BEST MAN FOR THE JOB
Great and steadfast God, you are faithful in your promises, unwavering in your justice, and constant in your love. Bless the Lord my soul.
Read MATTHEW 11:7–19
7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’[a]
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence,[b] and violent people have been raiding it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectGive thanks to God for those who pastor you, pray for you and prepared your heart to receive Jesus.
John the Baptist is the best ‘best man’, rejoicing in the union of Christ the bridegroom with his beautiful bride without seeking any glory himself (John 3:29). But as leaders, he and Jesus are at odds with their generation (vs 16–19).
In one of his letters, the apostle John shows us two contrasting church leaders: Diotrephes, who wants to be in control, is playing power games and makes a mockery of kingdom leadership; Demetrius, in contrast, is well spoken of by everyone. What do the ‘voices’ at the front of your church sound like? Can you identify integrity, authenticity, forgiveness, generosity, acceptance and honoring of all people?
The leaders of John’s generation (such as the Pharisees) are more like Diotrephes. Pious outside, ‘full of greed and wickedness’ on the inside (Luke 11:39–42). John, though, is humble, ready to retire now that one greater than himself has come (John 1:30). He is the last of the Old Testament prophets (vs 9,10), his rigorous lifestyle the holiest of the old covenant (vs 18) – even though he never fully experiences the intimacy of the new covenant (v 19). Even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist (v 11)!
You have been born again into the kingdom of God: ‘ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven’ (HF Lyte, 1834). Sing his praise!
Lord, I want to be like John the Baptist who was willing to step aside so that you would be seen. This is my prayer today; may I decrease and you increase.