Greatness in Jesus

June 05, 2022 | Jess Rainer

Passage: Matthew 11:1-19

You have greatness in Jesus.  How do you see yourself?  Are you seeing yourself through the lens of the world or through the eyes of Jesus?

1) Doubt doesn’t disqualify you from greatness in Jesus. (vs. 1-6)  John is doubting Jesus is the Messiah.  Doubt isn’t bad. In fact, it can be a good thing.  Let me give you some quotes here about doubt:

“Unbelief is the decision to live your life as if there is no God. It is a deliberate decision to reject Jesus Christ and all that he stands for. But doubt is something quite different. Doubt arises within the context of faith. It is a wistful longing to be sure of the things in which we trust.” – Alister McGrath

“When the New Testament talks about doubt, whether you’re talking about the gospels or the epistles, it primarily focuses on believers. That’s very important. It’s as if you have to believe something before you can doubt it; you have to be committed to it before you begin to question it. So doubt is held up as the unique problem of the believer.” – John MacArthur

Doubt, in some ways, is a part of believing.  Why is John the Baptist doubting Jesus?  His circumstances are difficult; His expectations of Jesus aren’t being met; His perspective is limited. We are just like John the Baptist.  Life gets hard.  What we expect Jesus to do for us doesn’t happen.  We lose sight of God’s kingdom.  And then we doubt God.  We doubt His plan. We doubt His goodness.  We no longer see Jesus in our lives.  And lose sight of who we are in Christ. 

Attack your doubt. Don’t let it fester.  That’s what John did. He went straight to Jesus with his doubt. Festering doubt changes the way you see yourself in Jesus.  What does Jesus do with John’s doubt?  Jesus tells John that He is fulfilling the prophecies.  Jesus is telling John that He is the Messiah.  Jesus is pointing John back to God’s truth – God’s Word.

That’s what we do with our doubt.  We give our doubt to Jesus while standing on God’s Word.  Practically, you pray and ask God to help your doubts.  You take them to your Community Group. You bring them to church leadership. You pray through them. You talk through them. You read through them.  You let your doubts propel you deeper into relationship with God.  When you take on your doubts, Jesus tells us there is a blessing.

2) You have a privileged position in Jesus. (vs. 7-11)  Now, Jesus turns to the crowds.  If you were one of the people in crowds and two disciples of John came with John’s doubt, what would you have thought?  Again, Jesus doesn’t condemn any doubts.  Instead, He works with the crowd.  Jesus pointed John to Scripture and Jesus does the same with the crowds.  Jesus confirms John and his ministry. John is strong in conviction.  John was not self-serving.  John was a prophet.  Not only was John a prophet, but he was the most privileged of all the prophets. John was the last in the line of the OT prophets.  He was the one prophesied about because his position.  He was the one to proclaim the coming of Christ.  By Jesus’ own words, John was the G.O.A.T!

Jesus then drops a bomb at the end of verse 11.  John’s greatness is nothing compared to someone who lives in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Don’t miss this. Look at what Jesus is saying.  The greatest human on earth is nothing compared to someone who belongs to Jesus.  Through Jesus, you the most privileged position.  Through Jesus, you become great.  All those who came after the establishment of the Kingdom of God are considered great.  Not in significance, but in understanding.  John didn’t know Jesus as the crucified and risen King.  But we get to. We have a privileged position and privileged understanding.  The least in God’s Kingdom is greater than the greatest prophet.   The most important decision you can make in this life is to join Jesus in God’s kingdom.

Only by weakness can we become great.  Only by questions, doubt, and realizing that you don’t know it all, can you come into greatness.  And that greatness is only through Jesus Christ.  When we surrender to Jesus we gain complete victory through Him.  In our own strength, we hold on to our own prisons. When we surrender in weakness, we gain complete freedom.  We have no power to save our own souls that are destined from hell.  It’s only when we ask Jesus to save our soul – to pull us out of the depths of despair – that we can enter into God’s Kingdom.  Christ takes us from death to life and then we stand in greatness because of Him.

3) You can’t have God’s kingdom on your terms. (vs. 12-19)  John, in his ministry, was more funeral-like.  He preached repentance and lived a rigid lifestyle.  Jesus, in His ministry, was more wedding-like.  He preached forgiveness and ate with sinners.  Just like the kids in the marketplace, there were some in the crowds that were holding out because they didn’t like those terms.  They wanted their own greatness on their own terms.  Greatness only comes through Jesus Christ.  What Jesus has to offer is enough.  It’s more than enough.  And it’s better than you can imagine

Surrender to Jesus. Enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Become great because of Jesus.

  • Go live it out!
  • Wake up every morning knowing that you belong to Jesus.
  • Wake up every morning that you are a saint and righteous because of Jesus.
  • Wake up every morning knowing that you have greatness because of Jesus.
  • Come to your privileged position in Jesus for the first time.
  • Come back to your privileged position in Jesus.


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Series Information

This sermon series will a year long journey through the book of Matthew in 2022.  These messages will examine the broader themes in Matthew like God’s character, Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promises for a Messiah,  and the importance of internal integrity over external behavior. It lays out practical application points like the need for salvation, baptism, and repentance.  It also provides answers to the question “Who is Jesus?”.  It invites you to recognize Jesus as God’s Son and to receive him as Lord of your lives.  This sermon series provides the groundwork for a clear explanation of the Gospel.  

Other sermons in the series

January 09, 2022

Follow Jesus

Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you...

June 19, 2022

Take Over

Matthew 12:8 "For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath."