Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 4 Study # 4
October 5, 2008
26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
1901 ASV Translation:
26 But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
27 This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way before thee.
28 I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there is none greater than John: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
29 And all the people when they heard, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
- I. John as the "More Than a Prophet" Prophet.
- A. After defeating the two most likely "perceptions" of John, Jesus latched on to the most critical issue regarding his identity.
- 1. The first most likely "perception" was that he, like so many others, was a man of potent sounding words but, when the chips are down, no substance: a reed shattered by the wind.
- 2. The second most likely "perception" was that he, like so many others, was a man of a "royal" mindset: one dressed in the clothing of complete self-indulgence.
- a. This perception could not have been conceived by the reality of clothing, but may well have been implied by the question of John to Jesus because of his imprisonment. Any "whining" about how life is treating "me" is a manifestation of a "why me?" mentality of the self-absorbed.
- b. John was not of such a mind. "Royalty" thinking is "I am the center of the universe" kind of thinking that expects to be treated accordingly.
- 3. The real issue was this: did John speak for Yahweh, God over all?
- a. This issue transcends all others. If Yahweh actually communicates His Reality to His creation in words, creatures have an absolute and indisputable record of Truth. If creatures have such a record, all that contradicts, or undermines, it is a vile blasphemy and is deserving of what John called "the wrath to come."
- b. To the great advantage of those who accept it, Yahweh has established a legitimate track record of such communication. But to those who have an "agenda" against God and, therefore, reject it, Yahweh has given only the sure and certain expectation of judgment and, as Hebrews 10:27 puts it, a "fearful looking for of ... fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."
- B. The "moreness" of John's identity.
- 1. There is a recognition in the Scripture of a "distinction" between the quality of "prophets".
- a. 1 Samuel 3:19 says of Samuel that "Yahweh was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground" and 1 Samuel 9:6 reaffirms this.
- b. If this was S.O.P., the words would make no sense. It had to be that there were some prophets who were erratic in their communication of the divine word. This creates a tension in light of Deuteronomy 18:20, but it was apparently true that there was an erratic quality to the words of the prophets. Note carefully the record of 1 Kings 13:18 in context and observe the disastrous consequences of refusal to obey legitimate prophetic words in 1 Kings 20: 35-36.
- c. This is an enormous problem: erratic utterances undermine all utterances. This may well be the reason Jesus jumped on the "problem" of John's question from prison as quickly as He did -- to minimize the damage. But, the reality of erratic utterances, even from legitimate prophets, though it causes serious difficulties is permitted by God to, as Psalm 7:9 says, "try the hearts and reins" and as Psalm 11:5 says "Yahweh trieth the righteous" and as Proverbs 17:3 says, "the Lord trieth the hearts." Even the whiny "Oh, that's not fair" proves the condition of the heart.
- 2. John's "moreness" was beyond that of any other prophet.
- a. He was the forerunner of the Son of God.
- b. He was superior to every man "born of a woman".