We might have expected that the Lord would have been guarded in His endorsement of John in light of this seeming lapse, but rather, the Lord Jesus takes occasion to give John the highest of accolades. He describes him as ‘more than a prophet’, v. 9; ‘the greatest born of women’, v. 11; ‘Elias, which was for to come’, v. 14. The Lord then goes on to say that Israel had not responded to the strict asceticism of John, nor the sociability of His own ministry, but had condemned the one as having ‘a devil’, v. 18, and the other as ‘a friend of publicans and sinners’, v. 19. The Lord showed that rejection of God’s overtures will lead to the most catastrophic of judgements, even as Sodom, with eternal consequences.
Some of God’s greatest servants have had seasons of doubt and depression as their ministry comes to its close, and as adverse circumstances overtake them in the form of old age, ill-health, isolation, and loneliness. However, this does not depreciate the value of their ministry to His people over the years. Just as the Lord gave honour to John, He also has taken note of all that has been done by His servants, and the day of accolades is coming, when their service will be seen in its true light, and heaven’s awards will be given. Meanwhile, the closing verses of the chapter could be applied to wearied servants like John, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’, Matt. 11. 28.
[Extracted from Day by Day – Christ and His Apostles, Precious Seed Publications]