Monday, May 6, 2013
“And [John the Baptist] preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose” (Mark 1:7 KJV).
What did John the Baptist mean in today’s Scripture when he mentioned Jesus’ sandal straps?
God the Father commissioned John the Baptist to undertake a special ministry: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:6-8).
John the Baptist was Christ’s forerunner, a prophet instructed to herald the arrival of Israel’s Messiah-King, Jesus, the “Light.” Matthew 3:3 expounds: “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [Isaiah 40:3], saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). The message John preached was the gospel of the kingdom: “And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). John is announcing to Israel that her long-promised Messiah is about to present Himself to her, so she needs to accept Him.
During Bible times, one of the jobs of the servant was to untie and remove his master’s sandals. In today’s Scripture (cf. Luke 3:16), sinful John confessed to Israel that he is so lowly compared to the magnificent and holy Messiah Jesus whom is he is preaching, that he, as Jesus’ servant, is not worthy of even stooping down and untying his Lord’s sandals (John did not think he was good enough to perform one of the lowest types of service!). In fact, John declared in Matthew 3:11, “whose shoes I am not worthy to bear”—John said he was unworthy of also picking up Jesus’ shoes!
John cautioned Israel not to take Jesus’ arrival lightly (which they still did, despite that warning). Sadly, Israel ignored John’s message that even Jesus’ feet were shod with majesty.