In Matthew 11:11 it says something to the extent of “Of those born of women, there are none greater than John the Baptist…” Doesn’t that imply that he’s greater than Mary? She’s our biggest saint afterall…
…none greater, but sure doesn’t say their not all equal in greatness…
…personally i see the context as not a comparison but a statement that no greater man born of a woman… but Jesus was born of a woman, how do you refute those that would say Jesus wasn’t greater than John… yep, context is the key… but an apologist or priest or bishop or theologian will have to jump in here…
…people looking to throw monkey wrenches in the conversation often try to confuse in order not to face the subject at hand…
Yeah, I was thinking the same about Jesus falling into that category, but he was "conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary’’ so I wonder if that kinda makes him not go into that category. Still curious for answers though, if anyone has them!
…all depends on context doesn’t it?
Look at the context. Christ was speaking to a great crowd of people, ones who would not have equated holiness with greatness as we do with Mary. Rather, they related greatness to power. In this passage, Christ uses the secular definition of “great” to refer to John the Baptist, who by his powerful testimony made even King Herod afraid to silence him (he only did so because he was bound by a promise). So John the Baptist was the greatest person who had ever lived, in secular terms, because he even had the power to stand up to the Roman Empire. Yet if we look, this passage actually defends our honor of Mary, because Christ says immediately thereafter, “the least in heaven is greater than he. [John the Baptist]”. In other words, holiness is greater than power!
And just as a side note, think of what Christ’s message would have been if He used Mary:
“Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than my Mom!!!” Who would take Him seriously after that point?
I disagree with the “Secular Power” argument. It would seem, rather, that Christ was speaking exclusively of prophets:
Matt 11:7As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10For this is he of whom it is written: **
"Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’(“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/index.php?search=matthew%2011&version1=50#fen-NKJV-23467b”)] 11"Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
By this, it would seem that a different rendering could very readily be, “among the prophets, there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist,” without losing any meaning and still maintaining internal consistancy. I can’t seem to do the same with “Secular Powers”, but what you said does have a measure of truth. Seen this way, Mary has absolutely nothing to do with this passage…
Here is the commentary on this verse from the Navarre Bible:
With John the Old Testament is brought to a close and we are on the threshold of the New. The Precursor had the honor of ushering Christ in, making Him known to men. God had assigned him the exalted mission of preparing His contemporaries to hear the Gospel. The Baptist’s faithfulness is recognized and proclaimed by Jesus. The praise he received is a reward for his humility: John, realizing what his role was, had said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
John the Baptist was the greatest in the sense that he had received a mission unique and incomparable in the context of the Old Testament. However, in the Kingdom of Heaven (the New Testament) inaugurated by Christ, the divine gift of grace makes the least of those who faithfully receive it greater than the greatest in the earlier dispensation. Once the work of our redemption is accomplished, God’s grace will also be extended to the just of the Old Alliance. Thus, the greatness of John the Baptist, the Precursor and the last of the prophets, will be enhanced by the dignity of being made a son of God.
I have looked through about a dozen different Bible commentaries, and these points seem to clairfy this verse the best:
Those “born of women” was a familiar Old Testament and Jewish expression for humans (several commentaries said this)
****Jesus is contrasting all of those who lived prior to the advent of the new covenant with those who will live to see the new age established. Even the least of these will surpass the greatest of the old era (even as the splendor of the new covenant surpasses that of the old covenant; cf. 2 Cor 3:7–18) because of the unique blessings associated with the in-breaking kingdom. These blessings include the once-for-all forgiveness of sins, the greater sense of immediate access to God’s presence, and the permanent indwelling of the Spirit.
****Matthew apparently sees John as not living to experience the actual inauguration of the “kingdom of heaven,” suggesting that the division between the ages must occur after John’s death. In view of the central role of Christ’s atonement for salvation history, the complex of events including Jesus’ death, resurrection, and the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost is the obvious choice for this dividing line. The present aspect of the “kingdom of heaven,” somewhat equivalent to the church age, must be in view here since it would be incongruous for Jesus to exclude John from future salvation. The greatness and leastness described must therefore also refer to present benefits of participation in the kingdom, not degrees of reward in heaven.%between%
[quote=FuzzyBunny116]In Matthew 11:11 it says something to the extent of “Of those born of women, there are none greater than John the Baptist…” Doesn’t that imply that he’s greater than Mary? She’s our biggest saint afterall…
Isn’t Jesus born of Mary, a woman? Isn’t Jesus greater then John the Baptist? Also, if you continue to read that verse, Jesus also says that even the least in the kingdom of heaven are greater thatn John the Baptist. Remind your friend that picking isolated verses out of the Scripture can lead to serious errors. You must always take a comprehensive view to properly understand the Holy Scriptures.
[quote=Ignatius]Isn’t Jesus born of Mary, a woman? Isn’t Jesus greater then John the Baptist? Also, if you continue to read that verse, Jesus also says that even the least in the kingdom of heaven are greater thatn John the Baptist. Remind your friend that picking isolated verses out of the Scripture can lead to serious errors. You must always take a comprehensive view to properly understand the Holy Scriptures.
John actually saw and participated in the advent of messiah, something the OT prophets only prophesied. The believer has an even greater place than John, as John only foresaw what messiah was to do. The believer experiences the full benefit of the atonement. The Baptist must wait a while longer. Don’t fret, it is not an attack on Mary.:nope:
As other posts have said. John was not yet part of the established Kingdom. Mary was, since she was redeemed by the sacrificial power of Jesus at her own conception.This is confirmed by the magnificat where Mary says, in the present tense, (and before Jesus Birth) that she rejoices in God her Saviour.
The Holy Conception of the Mother of God and John the Baptist (and others) was their sanctification by the Spirit for the work they were to do in the Divine Plan of Salvation
The Eastern Church teaches that while we are lacking in Grace at our conception and birth, Original Sin did not totally ravage our human nature
The West believes that John the Baptist was sanctified in the womb of his mother at the TIME OF THE VISITATION by the Virgin Mary.
In fact, the Eastern Church has always believed John was sanctified at his Conception - for which reason we celebrate the feast of John’s Conception - only the feasts of those who are already saints may be celebrated and the liturgical texts there certainly affirm that.