Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily Devotional, where we continue in our series: Luke Exploring Who Jesus is. Please share this devotional with anyone you think would find it helpful.
‘After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 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.”’ (Luke 7:24-28)
Lesson: God wants us to understand that true greatness is gifted to those in Christ and this is a gift that fills us with dignity and frees us to pursue the right things in life.
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Faced with John’s doubts about Him, Jesus graciously encourages him and publicly reaffirms John’s identity as the prophet who was sent to prepare the way for Him. He goes on to make this interesting comment about greatness. Firstly, He speaks of John’s true greatness; John’s greatness, he says, is not judged as we may, and as too many of us judge greatness; John is not great, Jesus says, because of clothing or his residence. Rather, John is great because of God’s gracious call on His life and his obedient response to the Spirit’s difficult calling. However, Jesus goes on to make this astounding comment:
“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.”
What is this about? What are we to learn and be inspired about from this promise?
Jesus makes the distinction between ‘those born of women’ and those in the Kingdom. It seems that Jesus is comparing the Old Covenant age with the New Covenant age and that all Christians are greater than any of the Old Testament characters including John. How can this be? How can the ‘least’ Christian be greater than a character like John the Baptist? Simply put, John was ‘born of a woman’ but Christians are ‘born again of the Spirit’. Christians are new creations in Christ, and although John was clearly filled with the Spirit, he was not a ‘born again’ man. In Christ, believers are truly ‘great’ in that they are gifted with Jesus’ perfect righteousness; they are adopted into the family of God; and they are new creations with a new heart. All of us who are in the Kingdom are truly great in Christ.
God wants us to understand that true greatness is gifted to those in Christ and this is a gift that fills us with dignity and frees us to pursue the right things in life.
Firstly, I just want to link today’s devotional to what we saw yesterday when Jesus honoured the doubting John. Jesus did not become defensive as John doubted Him, because Jesus knew His worth was from God and not founded on other’s changeable opinions of Him. An important key to healthy relationships that endure through tensions is that we know our identity - our ‘greatness’ - in Christ, which frees us to be gracious to those who fail us.
Finally, do we understand our true greatness as children of God who are accounted as perfectly righteous in Christ? Or are we still hankering after clothes, cars and ‘cribs’ (palatial homes with lots of TVs)? These are the things in which we seek affirmation and status when we don’t understand our true greatness from Christ.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
This week in our devotionals and in this CG study, we will be learning from the account of John's doubts and how we can deal with our, and help others with their, temptation to doubt Jesus.
Please read Luke 7:18-35 (We will be focussing on verses 18-21)
Note: Firstly, encourage the group to use the devotionals so as to cover more aspects of this text.
Why do you think that John is doubting his conviction about Jesus being the promised Messiah/Christ?
Have you ever experienced doubts in your faith?
If, like John, you, or someone you know is being tempted to doubt Jesus, what lessons does this text teach us about how to be restored in faith?
SIV - What does this text teach us about how we can help unbelievers or 'prodigals' to come to faith?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.
Let's pray for one another our friends whom we know to be tempted to doubt or who have fallen away from faith.