READING: Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: I have often thought about whether John the Baptist might have been tempted with pride. I readily admit my fallen nature, but I think I would have been seriously tempted with arrogance if all the following marked my life:
- My birth was supernatural, granted to aged parents and announced by an angel (Luke 1:10-20).
- People from all over Jerusalem and Judea came to hear me preach (Mark 1:5).
- They not only came to hear me, but they also responded to my message (Matthew 3:5).
- I baptized Jesus (Mark 1:9).
- I preached a hard word to religious leaders of the day, calling all to repentance (Matthew 3:7-12, Luke 3:7-14)
- People thought I was the Messiah (Luke 3:15).
- Even Jesus said I was a great prophet (Matthew 11:7-15).
Even with all of these realities in front of him, though, John knew his place. Listen to his words:
Matt. 3:13-14 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. But John tried to stop Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and yet You come to me?”
Mark 1:7 “Someone more powerful than I will come after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of His sandals.”
Frankly, I hope I would have been as humble, but I don’t know if I would have been. Given that I still sometimes can’t wait to hear an affirmation after preaching and look longingly for positive reviews of my writings, I know pride still lurks in my heart.
I wonder sometimes if we might say, “I’m not worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals” while also thinking in our head, “But other people still need to recognize how important my sandals are.” To claim humility in the presence of Jesus while allowing pride to linger in the presence of others is nothing less than hypocrisy.
ACTION STEPS: Take a risk to pray the prayer below, and listen as the Lord reveals your heart. Then, do something intentional today that serves somebody else — but do it for God’s glory, without an expectation of honor or recognition.
PRAYER: “Lord, show me every ounce of my pride today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 4, Luke 4-5, John 1:15-51