Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greater than John the Baptist

"It may be granted, (1.) That David, in the general course of his life, was one of the holiest men among the Jews. And, (2.) That the holiest men among the Jews did sometimes commit sin. But if you would hence infer that all Christians do, and must commit sin, as long as they live; this consequence we utterly deny. It will never follow from those premises. Those who argue thus seem never to have considered that declaration of our Lord, Matt. xi, 11, 'Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women, there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist. Notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.'

In these words then our Lord declares two things: (1.) That before his coming in the flesh, among all the children of men, there had not been one greater than John the Baptist: whence it evidently follows that neither Abraham, David, nor any Jew, was greater than John. (2.) That he who is least in the kingdom of God (in that kingdom which he came to set up on earth, and which the violent now began to take by force) is greater than he. Not a greater prophet (as some have interpreted the word) for this is palpably false in fact: but greater in the grace of God, and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we cannot measure the privileges of real Christians by those formerly given to the Jews. 'Their ministration,' or dispensation, we allow 'was glorious;' but ours 'exceeds in glory.' So that whosoever would bring down the Christian dispensation to the Jewish standard, doth 'greatly err, neither knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.'" ~ John Wesley

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