Matthew 11:9 continues Jesus’ praise for John, “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.”
Jesus has been asking the crowds around Him a series of questions about John the Baptist. Some of John’s disciples had asked, on behalf of John, if Jesus was really the Messiah. Jesus gave them an answer and sent them back to John. Then He turned to the crowd to defend John from any thought that the Baptizer’s faith was weak (Matthew 11:1–8).
The questions Jesus has asked are rhetorical—they are really statements. The man so many of these people went to see in the wilderness was strong, not soft. He was unique, not common. Now Jesus asks if they went out to see a prophet, and immediately gives the answer. Not only was John a prophet; he was “more than a prophet.”
Prophets were people called by God to deliver specific messages. Every Israelite would have grown up learning about Israel’s most famous prophets: Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc. They would have also grown up knowing that Israel had not received a true prophet from God in hundreds of years. That’s why so many of them went out to see the prophet John the Baptist preach and to be baptized by him as a sign of their repentance (Matthew 3:5–6).
The fact that John was a prophet in the same way as those famous men is remarkable enough. Jesus, though, insists that John was even more than that. He quotes Scripture to show why that is true (Matthew 11:10).
Read that last sentence again.
Jesus is stating that John was more than just a man…He was a prophet and a follower of Jesus.
Thankful for this man today.