Defining greatness

Posted: August 18, 2015 in TLCC
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When I think of greatness, a few people come to mind.

One is Muhammad Ali. He was a boxer who proclaimed that “he is the greatest.” Well, looking at him now, I wouldn’t say he is. I would say greatest in his era but that greatness is short-lived.

Another one would be the Beatles. They said at one point that they are greater than Jesus. Yet we have post of meme’s about kids not knowing who Paul McCartney is. Even John Lennon is forgotten.

Greatness isn’t really measured in the sight of human standards. Greatness is seen in God’s eyes. One person whom Jesus considered great is John the Baptist. He said…

I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. (Luke 7:28)

Say what? Among mortals, none is greater than John. What makes this even heavier is the guy who said it. Jesus himself. So what makes John great? Let’s look at three things that makes John the Baptist great.

#1 John sought answers from Jesus (Luke 7:18-19)

John was in prison. He was counting the last days of his life. He sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the one they have been waiting for. At this point, I believe that John was sincerely seeking out answers. Just like us, life puts us in a situation where we would be asking questions…

“Are you really God?” “Are you there?”

I believe asking questions in times of a messed up situation isn’t wrong. It’s human. However, John didn’t stop with questions. He sent his disciples to Jesus for answers. I think that’s where we are unlike John. We sometimes ask questions but don’t seek out answers. We end up ranting instead of seeking out truth. It’s ok to double check and confirm what you’ve held to be true, and make sure it is factual.

What are your questions about Jesus? What are you doing to seek the answers?

#2 John trusted Jesus (Luke 7:20-23)

John sends two of his disciples to ask questions and Jesus responded by going back to Scriptures. Jesus answered by quoting Isaiah.

Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight [Isaiah 35:5], the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear [Isaiah 29:18], the dead are raised up [Isaiah 26:19], the poor have good news preached to them [Isaiah 61:1].

Jesus points back to Scriptures as the reference point. What does that have to do with us? We are like John. We’re not there to see Jesus teach. But we trust in the eyewitness who faithfully recorded their testimony in Scriptures. John was willing to die for things he didn’t see or hear, trusting those who did. We should have the same devotion to the revelation of Scripture, and the person of Jesus. Just like John trusted the report of his two disciples, we also can trust the eyewitnesses who faithfully recorded what they heard and saw. We see their report in what we now call as the Bible.

Going back to Jesus, he answered John by quoting Scriptures. In short, He’s saying…

Go tell John that everything Isaiah promised would happen is now happening because I am God among you.

Then, Jesus closes by saying…

blessed is the one who is not offended by me.

It’s like saying…

“John, trust me. I know what I am doing. It seems like this is not how you plan things would be but I have a plan.”

We all have plans for whatever situation we are in right now. Some of us may be desperate. We sometimes think God is not doing anything but it doesn’t mean He isn’t working. We just have to trust Him. We should not be offended when things don’t work out according to how we see God would move. We just have to trust that He has a plan. Trust Him. John trusted Jesus as we never heard any complaints or anything about what John probably told his disciples. In fact, his disciples went to Jesus when John died. He trusted Jesus. So should we.

#3 John was fearless in his service to Jesus (Luke 7:24-28)

John, even in prison, was serving Jesus. He was pointing his disciples to go to Jesus. He was leading them to go to Jesus. He served even if it meant losing his neck. He prepared the way and then he bows out of the picture. We should have the same attitude when it comes to serving God. We should be willing to serve to the point of death. In fact, lordship of Christ is an all or nothing proposal. We give our all or none at all.

What also is amazing is Jesus said we can be greater than John.

I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:28)

If we are one of the least, imagine that, the lowest in God’s kingdom, is still greater than John.

So if we want to be great, we have to learn how to ask questions and seek answers. We also trust Jesus. And trusting Him meant serving Him even if it will cost us.

We can be great. Not in the world’s standards. We can be great in God’s eyes. Be like John.


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