The least in the kingdom
"Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (NKJV) Matthew 11:11
If any man's ministry was endorsed by Jesus, John the Baptists was. John's ministry began just when the old testament era was coming to an end. Indeed, we can say he was the last of the old testament prophets.
Among those "born of women" none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet Jesus revealed that the "least" in the kingdom of heaven is greater than this great prophet. How can this be?
Born of the Spirit
All men and women are " born of women" and therefore cannot be greater than John the Baptist. Jesus made that clear. The term "born of woman" obviously talks about the flesh: our natural body. John the Baptist ministry was that of a man "born of woman". He was an old testament prophet.
The believer today is not just "born of woman" but also "born of the spirit". (John 3:5-7). The "least" of us under the new testament has a privilege John the Baptist did not. Whereas John the Baptist was only "born of a woman", and like any of the other old testament prophets had the Holy Spirit come upon him for the fulfilment of his ministry. The believer today has the privilege of being born not only of a woman, but born again of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit not being just upon us but actually taking up residence within us. Our spirits become alive to God in a way that the old testament prophets could have never understand (2 Cor 5:17).
Jesus expounded this truth even more when he taught about the Holy Spirit not just dwelling with us but also being in us.
John 14:17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (NKJV) The Spirit Of Christ Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (NKJV)
As believer under the new testament we are greater than John the Baptist because we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling inside us permanently. The Holy Spirit has the ability to do the same works He did in Jesus through us, and even greater works. John the Baptist said of himself
" He must increase but I (John) must decrease" (John 3:30) Whereas Jesus said of us
John 14:12 " Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (NKJV)
While John's ministry was to decrease ours is to increase. The Holy Spirit inside the believer is the secret of success in ministry. As believers we need to stop using gimmicks, methods and games to do the works of God and start giving room to the Holy Spirit.
Our service to God should be a product of his life flowing out of us, not the efforts of "flesh" putting on a lot of activity to please Him.
It is only when we realise the Holy Spirirt as the source of our strength, that we will see the importance of spending more time with Him.
If we are "born of the Spirit" We should learn to "walk in the Spirit".