IV. QUAR., LESSON IX., DEC. 2, LUKE 7:24-35.
Golden Text—"Behold, I send my messenger before thy face."—Luke 7:27.
This testimony of our Lord concerning John was another pointed proof of his own identity with the predicted Messiah. John himself had claimed to be the fulfilment of Mal. 3:1 and Isa. 40:3 (John 1:19-27)—not the Messiah, but the forerunner of the Messiah, then present, but not yet made known to them. Now the Messiah had been introduced to them by John, and he had been proving his claims by many wonderful works of which they were witnesses; and yet they believed not. They had accepted John and his claim to be the forerunner of Messiah, and multitudes of them had been baptized of him for the remission of sins, believing the preaching of John that the Kingdom of God was at hand and the Messiah already in their midst.
Why was it then that they could not believe in the Messiah attested by so many wonderful works and all the evidences of prophecy, even after they had recognized and received his forerunner? It was because their hearts were not right. It mattered not what sort of evidences were brought forward, they were not prepared [R1737 : page 368] to receive any evidences: they were like children in the market places who, having no interest in what was going on for entertainment, showed no response to either the gay or melancholy music. No matter what kind of evidence was produced, they were so out of harmony with the truth that they objected to everything.
"But," our Lord added, "wisdom [the divine wisdom, divine truth] is justified [proved right—accepted] of all her children:" those who have the spirit or disposition of the truth are not slow to understand the evidences nor to accept the facts.
Our Lord's testimony of John was that he was not only a prophet, and the greatest of all the prophets, but much more than a prophet, and the greatest man that had lived up to his time. That is, he was the most highly honored of all men in being privileged, not merely to foretell the coming of Messiah, but to stand in his very presence and introduce him to Israel and the world. That honor John evidently appreciated (John 3:28,29), but the world did not then; but we can see in what esteem such honored and faithful ones of the past will be held when the light of the new dispensation is thrown upon them, as they take their places in the earthly phase of the kingdom.
It was in comparative reference to the relative glory of the two phases of the Kingdom—the spiritual and the human (See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., Chap. xiv.)—that the Lord added to his eulogy of John the statement of verse 28—"But he that is least in the Kingdom of God [in its spiritual phase] is greater than he.