Luke 7:24-28 FNV

“What were you looking for in the desert wilderness_ A frail reed blowing in the wind_ Did you see a man in costly garments_ No! The ones who wear costly clothes and buy whatever they want live in grand h.png luke 7L24-28 fnv lutheran indian ministries

How lovingly this was timed!

The people had heard John’s message and its answer, and might expect some disparaging remarks about his vacillation. But Jesus chooses that very time to lavish unstinted praise on him. That is praise indeed.

The remembrance of the Jordan banks, where John had baptized, shapes the first question. The streams of people would not have poured out there to look at the tall reeds swaying in the breeze, nor to listen to a man who was like them. He who would rouse and guide others must have a firm will, and not be moved by any blast that blows. Men will rally round one who has a mind of his own and bravely speaks it, and who has a will of his own, and will not be warped out of his path.

The undaunted boldness of John, of whom, as of John Knox, it might be said that ‘he never feared the face of man,’ was part of the secret of his power. His imprisonment witnessed to it. He was no reed shaken by the wind, but like another prophet, was made ‘an iron pillar, and brazen walls’ to the whole house of Israel. But he had more than strength of character, he had noble disregard for worldly ease. Not silken robes, like courtiers’, but a girdle of camels’ hair, not delicate food, but locusts and wild honey, were his.

And that was another part of his power, as it must be, in one shape or other, of all who rouse men’s consciences, and wake up generations rotting away in self-indulgence. John’s fiery words would have had no effect if they had not poured hot from a life that despised luxury and soft ease. If a man is once suspected of having his heart set on material good, his usefulness as a Christian teacher is weakened, if not destroyed.

But even these are not all, for Jesus goes on to attest that John was a prophet, and something even more; namely, the forerunner of the Messiah. As, in a royal progress, the nearer the king’s chariot the higher the rank, and they who ride just in front of him are the chiefest, so John’s proximity in order of time to Jesus distinguished him above those who had heralded him long ages ago. It is always true that, the closer we are to Him, the more truly great we are. The highest dignity is to be His messenger. We must not lose sight of the exalted place which Jesus by implication claims for Himself by such a thought, as well as by the quotation from Malachi, and by the alteration in it of the original ‘My’ and ‘Me’ to ‘Thy’ and ‘Thee.’

He does not mean that John was the greatest man that ever lived, as the world counts greatness, but that in the one respect of relation to Him, and consequent nearness to the kingdom, he surpassed all.

The scale employed to determine greatness in this saying is position in regard to the kingdom, and while John is highest of those who {historically} were without it, because {historically} he was nearest to it, the least in it is greater than the greatest without. The spiritual standing of John and the devout men before him is not in question; it is their position towards the manifestation of the kingdom in time that is in view. We rejoice to believe that John and many a saint from early days were subjects of the King, and have been ‘saved into His everlasting kingdom.’ But Jesus would have us think greatly of the privilege of living in the light of His coming, and of being permitted by faith to enter His kingdom. The lowliest believer knows more, and possesses a fuller life born of the Spirit, than the greatest born of woman, who has not received that new birth from above.

[Excerpt from MacLaren's expositions]

“What were you looking for in the desert wilderness? A frail reed blowing in the wind? Did you see a man in costly garments? No! The ones who wear costly clothes and buy whatever they want live in grand houses. Were you looking for a true prophet? Yes! He is a true prophet but also much more! He is the one spoken of in the Sacred Teachings, ‘Look! I am sending my messenger ahead of you. He will make a clear path.’

“Listen closely, no one born of a woman has ever been greater, but now the smallest one who walks Creator’s Good Road is greater than he is.”

Luke 7:24-28 FNV