Today’s passage starts like this: “As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John…” This sentence alone is such a great teaching to the body of Christ. My brother, my sister, yes, it is only after John’s disciples have left that Jesus began to talk about the greatness of John. Notice how Jesus describes John the Baptist: He was not a “reed shaken by the wind”, in other words John the Baptist was not blown about by the changing winds of political or religious circumstances. He was not like a weak reed; he was as steady as a rock. Jesus also said that he was not “a man clothed in fine clothes” (verse 8). Yes, John Baptist was a simple servant who had come to prepare the way for the coming King (Matthew 3:3-4). Jesus described Him as “a prophet” (verses 9-10) and said John the Baptist was the “greatest” of those “born of women” (verse 11). He was a true man of God: the last of the Old Testament’s prophets and the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was somebody really special. Despite all that, he also doubted. But, why did Jesus wait until the disciples of John the Baptist were gone before He talked about the greatness of John?
The easiest way of seeing things would be to say that may be Jesus did not want to add the temptation of pride to the burdens John was already facing in prison. But let’s look at things with another perspective and that is: the Lord has some secrets He doesn’t feel the need to share with us! Yes my friend, like John the Baptist, we often find ourselves in a place where we don’t know about things to come, so we may doubt or fear just because we do not know what the Lord is doing. You see, God has a plan and a purpose that you and I can never figure out. He said it: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Indeed, God sometimes conceals His plans from us, but He still wants us to trust Him anyway. You see, like John, we never truly know what the Lord has planned for our lives. God may be about to use you in a powerful, wonderful way. But, before He can use you for His glory, He may choose to keep a few, not to say all, secrets from you. To Joseph, He gave a dream…. To Esther, the events led her to be used by Him. Are you willing to trust Him whether He reveals His plans to you or not? May those who run after prophecies or word of knowledge open their ears: you might even live your entire life and still never know what the Lord is doing in your life. Are you willing to trust Him anyway? And sometimes, the Lord would even allow us to be in certain difficult situations (like Job) and still not tell you what He is doing. You see, if the Lord sees fit to allow you to go into a difficult situation, He does so because He sees in your character the kind of metal that can endure the furnace of doubt and fear and be purified to be ready for service on due time. But are you patient enough to be willing to wait on Him and trust in Him?
Another teaching we should retain here is that when we want to say good things about people, we say them to their faces so that they will think good of us. But what are we saying behind their back? Don’t we usually save the bad things for behind their backs? Let’s learn from Jesus today, for He says His best things about us behind our backs… Just read and hear Him talk about John the Baptist once John’s disciples are away. If only the members of body of Christ would behave like the Master, there would be less worldly attitudes (gossiping, slandering, self-promotions, etc…) in today’s church! Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.