"Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Jesus - Matt 11:11)
What could be meant by this statement? John went about baptizing people, rousing them to greater God-awareness, foregoing material comforts in his dedication to the Lord, fulfilling his mission in announcing the coming of Jesus the Christ - a record that would be difficult to outdo! And yet Jesus said he did not even qualify for the kingdom of heaven! And wait a second! Jesus had a mother. Did he consider himself in the same league as John the Baptist? Of course not!
Even after witnessing the holy spirit at Jesus' baptism, apparently a powerful experience, John, when in prison, doubted. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was in actual fact the Christ. This was an indication that John had believed, but did not understand. If he had understood, the baptism experience with Jesus would have been more than a Wow moment. He would have followed the Exempler, and claimed no other intelligence, no other origin than God. He would have advanced beyond being a good human being. "Who doth His will His likeness still is satisfied." (MBE) This is not a broad-brush doing His will, but a moment-by-moment kind-of-thing, and apparently John the Baptist did not get it.
The lesson here at this Christmas season is: Are we going to get past the Wow moment and follow the Exempler, or remain unqualified for the kingdom of heaven, that promised state that is not out there, but within us?
This passage from Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy gives plenty to think about (click on the link for a fuller context on audio):
"The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to
silence material law and its order of generation, and
brought forth her child by the revelation of
Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of
men. The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed
the pure sense of the Virgin-mother with the full recog-
nition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever
an idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the
man Jesus, and woman perceived this spiritual idea,
though at first faintly developed."