Advent Reflection #11
According to Jesus, John the Baptist was the greatest of the prophets – he was the new Elijah. His job was to prepare the way for the One who was coming, and the Kingdom that He would bring. Jesus was that One, and in Him, the Kingdom was both present and soon-to-be fulfilled. Those who are welcomed into that Kingdom, according to Jesus, even the least important, or greater than John. Why?
Those that are fortunate enough to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven are new creations, made so by the Lamb Himself. As new creations, they are whole and complete, as God intended them – free from sin. In this way they are greater than those who are still of the old sinful nature. (Now of course, John would be welcomed into this new creation as well . . .) In this way, this is simply a passage emphasizing the equality and the novelty of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the new creation.
Finally, Jesus indicates that people have and are trying to take the Kingdom of Heaven by force. Remember John is sitting in prison, about to be martyred . . . Force or violence will not take he Kingdom of Heaven, nor will it grant one access. Instead, it is a free gift, given to those who believe, who are pure of heart – those who follow Jesus.
Heed the words of John the Baptist, the new Elijah, receive the free gift of grace and be part of God’s new creation, the Kingdom of Heaven.
Come Lord Jesus.