A Nugget from New Life Network
Scripture for the Day (August 8, 2017)
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: (Matthew 11:11)
Jesus said that John the Baptist was a great man. What made him so great? Was it his preaching in the wilderness? Was it his baptizing? Was it his unique clothes (a garment of camel hair)? Was it what he ate (locusts and honey)? Personally, I don’t think it was any of those things that made him great.
John the Baptist was the hottest preaching machine going at the time. He had his own following. You might say he had his own growing congregation. Now, when Jesus showed up on the scene and started healing the sick and casting out demons His reputation began to spread quickly and many people started to flock to Him. I bet some of John’s own followers were part of that crowd flocking to Jesus. Ministers don’t usually take kindly to losing their people to other ministries.
John had a decision to make. He could be offended at Jesus, or he could find out more about who Jesus really was. Sometimes, the church can become closed and over protective. Don’t get me wrong, with my background in federal law enforcement and ministry, I am fully aware of the need to protect the flock. That is the Pastor’s responsibility. We just have to use great discernment when carrying out those tasks.
So John, rather than getting offended, sent a group of his followers to check this Jesus guy out. Listen to an account of this meeting from the Gospel of Luke:
When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Luke 7:19-23)
I want you to notice two important things here. The first thing is that Jesus did not back down from who He was. He did not try to humble or downplay his calling just so He could fit in with John’s disciples. He kept on doing what He was called to do. The second thing is a major key to John’s greatness. Jesus said blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. John could have easily been offended or let his people get offended. He could have succumbed to that religious mentality of thinking that I was here first; I have worked hard and suffered much; I have spent all this time in the wilderness. Those are some of the very same carnal thoughts that the Pharisees succumbed to, which resulted in the Jewish people missing the Messiah.
One of the reasons John the Baptist was great was because he did not bow to those thoughts. John knew his calling and was comfortable with it. He did not get offended. He recognized Jesus for who He was and was thankful for His presence and ministry. A sample of his responses to his followers were; Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29); I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire (Matthew 3:11); He must increase, but I must decrease (John 4:30).This should be a good lesson for all our church leaders today. Don’t get offended if God sends you another anointed minister to be a part of your congregation. It just could be that God is trying to bless you and get you ready for something really big! If you get offended, you will miss what God wants to do, and thus miss His blessing.