“least important person.” The Greek is mikros (#3398 μικρός). It can refer to being a limited size, measure, or quantity, or it can refer to being of little import, and thus means insignificant or unimportant. In this verse it is an adjective, and so the supplied noun “person” is understood. The grammarians argue about whether mikros is used in a comparative sense (“the unimportant person”) or a superlative sense (the least important person) (cp. Lange’s Commentary). However, “least” seems to make sense in this context. The Kingdom of Heaven has not come yet, but will come when Christ sets it up on earth after he comes and fights the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19). At that time the dead people who are judged to be righteous are raised and get to live with Christ in his kingdom (Ezek. 37; Rev. 20:4-6). Thus, the “least” person in the Kingdom of Heaven is still in the Kingdom of Heaven, and has passed from death to everlasting life. No wonder the “least” in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John! Also, that explains the next verse, in which Jesus speaks of how to attain the Kingdom of Heaven. No one can ignore the commands of God and expect to get in. Christ said at many times, and in many different ways, that getting into the Kingdom took work and focus. The way in was narrow and difficult (Matt. 7:13). God’s commands had to be obeyed (Matt. 19:16-19). A person had to take up his cross and follow Christ (Luke 9:23-26). In Matthew 11:12 Jesus taught the same message, that it took a violent effort, but the Kingdom of Heaven could indeed be seized as a prize. Surely the Kingdom of Heaven and everlasting life is available for those who really want it, and anyone there is greater than John, who was still in his fleshly body.
Some theologians teach that the one who is “least” is Jesus himself, because Jesus was younger than John by six months. However, that interpretation seems quite forced, because there is no reason in the context or culture that Jesus would point to the fact that although he was younger than John he would be greater. The Messiah was always assumed in all the prophecies and Scripture to be the greatest of all the prophets and indeed, the greatest person to ever live.