The world has many standards by which it measures greatness.
These standards include intellectual achievement, political and military leadership, scientific and medical discoveries, wealth and power, and athletic, dramatic, literary, and musical skill.
Jesus here sets forth /God’s /measure of greatness, first in the human, historical dimension as seen in the life and ministry of John the Baptist.
He then briefly contrasts John’s greatness with the superior greatness of kingdom citizens.
From verses 7-15 three marks of greatness can be discerned: they are measured by our character, calling, and consistency.
Greatness is Measured by Our Character (11:7-8)
We can learn much from John because:
John was honest about his sin (11:2-3)
John confessed his confusion and doubt
*1 John 1:8-9 *If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.*
*If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us /our /sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John sought help from Jesus
*Psalm 46:1 *God /is /our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
John stood firm in his faith (11:7)
The reed to which Jesus referred was common along Near Eastern river banks.
They were light and flexible, waving back and forth with every breeze.
John’s convictions are:
Seen in his preaching (Matthew 3:7-10)
Seen in his imprisonment
As John Bunyan points out in his /Pilgrim’s Progress, /Mr.
Pliable does not go to prison to be martyred for the truth.
John was disciplined in his walk (11:8)
Demonstrated by his separated life-style
Ø He was not like the world in the way he dressed or lived.
*2 Corinthians 6:17 *Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
Demonstrated by his self-denial
Ø John had taken a Nazirite vow.
Ø Along with not drinking wine or liquor, the vow also involved never cutting the hair or touching anything, such as a dead body, that was ceremonially unclean.
Ø His self-denial was purposeful; it was for the sake of his ministry and it aided his own physical and spiritual discipline.
Greatness is Measured by Our Calling (11:9-11)
The Baptist’s calling (11:9-11a)
The greatness of John’s calling is seen in:
His place in history
Ø John was unique in that he was both John was both prophet and fulfillment of prophecy.
His purpose in history
Ø He was the only one who prepared the way for Christ.
Ø He would proclaim the coming of Christ and baptize Him.
The believers calling (11:11b)
The greatness of the believers is seen in:
Our privileged position
Ø We have the privilege of witnessing for Jesus based on a clearer and more complete revelation than John.
Ø Our greatness is not based on us but on God’s revelation of Himself to us and His gracious chose to allow us to give testimony of His grace.
Greatness is Measured by Our Consistency (11:12-15)
The key to understanding this passage is to understand the meaning and use of the word /biazetai,/ which can either be translated in the passive of middle voice in Greek.
In the passive it refers to the violence that is inflicted upon the kingdom by outsiders.
In the middle voice the verb carries the active idea of applying force or of entering forcibly—“The kingdom of heaven is vigorously pressing itself forward, and people are forcefully entering it.”
We must consistently stand for the Gospel (11:12)
Even when it is being attacked and so are we.
We must consistently press upon men the demands of the gospel (11:12-15)
This is the preferred translation because:
It is what Jesus practiced (Matthew 1-10)
Ø He expelled demons
Ø He cured diseases
Ø He raised the dead
It is how and what Jesus preached (Luke 16:16)
Ø The few who enter the kingdom must enter through the narrow gate.
Ø Believers must take up their crosses.
It is how men come to faith (11:13-15)
How does your greatness measure up?
Are you honest about your sin?
Are you standing firm in your faith?
Are you disciplined in your walk?
Are you pointing others to Christ?
Are you standing for the gospel?
Are you pressing upon men the claims of the gospel?
\\ Matthew 11:7-15
Greatness is Measured by Our _______________________ (11:7-8)
John was ________ about his sin (11:2-3)
John confessed his confusion and doubt
*1 John 1:8-9*
John ________________ help from Jesus
John stood __________ in his faith (11:7)
Seen in his ____________________ (Matthew 3:7-10)
Seen in his imprisonment (Matthew 10:17-18)
John was disciplined in his ___________ (11:8)