“This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John: yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) (Luke 7:27-30)
When it became law that physical therapists required a doctorate degree in the State of Florida, I was grandfathered in. Current physical therapists could still practice, but new physical therapists had a greater education. When they became experienced, the least of them was greater than I. John the Baptist didn’t have the advantage of dying after Jesus died, so he couldn’t experience the grace of righteousness and adoption into God’s family while living on earth. Therefore, those of us who are least in the kingdom of God are greater than John the Baptist was. Of course, John will be grandfathered into God’s kingdom.
Change isn’t easy, so Luke’s parenthetical words honored those who chose baptism. A couple pharisees chose to follow Jesus early on, but the majority who remained pharisees and teachers of the law refused baptism, rejecting God’s purpose. They were so caught up in God’s laws, they didn’t recognize their Messiah. God was doing something new, and they couldn’t change. We, too, are challenged to see how a new thing God is doing plays out in our lives. But we are blessed when we change direction to follow Jesus.
Father God, thank you for Your grace of righteousness and adoption into Your family. Help me recognize your plan and not reject it as things change in my life. Help me follow Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.