, but found reading the responses fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see you, Elephant's Child. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Delete
  16. The prophets pointed out a Christ that was coming; John showed that that Christ was then among them; and the preachers of the Gospel prove that this Christ has suffered, and entered into his glory, and that repentance and remission of sins are proclaimed through his blood. There is a saying similar to this among the Jews: "Even the servant maid that passed through the Red Sea, saw what neither Ezekiel, nor any other of the prophets had seen."

    Even at that time the Apostles themselves already were superior to John in their baptizing and teaching, at the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to remember that! Yes. Even the maid.

      Delete
  17. I'll have to say I don't know. Good to ponder and meditate on.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for this Bible Verse. It made me think further about it. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry, I have no idea.
    However, it is always interesting to read others thought sand comments.

    All the best Jan
    https://thelowcarbdiabetic.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello Sandi, All theological texts are limited by language. Language, and the words that make up languages, are human creations. All humans have a soul. All souls are a part of the Universe. All souls are equal. Just as there is no “least” soul, there is no “greater” soul. In another Matthew verse we are told, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Most humans have not learned to treat one another with love. We see this in global conflicts, in our political systems, even in our theological beliefs. The Universe has given humans “free will” and the challenge for all of us is to learn to get along. Look to Jesus as the one the Universe sent to show all of us the way to accomplish that challenge. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog and best regards to you. John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John, why do you say the Universe instead of God?


      "the challenge for all of us is to learn to get along"

      Are you sure that is our challenge? Why?


      I appreciate your comment and your stopping by!

      Delete
  21. Sandi, I love your question. Let me start by restating this from my comment: Language, and the words that make up languages, are human creations. When did a human being first use the word “God” and what did it mean to that human? Imagine, for a moment, if we could ask every human who has lived one question: In detail, describe what God means to you. I don’t think any of the answers (like fingerprints) would be exactly the same. Every single thing we know (or think we know) about God was created by a human being. So, instead of using the word God, for which we all have our own ideas, I choose to use another word, Universe, to get us thinking about God. It delights me that you picked up on that. If I may expand on *my* meaning for the Universe … Absolutely every single thing that exists, material and not material, since the beginning (that point scientists refer to as the Big Bang). Now, re: "the challenge for all of us is to learn to get along.” You ask if I am *sure* about that. Oprah Winfrey’s book What I Know for Sure did a good job of demonstrating how little we can know for sure. Better to recognize the difference between “believe” and “know.” So, I believe we humans must learn to get along so that we can move forward with our part of the evolution of the Universe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Sandi, I love your question. Let me start by restating this from my comment: Language, and the words that make up languages, are human creations. When did a human being first use the word “God” and what did it mean to that human? Imagine, for a moment, if we could ask every human who has lived one question: In detail, describe what God means to you. I don’t think any of the answers (like fingerprints) would be exactly the same."

      John, thank you for this thorough comment and explanation. That is interesting. I wonder what responses we would get to the question of what God means to you. This leads to an obvious question though. Is God what you imagine Him to be? Could He be something else, even if it differs from "what He means to" you?



      "Every single thing we know (or think we know) about God was created by a human being."

      Hmm. We differ there. I believe He reveals Himself to us. I am capitalizing all the pronouns, so it's probably easy to see I am thinking of the traditional Creator, Father God that seems to be a common representation of Him.



      "So, instead of using the word God, for which we all have our own ideas, I choose to use another word, Universe, to get us thinking about God. It delights me that you picked up on that. If I may expand on *my* meaning for the Universe … Absolutely every single thing that exists, material and not material, since the beginning (that point scientists refer to as the Big Bang)."

      I think I am running into the same problem with Universe that you run into with God. Universe makes me think of stars, planets, a nebula, a comet. I think of it as a place rather than a Being and have a hard to time thinking of the Universe caring for me or wanting us to get along, or not get along for that matter.



      "Now, re: "the challenge for all of us is to learn to get along.” You ask if I am *sure* about that. Oprah Winfrey’s book What I Know for Sure did a good job of demonstrating how little we can know for sure. Better to recognize the difference between “believe” and “know.” So, I believe we humans must learn to get along so that we can move forward with our part of the evolution of the Universe."

      What is causing the Universe to evolve?
      How do we know this evolution is taking us to a good place?
      Why do we have "our part" that is specific to us?
      How do we know it's moving forward?

      Do you pray?



      Thanks, John!

      Delete
    2. I’m enjoying the discussion. Here is a little more.

      “Is God what you imagine Him to be? Could He be something else, even if it differs from "what He means to" you?”

      What I imagine God to be has been created in my mind by my experiences over all my life. As I said earlier, what I imagine God to be is unique to me just as what you imagine God to be is unique to you. Whether God is or isn’t what we imagine may concern us, but probably not God. God is waiting patiently to see what your life leads you to believe.

      You will probably note that I am reluctant to use pronouns, she/he. God is so much more than she or he. God is everything and in everything. So, you see, God is in a tree, God is in a flower, in an insect, in the ocean, in dogs, in cats, and so on and so on.

      Re: "Every single thing we know (or think we know) about God was created by a human being." I must clarify that … we are probably not as far apart as it might have seemed. You said, “I believe He reveals Himself to us.” Yes, I believe that as well. When I look at nature I see God revealed. When I look at the sky I see God revealed. We don’t need words for that. However, language is the way most of us gain our concept of God … reading, listening, talking with other humans … be they ministers, spiritual teachers, pastors, leaders, etc. They are all human and how did THEY learn what they profess? So, what I should have said is this: Most of what we know (or think we know) about God has been influenced by other human beings.

      “I think I am running into the same problem with Universe that you run into with God.” Perhaps so, and doesn’t that make the point: We can’t really describe what we mean by God with one word. I used Universe because it includes everything and makes humans start to wonder what I mean. God is everywhere. Earth, moon, other planets, stars, galaxies, yes, the whole Universe is God.

      What is causing the Universe to evolve? The short answer, of course, is God. We could go on about that but I would simply be giving you what I believe and I don’t profess to have any special insight.

      How do we know this evolution is taking us to a good place? Well, let’s consider this: Most of us are not living in caves anymore. My guess is God is favorably impressed with the progress humans have made in their evolution so far … but, clearly, we still have a way to go to perfection, at least, learning how to get along with one another.

      Why do we have "our part" that is specific to us? Because we are humans. We are different than all other creation because God has given us “free will” to do as we choose. So, it all boils down to our choices. Your life, as it is today, is the way it is, because of the choices you have made or failed to make.

      How do we know it's moving forward? Several spiritual teachers tell us there is only the present moment. We can not change the past. We can not experience the future until it becomes the present moment. So, the way I see it, we must move forward it’s the only way and, hopefully, we make the right choices as we do it.

      Do you pray? I do and, as I said before, I believe God is in everything and that includes ALL of us humans. If God is right here inside me, why wouldn’t I open up a conversation? ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Delete


    3. "...more than she or he. God is everything and in everything. So, you see, God is in a tree, God is in a flower, in an insect, in the ocean, in dogs, in cats, and so on and so..."

      I think this runs into the difference between Creator and Creation. Which one do we worship? If you see it as the same thing, it is not a question for you. I see it as two things.



      "What is causing the Universe to evolve? The short answer, of course, is God. We could go on about that but I would simply be giving you what I believe and I don’t profess to have any special insight."

      Please go on. Why do you believe that?

      I would say I believe these things because I know God. Would you say that? I should mention I didn't start out this way. I used to believe some crazy things. When I met Jesus I could suddenly see. So much I had believed before was not true. I'll write about it on my blog soon.



      "How do we know this evolution is taking us to a good place? Well, let’s consider this: Most of us are not living in caves anymore. My guess is God is favorably impressed with the progress humans have made in their evolution so far … but, clearly, we still have a way to go to perfection, at least, learning how to get along with one another."

      I recently saw something about caves that people live in. They looked so cool and fabulous. These days they run electricity into them and have things like refrigerators and lights. Are tall buildings with drywall better? Ha ha! I know what you mean. We have antibiotics now and general well-being. We can read. I shuddered a little at God being "favorably impressed," though. I mean, we have antibiotics, but we still have war.



      "Why do we have "our part" that is specific to us? Because we are humans. We are different than all other creation.."

      I LOVE this. ๐Ÿ’™



      "Whether God is or isn’t what we imagine may concern us, but probably not God."

      I don't know, John. I think this may be very important.

      Delete
    4. Sandi,

      I hope you enjoyed our discussion as much as I did. I appreciate you for letting me have my say. I also appreciate the way you provided thoughtful responses that gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own beliefs. I’ll close out with one final comment.

      You said, “When I met Jesus I could suddenly see. So much I had believed before was not true.”

      I’ve been working consciously, the last few years, to improve my own understanding of spirituality. One of the most important aspects of that process has been realizing what I need to let go. I have spent most of my life listening to other humans tell me what I need to know. I don’t think any of them intentionally meant to mislead me, but many of them simply did not know they were passing along misinformation. When one finally knows the truth, it opens many doors in life that seemed closed in the past.

      Take good care Sandi. I’ll be looking forward to future posts on Dandelion Tea.

      John

      Delete
  22. I've not thought about this before. I like what Victor S E Moubarak had to say.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Something to think about. Thank you so much. Regine
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. I would say that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

    ReplyDelete