The Greatest Man

I recently enjoyed the movie The Greatest Showman about the winsome P. T. Barnum. He certainly had the pizzazz to possess the “greatest showman” title.

Since Christmas I’ve been reading through the Gospels and noticed a much different title highlighted . . . and it didn’t have anything to do with singing or show lights.

“I say to you, among those born of women 

there is no one greater than John; 

yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Luke 7:28

No one greater than John?

Sunday School stories about John the Baptist conjure up images of locusts and honey — wild honey. This probably impressed the boys but I had never paid too much attention to him before.

This is ironic because John consistently deflected attention from himself to Jesus Christ! His entire role in history is pivotal because after years of silence he prepared the world for the Messiah.

What do the Gospels record about the man Jesus honored in this way? It’s not hard to find John’s heartbeat in the words he uses about himself (and the lack of words about himself) and his magnification of the lamb of God.

People often quizzed him. “Who are you?” He gave simple answers like:

1. I’m the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

2. There is One who is coming after me and He is mightier than I.

3. I’m not even worthy to remove His sandals.

4. I am not the Christ.

5. He must increase, but I decrease.

When Jesus arrived at the Jordan to be baptized, John tried to refuse and said, “I have need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?”

John wasn’t in the limelight at all and his humility set the stage for the heavens to open up, the Spirit of God descending as a dove and the Father’s voice from the heavens declaring, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus received the glory.

Lord, give me the faith to be just a voice used to magnify the One that is mightier than I am. Let me know my own unworthiness before You and may my life display Your beloved Son in whom You are well pleased. In the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (John 3:30).

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