Tim Keller

In one of the most overlooked passages in the Bible, Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest prophet in history, and then added that every single believer is now greater in position and calling than him. (Matthew 11:9–11) ‘The least in the kingdom of God is greater than he [John the Baptist.]’ What did Jesus mean? He couldn’t mean that every Christian believer would be more courageous or more godly than John the Baptist. (I know that I’m not!)

What Jesus must have meant is that every Christian believer understands the gospel in a way John never could. John never saw Jesus’ death or resurrection; he never saw how Jesus fulfilled all the rich Old Testament predictions of God’s future salvation of the world. Every believer understands the gospel better than John the Baptist and therefore we are ‘greater.’

How? We have all been given the Holy Spirit and gifts to minister the gospel (1 Corinthians 12), and therefore we have more power to change lives than even the greatest of the Old Testament prophets had. That is why the New Testament calls every believer a ‘royal priest’ (1 Peter 2:9.) Yes, in the New Testament there are evangelists, counselors, teachers, pastors, and preachers who are (one could say) ‘full-time specialists.’ And yet the Bible says that every believer must evangelize (Acts 8:4), and must admonish, counsel, nourish, and encourage others believers from the Scripture so they grow into Christ-likeness (Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24–25).

So the Bible calls every Christian to be not just a recipient of gospel ministry, but also a practitioner of it. The reality is, however, that most believers in most churches live primarily as consumers…

– Tim Keller