A greater than John the Baptist - A sixth excellency of the Baptist - he was greater than any prophet from the beginning of the world till that time: -
1st. Because he was prophesied of by them, Isaiah 40:3, and Malachi 3:1, where Jesus Christ himself seems to be the speaker.
2ndly. Because he had the privilege of showing the fulfillment of their predictions, by pointing out that Christ has now come, which they foretold should come. And
3dly. Because he saw and enjoyed that salvation which they could only foretell. See Quesnel.
Notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven - By the kingdom of heaven in this verse is meant, the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel of peace; which fullness was not known till after Christ had been crucified, and had risen from the dead. Now the least in this kingdom, the meanest preacher of a crucified, risen, and glorified Savior, was greater than John, who was not permitted to live to see the plenitude of Gospel grace, in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Let the reader observe,
1st. That the kingdom of heaven here does not mean the state of future glory. See Matthew 3:2.
2dly. That it is not in holiness or devotedness to God that the least in this kingdom is greater than John; but
3dly. That it is merely in the difference of the ministry.
The prophets pointed out a Christ that was coming; John showed that that Christ was then among them; and the preachers of the Gospel Proverbs that this Christ has suffered, and entered into his glory, and that repentance and remission of sins are proclaimed through his blood. There is a saying similar to this among the Jews: "Even the servant maid that passed through the Red Sea, saw what neither Ezekiel, nor any other of the prophets had seen."
Other Adam Clarke entries containing Matthew 11:11:
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