Prepare to Listen. See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 11:7-11
7As they [John’s disciples] went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.” 11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Most of us want to be great. As children we played: ‘I’m the king of the castle, you’re the dirty rascal.’ In school, we strived to be the best in sports or academics or music. As adults, we still want to be great at what we do. We also vote for political candidates who promise to make our nation great. Let’s face it, we aspire to be great, living in a great land. Jesus addressed aspirations for greatness after John’s disciples departed.
John the Baptizer didn’t classify as great then and wouldn’t today. He wasn’t, said Jesus, a king like Herod, who chose an emblem of a reed waving in the wind for his coins. Nor was he a wealthy prince in soft robes and royal palaces. That’s not why people were attracted to him. They made the journey into the wilderness because they believed he was a great prophet, maybe even the Messiah.
Herod knew John was great and feared him, so he imprisoned him. Jesus knew John was great and publicly claimed that “among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist.” He was great for one reason only: he was what he was chosen to be—the messenger preparing the way for Messiah. But here’s the thing, as great as John was, Jesus said, “the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Jesus wasn’t impressed with greatness, it seems. And maybe we shouldn’t be either.
Who are considered the least, the unwanted in your church today? See them as Jesus does—the least are the greatest.
Respond in Prayer
Lord, from the bottom of my heart, may I be able today to really see the person in front me, appreciate them for who they are and avoid categorizing them as least or inferior. Amen.
Live Obediently. See greatness through Jesus’ eyes.
 John was in prison and sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. The story is told in 11:1-6.
Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.