Monthly Thoughts from Pastor Fred Naumann

THE GREAT ONE

by

Pastor Fred Naumann

 

When our Lord pointed out John the Baptizer as the greatest man ever born, He gave us several lessons:

 

(1) We learn from what we are not told about him. We were not told those things which usually determine greatness in society. For example: Did the scholars of the day acknowledge him as a peer or merely as a contemporary? For that matter, did he even have a formal education? Was he very bright? Did he have a good I.Q.? Did he write any scholarly scrolls or invent anything? Was he handsome and healthy? Did he preach with a commanding voice? (Or was he like Paul who, among the Corinthians, was accused of having weak words and appearance?)

 

(2) John consistently pointed away from himself to Jesus. John started his career six months ahead of Jesus. His purpose was to be like a town crier who would announce the arrival of a dignitary. John constantly announced Jesus. He even directed his own students to Jesus. They left him and followed Jesus. When Jesus came on the scene as a preacher, John's role ended. The One John proclaimed had arrived.

 

(3) He took second place without a bit of jealousy. He leaped with joy to be No. 2.

 

(4) And so we might conclude that his greatness is because he made a way for Jesus rather than "be in the way" of Jesus. All too often, we are so impressed with what we have become in Jesus that we show our accomplishments in Christian growth so that people begin to appreciate us and ignore the Lord. Pastors and teachers are tempted by Satan to forget Whose sheep these are. We can praise and appreciate the creation rather than our Creator, the gift rather than the Giver. Our thanksgiving celebrations can have so many chores that we are too busy to thank Him. All too often, we busy ourselves in the kitchen with Martha, rather than hear the words from God.

 

Only one pair of eyes saw the bucolic herald and designated John to be seen as "the greatest born of women," (Matthew 11:11) because he turned all the eyes toward Jesus losing even his person to become a mere Voice. Is there a more noble title?