Moved by Compassion – Part II
Key Verse: Luke 7:28
“I tell you, of all who have lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!”
Additional Reading: Luke 7:18-35
Let’s wrestle with our Key Verse for today’s devotion. It is not an easy verse to understand.
At first reading, Jesus seems to be confused or giving some mysterious message. Obviously, Jesus is not confused, nor is He giving some mysterious message to be hidden my those that might seek Him. What Jesus did was to take a standard of greatness that those who were listening to Him would understand. They, like us, would naturally judge greatness by either someone’s wisdom, possibly their wealth, or maybe their popularity.
Let’s be honest, we tend to judge greatness in the Church in similar ways. For example, if you walked into a small country church that 25 people attended each Sunday, you probably wouldn’t describe that pastor as “great”, given just those circumstances. However, if you walked into a large church of thousands, that pastor might be judged as great, given these few facts about his situation.
Let’s go back to our Key Verse. Jesus is saying that John, in their traditional view of greatness, was the greatest person that had ever lived. That was not intended to be a slam on their view of greatness, but simply a reminder that man’s views are far different than God’s view of greatness.
God’s view of greatness is based on a person’s position in Christ. John was baptizing in water and his message was about Jesus. However, what is greater than John’s ministry is that a person who because of their faith receives Jesus and becomes a member of God’s Kingdom.
(If this causes you to wonder whether John is in heaven, don’t let it… John is indeed in Heaven because he was obeying His heavenly calling of preparing people for Jesus).
The New Testament was clear about the greatness of anyone who received Christ and was brought into the Kingdom of God because of their faith: they are saints of God and a holy people.
Today’s church isn’t comfortable referring to all their folks as saints. They feel it gives a wrong message and perhaps it does. However, God’s view of anyone who has received Jesus is that they are a saint and thus precious in His sight!
Listen to the inspired words of the Apostle Paul concerning us who have received Jesus as our Savior: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10). Our unsaved friends wouldn’t understand us if we constantly reminded them that we are saints and masterpieces!
However, please don’t allow yourself negative self-talk about being a terrible person, a hypocrite etc. etc. You and I are redeemed and cleaned by the work of Jesus on the cross. The devil is an accuser of the God’s people, a liar, and the father of lies! (Revelation12:9-10 and John 8:44).
If we put today’s Key Verse in modern language, it might read like this: “I tell you, of all who have lived, none is greater than John. Yet even you, with all your weaknesses, are greater than John the Baptist because of your faith in Jesus and your membership in God’s Kingdom”.
Think about that, you are greater than John the Baptist, not because of anything you have done, but because you have entered the Kingdom of God by faith in Jesus Christ.I hope you will remind yourself often today that you are great in God’s sight, a masterpiece in the making!
Father, it is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that you love me the way that you do, but by faith I rest in your love. In Jesus’s Name, I pray – amen!