“Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist.”
That’s what Jesus said about John and it’s significant that Jesus would say that at the particular point in time when he did because John was going through a rough patch in life.
As we know from last week’s reading, John was a fiery preacher who lived in the wilderness outside Jerusalem. In keeping with the tradition of the old-timey prophets, John ranted and raved against corruption and hypocrisy in the culture around him. He had harsh words for the people in power at the time; they didn’t much like what he had to say. He called them “You brood of vipers!” And he said vaguely threatening things like, “Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut…
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