“Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist…” Imagine, if you will, in the liturgical year, here in the USA, we just experienced the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe where we acknowledge the significance of the Blessed Virgin Mary — and now we have Jesus basically saying that John is the “greatest” ever. What does this mean? Does this diminish our Blessed Mother’s significance?
No, not really. Jesus is utilizing rhetoric to make a point. The point is that John was not just special, he was amazingly so. He was chosen to be the final prophet of the Old Testament era, the one who would finally see the fulfillment of centuries of promises.
The interesting thing is that today’s reading is also in the context where John had doubts and had sent his own followers to ask Jesus if he was actually the Messiah. We all have times where we doubt, where we’re just not sure — especially in difficult times. John was at that time on trial for his life.
Be of good cheer, Jesus was and is who he claimed to be. The evidence was clear, Jesus did the works of which the ancient prophets prophesied.
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none 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 suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”