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Popular teaching have it that John the Baptist was called the “least” in heaven because of disbelief! Well, that is not true. Some even teach that the least is greater than John simply because John asked Jesus “are you the one? Or do we expect another?” Some said John had doubts about Jesus and therefore was punished by God to remain the least! I preached it too in my days of ignorance!

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First, Jesus didn’t say “heaven” but “the kingdom of Heaven”. The kingdom of Heaven is the same as the Kingdom of God, while other writers of the Bible choosed to use the term “Kingdom of Heaven”. God’s kingdom don’t necessarily mean heaven but the entire universe! So, Jesus didn’t mean that John went to heaven, He was saying that in the entire universe, John who happens to be the greatest of all the Prophets was still not greater than the least in God’s kingdom! We are also part of that kingdom!

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John was the last Old Testament Prophet…. He was not born-again like you were. By heaven standards, John wasn’t as righteous as God! He had his own limitations! Jesus said 

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“What I am saying is that you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Mt. 5:48 ERV

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One way we became righteous is that Christ became our own righteousness! Therefore, by the merits of Christ, we have been exalted with Christ! Of every other persons, the Bible never mentioned that anyone was seated on the throne! But we have a great testimony! Jesus died in our place, we became qualified through the records of Jesus! Jesus became our burden bearer and died our death! His righteousness was to our own credit!

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John the Baptist by rank is supposed to be greater than all other Prophets because he came to bear witness concerning Jesus! Yet, Jesus said that John isn’t greater than the least considered people in God’s kingdom! Why? Because every one who operated under the law wasn’t qualified! Jesus didn’t just come to qualify us, He also came to qualify them as well! (That is a teaching for another day). No one has ever been to heaven till Jesus resurrected! Saying that John is not greater than the least in God’s kingdom, Jesus wasn’t saying they already gone to heaven but He was trying to communicate a truth of what He has come to do. The earth is part of God’s kingdom! Let’s see how Jesus puts it

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“The truth is that John the Baptizer is greater than anyone who has ever come into this world. But even the least important person in God’s kingdom is greater than John.” – Mt. 11:11 ERV

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The preceding verse gives us a clue of what Jesus was communicating. He said

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“Since the time John the Baptizer came until now, God’s kingdom has been going forward strongly. And people have been trying to take control of it by force. Before John came, the Law of Moses and all the prophets told about the things that would happen.” – Mt. 11:12‭-‬13 ERV

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You see that? If John was the greatest of all prophets and yet least in heaven, what is the fate of other Prophets? What would have been our fate? Jesus was trying to communicate to these people what He came to do! He came to give us His own place in the kingdom of Heaven.

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Even though John was the greatest of all who came before the coming of Jesus, John still did not live to see the death and resurrection of Jesus! He only witnessed the coming of Jesus which others prophesied about but never experienced. Yet, the least important people who were commoners saw Jesus come, die and resurrect! It was a privilege even John did not enjoy. It is in this regard that Jesus said

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“But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” -Matthew 13:16, 17

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Among people who witnessed the resurrection were fishermen, rejected women and others who followed Jesus! John preached “the kingdom of God is at hand” but the common people experienced the kingdom within them! Jesus said

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“People will not say, ‘Look, God’s kingdom is here!’ or ‘There it is!’ No, God’s kingdom is here with you. ” -k. 17:21 ERV

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You also witnessed the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus by believing it! Talking about us who were not there when it happened, Jesus said to Thomas

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“You believe because you see me. Great blessings belong to the people who believe without seeing me!” – Jn. 20:29 ERV

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You’re greatly blessed because you believed in Jesus without seeing Him!

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#GracefulGeorge

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