Luke 1:32a - He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
If there is anything in the world which is here today and gone tomorrow it has to be greatness.
Politicians and statesmen shape and shake the world, but only for a passing moment. The click of the clock, the flip of the calendar promise that Pharaohs will be forgotten; the statesmanship and sacrifices of powerful princes, presidents, and prime ministers will become dry, dusty dates in unopened history books.
Movie stars, rock stars, television stars, radio stars cannot escape being a flashy, shooting star. For a brief instant, they light up the lives of their adoring fans and then they fall from the sky, disappearing from sight, unremembered and unrecalled.
Greatness. It's an elusive thing.
People argue about who was the greatest president or prime minister, or what was the greatest movie, the greatest song, or the greatest sportsman. They want to know which is the greatest restaurant, the greatest car, the greatest deodorant, and the greatest gift to give for Valentine's Day. Indeed, there are catalogues whose sole appeal is that they offer only the greatest products money can buy.
So, please don't be surprised when I ask, who do you think is the greatest person who has ever lived? "Dale Earnhardt" might be the name of those who follow NASCAR, while "Ty Cobb" could be the name submitted by baseball fans. "Alexander the Great," "Napoleon," "Caesar" might be the suggestions of those who are military minded. Art aficionados and fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might list "Leonardo," "Michelangelo," "Donatello" and "Raphael."
"Who is the greatest?" seems to be an impossible question. After all, before you even begin to submit an answer you have to ask, "Greatest at what?" And then, after you've given your answer, you have to be prepared to protect your nominee against a great many people who hold equally sure, albeit completely different, opinions than you.
So, can the question, "Who is the greatest?" ever, really, truly be answered?
The answer is yes!
And my submission is not John the Baptist. True, in Matthew 11:11, Jesus says that "nobody who has been born has been greater than John." That is a pretty high recommendation. Still, John wasn't the greatest.
If you want the real answer -- the right answer -- you have to listen to the Heavenly Father whose messenger told Mary her Son "will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High." Nowhere else in all Scripture does the Lord say anyone would be "great."
That title goes to Jesus who gave His life for our salvation. His life, death, and wonderful resurrection has paid for our sins, saved our souls, and brought us into the family of faith. Truly, He has done what nobody else could do, which means He and He alone is deserving of the title "The Greatest."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, what is man that You are mindful of him? I stand in awe at Your greatness, which has done all necessary to save inconsequential me. May my praise be ongoing. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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