You are greater than John The Baptist
4/30/2012 5:11:55 PM -
Yes … you read it right … you are greater than John The Baptist … that is assuming you are a person in the Kingdom of Heaven … I didn't say it … Jesus did:
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!”
So the question to answer is … are you a person in the Kingdom of Heaven? Before that, we probably need to understand a bit more about the Kingdom of Heaven … what exactly is it? Let us see what Jesus said about it in order to understand it:
We know that the Kingdom of Heaven was near when Jesus was on earth because he said:
Matthew 10:7 Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
So what about now that Jesus has died and ascended into Heaven … is the Kingdom of Heaven still near … or is it finally here? I am going to put it to you that the Kingdom of Heaven is here with us right now. If you study the scriptures carefully, you will agree with me that this is the case. Here is the reasoning … Jesus described the Kingdom Of Heaven numerous times in the Bible … so if we can take those descriptions and observe them at work on earth today then we know for sure that the Kingdom Of Heaven is here. Below are just some examples of what the Kingdom Of Heaven is like from Jesus' own words:
Matthew 5:20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
We know from the Bible (read Romans) that all true Christians in the eyes of God have the righteousness of Jesus Christ, for this reason, they *will* enter the Kingdom Of Heaven. This wasn't possible before Jesus died on the cross.
Matthew 13: 47 – 49 Parable of the Fishing Net 47 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. 48 When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. 49 That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous,
Now the meaning of the above Parable should be fairly clear. The net has been cast ( the Good news of Christ is being preached all over the world) and everyone in the world is being caught in it (we will all be judged at the end of the age). Now since Jesus said “a net was thrown” and we know it has already happened we can say for sure that the Kingdom of God is here. One thing to note is the righteous people are not people who do good things but rather people whose faith is in Jesus Christ.
Matthew 25:14-30 has the popular story of the Parable of the Three Servants which is also likened to the Kingdom Of Heaven. We know that we are all currently midway through that parable either wasting or multiplying the talents God has given us. For this reason I tell you that the Kingdom of Heaven is now here. It hasn't been completed yet because Christ hasn't returned but it is no longer near … it is here! And who are its members? All Christians are!
You can look at the Kingdom Of Heaven from this other perspective … a Kingdom is wherever a King rules. God is King and wherever His will is done is the Kingdom of Heaven. That might lead to this question … doesn't God rule the earth, isn't His will being done on the earth? The obvious answer to both of these questions is NO! If God was the ruler of this earth, why would Jesus pray:
Matthew 6:10 “10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
You see God doesn't rule the earth because His will is not being done here. In fact the Bible tells us that Satan currently rules the earth:
2 Corinthians 4:4 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
So now things seem a bit confusing … how can the Kingdom of Heaven be here even though God doesn't rule here and Satan rules? The answer is simple … God's Kingdom is wherever His will is being done and that basically means the Kingdom Of Heaven is here on earth wherever there are true Christians abiding in God's will.
One way to picture this is to think of an election map with two parties and two colors – white representing God and black representing Satan. Before Jesus came to die on the cross the map was all black. Satan basically had free reign on earth because of Man's fall. Now Jesus came down to earth and won the victory and gained authority over Satan … the first spots of white began forming then. Jesus' authority has been delegated to all Christians and as more people get born again and abide in him, the white on the map increases. We know that the map will never be all white till Jesus returns. In fact, it will be mostly black since the Bible says:
Matthew 7:13 13 “You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.
So what does all this have to do with John The Baptist? Well John the Baptist died before Christ did. He never got a chance to be given the authority that Christ obtained from death whilst he was alive. That means that all true Christians alive today are greater than John The Baptist! If you examine what Jesus said carefully … it also means that all true Christians are greater than all the famous descendants of Adam in the Bible. Why? Because John the Baptist was the greatest person who ever lived according to Jesus and so if the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than him then this person has to be greater than Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel … you name it …
Before your head gets all welled up … remember that greatness in the Kingdom Of Heaven is actually measured by humility. Regardless it still follows that all true Christians are greater than any of the greatest men in the Bible before Christ made the sacrifice for our sins.
This is the reason why we can enter the presence of God without killing goats and rams. This is the reason why we are no longer punished by God for our sins but David was. This is why we can use the name of Jesus to tell the Devil and his servants to leave and Moses couldn't! We are greater!
Now getting back to the subject of the Kingdom of Heaven a bit. God's Kingdom being here on earth through Christians also has a lot of implications for us Christians. It means that as much as possible, we should try to, by God's grace live as closely as possible to what Heaven will be like. There are a few examples of this we can consider:
There is no sin in Heaven and Jesus Christ gave us the ability to be dead to sin. This means our lives on earth should be as sinless as we can possibly make them through Christ's power.
There is no sickness in Heaven and Jesus purchased our healing on the cross. This means Christians shouldn't tolerate sickness or succumb to it, rather we should use whatever means we can (divine healing, medicine etc.) to get rid of it.
There is no poverty in Heaven and Jesus purchased our freedom from poverty on the cross (I know this is a contentious subject but in general most Christians can agree that all the Blessings God promised the Israelites apply to all true Christians today since we are the true descendants of Abraham. We are the only ones who can obey all the laws perfectly in God's eyes because of our faith in Jesus Christ i.e. God uses Jesus righteousness to evaluate our eligibility for the blessings and since Jesus was sinless, we are!) so we shouldn't tolerate it on earth either. That means we should be generous with the poor and make sure that we ourselves are living lives that give us the capacity to do so.
Satan does not steal, kill or destroy anything in Heaven and as much Jesus gives us the ability to, we shouldn't allow him to steal, kill or destroy on earth. This is the whole point of why Jesus gave us the authority to overcome him.
The list goes on and on but you get the point … being a Christian entails more than just receiving eternal life through faith in Jesus. Whilst you are alive on this earth you are God's Kingdom rep and you have been Graced with all you need to perform your duties on His behalf. If you are Christian, ponder this question and answer it honestly:
Am I participating fully in the Kingdom Of Heaven with all God has graced me with here on earth?
Blessings and Regards,