What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. —Matthew 11:9-11 ESV
From J.C. Ryle at Grace Gems:
In short, He [Jesus] would have them know that John was “more than a prophet.” He was one to whom God had given more honor than to all the Old Testament prophets.
- They indeed prophesied of Christ, but died without seeing Him. John not only prophesied of Him, but saw Him face to face.
- They foretold that the days of the Son of man would certainly come, and the Messiah appear. John was an actual eye-witness of those days, and an honored instrument in preparing men for them.
- To them it was given to predict that Messiah would be “led as a lamb to the slaughter,” and “cut off.” To John it was given to point to Him, and say, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”