Lk.7:28 -TPT – Throughout history there was never found a man as great as John the Baptizer. Yet those who now walk in God’s kingdom realm, though they appear to be insignificant, will become even greater than he.
What a great honor, to have Jesus call you the greatest of the prophets. John the Baptist was a fresh blast of wind, blowing away the stagnant religious smog that had settled in on Israel for several centuries. The same old same old would never bring change, the Lord had saved the best of the Old Testament prophets until the last. Here is how Adam Clarke describes the Baptist.
“(John) was contented to live in the desert, and to announce the solemn and severe truths of his doctrine to the simple inhabitants of the country. Let it be well observed, that the preacher who conforms to the world in his clothing, is never in his element but when he is frequenting the houses and tables of the rich and great. He was a prophet, a teacher, a man divinely commissioned to point out Jesus and his salvation; and more excellent than any of the old prophets, because he not only pointed out this Christ, but saw him, and had the honor of dying for that sacred truth which he steadily believed and boldly proclaimed.”
Think of the radical nature of Jesus’s statement. John was greater than Abraham who was the father of the nation of Israel. The Baptizer surpassed Moses who was the giver of the law. Think about the prophetic power and miracles of Elijah and Elisha, John was greater still. And of course there was Isaiah who had the vision of the Lord high and lifted up and a revelation of the birth and death of Jesus, John’s ministry was greater still.
I used to wonder what Jesus meant until one day in a flash I saw it. John was relentless in his call to repentance. his message was consistent and two fold. He saw Jesus as the lamb of God, the final sacrifice to end all sacrifices; He would be the complete price paid for the sins of man. The second part of His message was seen in John’s baptismal ministry. “I baptize in water but the One coming after me is greater, He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire. John saw Jesus in His heavenly priesthood. John was the greatest prophet because he had the clearest vision of Christ.