Humility (Matthew 11:11)

Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash

God is the ultimate equal opportunity employer. He does not pick some to be   more important than others. That is a choice we make for ourselves. It is true that some seem better positioned in life. They have been born into the right family, they get the better education, they appear to have less hurdles to overcome than most. But that is just the way we see it. Not the way God sees it. John the Baptist had no money, no education and no pedigree. He was not positioned for anything other than service as a humble priest among a corrupt and lost people. Yet Jesus certainly had a very good opinion of John the Baptist, “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

To declare that he was the greatest among all humankind is nothing short of a stellar estimation. To consider that the one giving that opinion is the second member of the Godhead adds infinite gravitas to the comment. John was far and away the best there ever was! But the last sentence of that quote puts all of Jesus’ high praise for John in the best perspective; The one who is “least in the Kingdom of heaven” is greater than John. While some have taken that statement to mean every born-again Christian alive today is greater than John, that is not what Jesus was communicating. One must always read what Jesus says in the context of His revealed character. 

Jesus exemplified humility. Taken in that context, one grasps that, “Prominence and greatness in human eyes do not necessarily equate to greatness in God’s eves. God measures greatness by a different yard-stick—the willingness of the heart to yield itself to him and his will, so that his true greatness can manifest itself through the yielded heart. Therefore, the humblest (least) in the kingdom is even greater, by God’s standard, than the great John the Baptizer. Jesus did not intend this to demean John or John’s faith. He intended it, instead, as a parenthetical comment reinforcing the kingdom values that were so difficult for his audience to accept—values that run contrary to the world’s values.

Later, Jesus will find the disciples still arguing about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. His response affirms the above quote. “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” So it is not that every born-again believer is greater than John the Baptist. Rather, that the faithful soul who humbles him/herself in complete obedience to God is. For to be faithful is to be great, and to humble yourself in obedience to God allows that He can use you without restriction. With these qualities God can use you in the same way He used John; To call others to Himself, in accordance to who He made you to be and the gifting and anointing He pours out upon you. 

That doesn’t mean we all need to start eating locusts and baptizing people by the river. It means that if we are willing, God can use us to even greater effect than He used John the Baptist! The opportunity is extended to us. The choice is ours to make. 

Humility is not a character trait to develop, it’s the natural by-product of being with Jesus.

Louie Giglio

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Just how ‘great’ we are in eternity is a decision that is left entirely to us in the here and now. The more we yield to Christ, the more He can use us for His glory and the more we will reflect His glory for eternity.