7:26 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more 1 than a prophet. 7:27 This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, 2 who will prepare your way before you.’ 3 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater 4 than John. 5 Yet the one who is least 6 in the kingdom of God 7 is greater than he is.” 7:29 (Now 8 all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, 9 acknowledged 10 God’s justice, because they had been baptized 11 with John’s baptism.
1 tn John the Baptist is “more” because he introduces the one (Jesus) who brings the new era. The term is neuter, but may be understood as masculine in this context (BDAG 806 s.v. περισσότερος b.).
2 tn Grk “before your face” (an idiom).
3 sn The quotation is primarily from Mal 3:1 with pronouns from Exod 23:20. Here is the forerunner who points the way to the arrival of God’s salvation. His job is to prepare and guide the people, as the cloud did for Israel in the desert.
4 sn In the Greek text greater is at the beginning of the clause in the emphatic position. John the Baptist was the greatest man of the old era.
5 tc The earliest and best
6 sn After John comes a shift of eras. The new era is so great that the lowest member of it (the one who is least in the kingdom of God) is greater than the greatest one of the previous era.
7 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ proclamation. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21. It is not strictly future, though its full manifestation is yet to come. That is why membership in it starts right after John the Baptist.
8 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the parenthetical nature of the comment by the author.
10 tn Or “vindicated God”; Grk “justified God.” This could be expanded to “vindicated and responded to God.” The point is that God’s goodness and grace as evidenced in the invitation to John was justified and responded to by the group one might least expect, tax collector and sinners. They had more spiritual sensitivity than others. The contrastive response is clear from v. 30.
11 tn The participle βαπτισθέντες (baptisqente") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.