"Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear." - Matthew 11:11-15 ESV
Looking at this passage this morning and considering John the Babtist's life. He was an interesting character. He was provoking as the last prophet of the age before Christ came. He insulted power with truth and it cost him his life.
God's kingdom invades our comfort zones and sometimes we react. Some react more than others.
The least person in Jesus' age is greater because of grace. John wasn't a gracious man and he had questions at the end.
"And when the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, 'Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?'"
In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, 'Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.'
When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: 'What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.' " - Luke 7:20-28 ESV
Grace gives us something truly powerful. God used an offensive man to pave the way for the gracious one. Jesus had nothing but good things to say about John.
Grace doesn't condemn the reactionary. Grace doesn't condemn anyone but if we are lacking grace all that is left is condemnation.