Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
All the great prophets pointed to a future Messiah, an anointed one of God. John the Baptist, however, did not herald an eventual incarnation of the almighty. He proclaimed that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand. He focused the people of his day to look toward the one who baptizes with fire and the Holy Spirit. By professing John as the greatest, Jesus acknowledged the magnitude of his cousin’s undertaking in preparing his path and planting the seeds of hope for his mission. So often Jesus used parables to describe the Kingdom of heaven. Here Jesus indicates the perfection of all who attain that Kingdom by declaring them even greater than John the Baptist.
We will all be made perfect in God’s Kingdom. We will all someday be greater than even John the Baptist was while here on earth. To enter that Kingdom, we must first heed John’s words to repent in our ways and focus on Jesus.
O glorious Saint John the Baptist, greatest prophet among those born of women,
obtain for us through our Lord the grace to be wholly detached, at least in our hearts, from earthly goods,
and to live in a spirit of holy prayer. Amen.