“even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” John 1:27 John the Baptist
“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”Matthew 11:11, the Lord Jesus talking about John the Baptist
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”-John 3:30, John the Baptist
“He sent and had John beheaded in the prison” Matthew 14:10
Those verses greatly encouraged me this evening. I often struggle with pride. Reading those verses, I realized something. If I told you that the president of the US, or Kate Middleton, or a very important person was my friend, you would expect me to be very well-dressed, living my best life now, having an impressing status in this world. After all, not everyone gets to have the number director of the White House or the Duchess of Cambridge as a best friend, right ?
If I had impressive friends, you would expect me to be some kind of VIP, someone likely to be popular. A cool person. With what society would call a brilliant future.
Every now and then I think of John the Baptist. The cousin of the Lord Jesus.
“the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” So often I’ve been too proud to take on tasks that were too humbling. Yet, to untie the strap of the sandal of Jesus-Christ, says John, was an honor, something he was not worthy of. The weight of the glory of This Divine Person is such that to untie the strap of His sandal was too great an honor. As I am typing those words, I am humbled. I never really thought about it.
And Christ called John the greatest man born of a woman. I have so many thoughts, so many things I would like to extrapolate from the life of John the Baptist, so many parallels I would like to draw, but one thing I wonder- the greatest man born of a woman, said that he must decrease, and that Christ should increase. He did not use his cousin status to work his way up “through the company” to gain popularity. He did not finished his life in a palace. He was beheaded in the end.
I’m so thankful for the story of John the Baptist. It gives me hope. The one that Christ called the greatest man born of a woman was not puffed up with pride but rather knew his place. He was not trying to steal Christ’s place or get in the inner circle. And his death, was not what the world would call a glorious, peaceful death. Maybe, from the world point of view, his life was totally wasted. It was not. He lived for His Master. And if the Master be of such importance that untying the strap of His sandal is a privilege, and that this Master came down and humbled Himself, I have no reason, absolutely no reason, to boast about who I am, what I’ve done- but I pray that every day I’ll be in awe before the Greatness of such a God who came down, and humbled Himself.
Oh that I might not seek a name for myself, and that though the world might pity me for not living “The Good Life”, I would have the smile and the approval of God…