Mathew 11:11 “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
So how are we greater?
John the Baptist only preached one message Mathew 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Johns message was an invitation to enter into another Kingdom through the act of repentance. Repentance is much more than just turning from ones sin. It is the putting off of one system of living, and the putting on of another. Repentance is the complete replacement of one identity and pattern of thinking. It is the act of stepping into your “new creation” identity and being “renewed in the spirit of your mind”. It is no longer aligning your way of thinking according to the pattern of this world, but rather taking on the thought life of another Kingdom. Johns message of repentance can be literally translated “Change the way you think because the Kingdom is available to you!” As Jesus stated in John 3:3 “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot SEE the kingdom of God.” John’s ministry was centered around the act of repentance, he preached repentance then baptized. John was giving us a complete picture of what repentance is. The “born again” experience comes through the act of repentance, and water baptism. According to Jesus it is what allows us to begin to “see” what another Kingdom is seeing. When you are born into a kingdom, any kingdom you become bound to live according to the structure, and values of that kingdom simply because you are a citizen. When we are “born again” we are birthed into the Kingdom of God, therefore we adopt the structure, and values of His Kingdom. Thus we change the way we think so that the ways of heaven become our ways. We no longer “see” with our natural eye, but now we see through the eye of the Kingdom. And because our view now is not from the perspective of earth, but from the Kingdom of Heaven the things of Heaven become available to us on the earth. So that the sick are no longer sick, the lame are no longer lame, and the dead are no longer dead because I no longer see the limitations that exist on earth, but rather I see the unlimited possibilities of heaven! John preached the full message, but only demonstrated one aspect of it which was repentance. Johns ministry according to scripture was to “prepare the way” John wasn’t just preparing the way for Jesus, he was also preparing the way for the Kingdom that Jesus would later demonstrate. John was laying a foundation for Jesus to step up on. John painted a picture of repentance, Jesus would paint a picture of the Kingdom.
Jesus only preached one message: Mark 1:14 “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” From the sermon on the mount to the upper room every time Jesus taught on any topic it was always in light of the Kingdom. Jesus states that “the time is fulfilled” the time in which He is referring to is found in Daniel 7:21 “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Taking on our sin was only 1/2 of the primary purpose of the cross. The other 1/2 was to dismantle the kingdom of darkness, and establish a new Kingdom in the earth. 1 John 3:5 & 8 tells us of the two fold purpose behind the manifestation of Christ. Verse 5 says: “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins”… But John didn’t stop there, he went on to say in verse 8 “…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Every kingdom produces according to its own structure, and values. “The works of the devil” that John was referring to was simply the effect of the kingdom of darkness upon mankind. The kingdom of darkness like any other kingdom has structure to it. Ephesians 6:12 gives us details into that structure. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].” The kingdom of darkness also has its own set of values which is stealing, killing, and destroying. When you combine structure, and values “works” are then produced. The Kingdom of God has a structure to it also, the centurion from Luke 7 understood its structure. The Kingdom of God has values as well which are based out of love, and the Righteousness of God. This is why we are given the instruction to “seek first the Kingdom, and His Righteousness”. Kingdom is the structure, righteousness is the value, and according to Jesus when you combine the two “all things” become available to you! Jesus came producing the good works of the Kingdom, and subsequently began to dominate over another kingdom. Acts 10:38 says: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” The good works of Jesus had a devastating effect on the works of the devil, and because of that Satan sought to kill him. The death of Jesus on the cross would prove to be the most catastrophic event that the devils kingdom would ever experience. The cross stripped the enemy of his power, turned us into Sons of God, loosed the Holy Spirit & the Kingdom of God onto the earth. The very thing that Satan attempted to destroy became more numerous, and more powerful through the cross, this is why the bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:7 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Glory was crucified in order that we would receive glory, and then fill the earth with His glory! One preacher said: “if Satan would have know what was really going to happen at the cross he would have killed everyone that was trying to kill Jesus!” The “gospel” is good news because the Kingdom of God only produces good works that destroy the works of the devil. Jesus’ message varied from That of Johns in that Jesus added the element of belief, belief in the good works of the Kingdom of God. Jesus displayed the works, then told us to believe the works. Jesus demonstrated so that we would have an example, then He instructed us in belief so that we would perform. This is why He stated in Mark 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. “Signs” are the works of the Kingdom, belief is the only way they operate. Everything that Jesus did, and everything that He taught was done as an invitation to enter into the realities of another Kingdom. Entrance begins with repentance as John taught, and once you enter that Kingdom belief is then required to perform the works of the Kingdom as Jesus taught. Perhaps one of the most powerful scriptures concerning the works of the Kingdom comes from Jesus’ statement in John 14:12 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Make no mistake about it the “works” that Jesus is referring to here is the miraculous demonstration of the Kingdom of God on the earth. John the Baptist preached the Kingdom, and demonstrated repentance. Jesus preached the Kingdom of God and demonstrated the Gospel. John laid a foundation for Jesus’ ministry, Jesus laid a foundation for our ministry!
Jesus’ disciples were instructed to do only two things “And into whatsoever city ye enter….. heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” Luke 10:8-9. Healing the sick is one part of the demonstration of the Kingdom. Remember it is a Kingdom of power, therefore power must be displayed. The apostle Paul understood this when he wrote “For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power.” 1 Cor 4:20. Jesus’ instructions were simply ‘show them the power of the Kingdom, then tell them about it’. This is why Paul also wrote in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” Even Paul’s ministry resembled the instruction that Jesus gave to His disciples in Luke 10. Paul went on to write in Romans 15:19 “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Paul associated the demonstration of power, with the gospel being preached “fully”. He understood what the disciples understood, that the Kingdom must be preached, and demonstrated. Everything that Jesus taught, every time He cast out a demon, all the miracles, and every healing, all of it was done as an example for us. Jesus’ ministry set the stage for our ministry, He is the model. Jesus modeled intimacy with the Father, He modeled faith, He alone is the model for Kingdom style ministry, and living which includes the demonstration of the realities of that Kingdom and it’s power. Everything that Jesus did while on the earth was done as an invitation for us to enter in and experience, only Jesus raised the bar for us when He stated that we would do even “greater works!” John the Baptist was a great prophet. Jesus said in Mathew 11:11-11 “he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” How are we greater than John? The answer is clear…. John preached the Kingdom but only demonstrated repentance. Repentance is the entry point into the Kingdom. John was preparing the way, showing us the way, making our path straight. Now that we have entered into the Kingdom we not only get to experience it, but also demonstrate its power. We, like John preach the same message, the gospel of the Kingdom. But unlike John we have the opportunity to “fully” preach the gospel by putting its power on display for everyone to see!
Jesus said: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Mathew 5:16.
Now go and produce greater works!