My dad and my uncle would often argue about who was the greatest boxer that ever lived. My uncle argued that it was Joe Lewis. My dad said it was Henry Armstrong who at featherweight size defeated the champions from three weight classes heavier than his and held three world championship titles at the same time. Then My uncle would bring up Rocky Marciano or someone else and the debate would continue. It makes me think that it’s not unlikely that the Jew’s would often argue about which prophet of the Old Testament was the greatest. Was it Isaiah with his 66 chapters and stand against the wicked Kings of Israel. Was it Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, or Elijah the miracle worker?

According to Jesus, one stands above them all, laying claim to this singular honor—John the Baptist.
John was an Old Testament prophet. His ministry is recorded in the books of the New Testament, but his activity took place in what was still part of Old Testament history. Jesus declared, “All the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Matthew 11:13). The word “until” in the text carries the force of “up to and including.” John belongs to the Old Testament line of prophets, yet he differs from all of them at a crucial point. The Old Testament prophets predicted that someday the Messiah would come, a “someday” obscured by vague references to the future. John was tapped by God to be the herald, the escort who ushered in the Messiah. The “someday” became John’s day. His message was not “Repent for the kingdom is coming,” but rather, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Jesus goes on to say that “the least in the kingdom of Heaven” will be greater than John the Baptist. The other Old Testament Prophets saw the kingdom from a distance. John introduces it’s advent, but you ane I stand in it. That is we’re standing after the Cross and Resurrection and having received the fullness of the Spirit. The least in the kingdom is greater because greatness in the kingdom differs radically from greatness in human estimation. While the apostles were arguing who would be the greatest, Jesus took a child, and said unless you become like one of these you can never see His Kingdom. The greatest in the Kingdom, Jesus also said, is the one who is the servant of them all. Quite different!

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15