1. John was praised not merely because, he arrived in fulfillment of prophecy, but also of the marvelous manner in which this forerunner had fulfilled his task.
- · He clearly mentioned or announced the arrival of Messiah directing the people’s attention to that Great one ‘Look the lamb of God who is taking away the sin of the world (Jn 1: 29)
- · He emphasized ‘repentance’ as the only way to enter the Messiah’s kingdom.
- · It is the duty of the herald to recede to the background when one whom he has introduced comes fully in to the scene-playing the second fiddle.
2. The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist – This cannot mean that he was not a saved man. John in his prison was not in such close touch with Jesus as was these ones. He was not an immediate participant or even direct witness. Also he was not to see
3. All the prophets and the law – indicates the entire Old Testament as far as the prophets that wrote books are concerned ending with Malachi, in whose book the coming of Christ and his herald was predicted. There upon prophecy was silent for 400 years. It was John who tied together the old and the new dispensation. Like Elijah he too was a preacher of repentance. The two resembled each other also in their appearance, incisiveness of their message and simplicity of life.
4. He who has ears let him hear: In all of Christ’s teaching both on earth and from heaven, it would be difficult to discover any exhortation that he repeated more often, in one form or another, than the one verse 15 (13: 9, 43; Mk 4:9, 23; Lk 8:8; 14:35; Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9; 8:18 in both Mk and Lk)
5. God expects us to use the faculties we have in order to receive His message: We have eyes to see His work; ears to hear His message; minds to reason the truth; hands to work His works; feet to go where He wishes. We are to be as committed to the Messiah as John was.
All of us are privileged to have been born in this world after the incarnation. It does not mean that Jesus’ presence was not there before the incarnation. As Christians we are all the more privileged to be the followers of Christ. We are given the privilege which many of the Prophets longed to have. We are living in the Messianic times. Every day we meet this Messiah in the Eucharist. We are not only seeing Him, not only hearing Him but also eating Him. Thus we are bestowed with too many privileges. This naturally calls for greater responsibility on our part in being true and faithful disciples of the Lord.
New Testament Commentary the Gospel of Matthew – William Hendrickson
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible