7 As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:

‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.'

11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Matt 11:7-11 (NIV)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to receive Kudos from the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? Two other incidents in Scripture come to mind as well and, quite frankly, leave my mouth watering – so to speak. The first is found in Daniel when the angel Gabriel, in swift flight, arrives at his side while he is yet in prayer:

20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill-- 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Dan 9:20-23 (NIV)

Hmmm, so far we have: “Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist”, next we have an angelic visitation to Daniel by Gab himself stating: “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed” and lastly we discover yet another angelic visit by Gabriel to Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus, giving this high exaltation of her:

26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:26-28 (NIV)

No one greater born of women, highly esteemed, highly favored – all bestowed by God Himself, seriously, does affirmation get any superior than this? This makes me want to dig deeper to discover what so characterized their lives that made them thus so highly exalted by Jehovah. What can I uncover to emulate – to put into practice in my own life. The common thread that particularly stands out to me at first blush is their faithfulness to the call God had placed on their lives. You see no grumbling or complaining, no begging to change their lot, their cross. They each willingly embraced His will – filling the roles which God had prepared before time for them to fill – with a willing spirit – and God was both honored and pleased. Paul tells us in Ephesians God has prepared good works for all of us to walk in:

10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:10 (NIV)

“Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways and seek to please and glorify Him in everything, great and small. Depend upon it, God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies.” Hudson Taylor

We also see in the lives of the Baptist, Daniel and Mary how they humbled themselves in service. They honored God and He therefore honored them. We are to humble ourselves and God will lift us up in due time. Jesus tells us in John that the Father honors those who serve Jesus:

26 “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:26 (NIV)

Just as pride goes before a fall so too does honor from God follow the humbling of ourselves. Peter gives us this Truth to treasure:

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

John shows this forth in the non-luxurious lifestyle he lived as well as his attitude of heart when he declared to his disciples regarding Jesus: “He must become greater; I must become less.” Daniel – even as a young teen – resolved not to defile himself with the rich foods and wines of the King’s table opting rather for mere vegetables and water – and God was pleased. The unmarried young teen Mary humbly responded to Gabriel regarding her call to be with child and give birth to the Son of the Most High by: “I am the Lord's servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”

Interestingly, all three of these served in their own sorts of isolated places – John in the desert, Daniel on foreign Pagan soil and Mary in a stable. None seemed to balk at their calling rather they manifested an unshakable resolution to continue on with God’s work – much like Jesus - neither courting smiles nor fearing frowns of men.

“Enough that God my Father knows: Nothing this faith can dim. He gives the very best to those who leave the choice with Him.” Anonymous

What I Glean

  • I desire to receive a “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
  • Pride goes before a fall and honor follows humility.
  • God desires for me to have an unshakable resolve in following hard after Jesus.