THE GOSPELS 67
JESUS MAKES TWO SIGNIFICANT STATEMENTS
We often read a statement and understand the immediate meaning but fail to recognize the implication of it and its significance, its relationship to other truths and to our lives. In the 11th chapter of Matthew, Jesus makes two of these important statements, but the significance of each of them takes some thought and an understanding of the history changing events of this period.
John the Baptist was in prison and he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask if Jesus was the promised Messiah, or was He the forerunner and that another would come. Jesus’ answer was for them to go tell John what they saw. What they saw was the blind made to see, the lame made to walk and even some who were dead raised to life. This would prove to John that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God and Heaven-sent.
But what does this statement of Jesus say to us? It says that every miracle was performed to prove that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Every miracle of Jesus and of His disciples was for the same purpose. None of them were for the purpose of simply relieving human suffering. Jesus was compassionate, but His mission was not to heal sickness of the body but to heal sickness of the soul. He proved that He was the messenger of God from Heaven by the miracles He performed. What do we have, in our preaching today, to prove that Jesus was the Son of God and Our Savior? We have the Cross! Paul said, “God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of Christ”. I do not need miracles to prove that Jesus was the Christ. Those who claim to be faith healers disparage the Cross. We don’t need people healing. We need people proclaiming the Cross. Sickness is temporary and a normal part of this world. Sin is eternal and blocks the way to life eternal. Only the Cross can answer that problem. It proves that Jesus was the Savior. He alone can forgive sins, and He alone can bless our lives. No man has that power.
Then, Jesus made a second significant statement which is often misunderstood. He proclaimed that “…no one born of woman was greater than John”. But, He said that the least in the Kingdom of Heaven was greater than John. Such a statement sounds paradoxical. But the significance of it is very important for us to realize. John was an ideal man, but he, like all of us, was still a sinner. Paul said, “We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. What Jesus is saying here is that John is great as a man, but one who is in the Kingdom of God is perfected by the Cross and is without sin. He is not saying that John is condemned or lost, but that he, before the Cross, is not perfect, and when the Kingdom comes, those in the Kingdom will be perfect.
The message to us is simple. Only in the Cross is there any eternal hope.
No matter how good a person may be, nor how pious his life, only Jesus can forgive his sins, and the way to Heaven is to be found only at the Cross. No man can forgive sins, no church can offer you any hope. Only those who submit to Jesus at the foot of the Cross can have the perfection needed to enter the gates of Heaven.