READING: Genesis 7-9, Matthew 3
“I am not worthy to remove His sandals.” Matt. 3:11
If I were John the Baptist, I would have struggled with pride. Think about all the reasons that temptation might have been strong in John’s life. Isaiah the prophet had spoken of him as the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!'” (Matt. 3:3). An angel announced His birth, a supernatural one to elderly parents. People from Jerusalem, Judea, and the area around the Jordan went out to hear him preach. He baptized many who confessed their sins. He was a prophetic voice of his day, unafraid to take on the religious leaders. And, he baptized the Son of God! Put all of this story together, and I can’t imagine not being tempted with pride.
Yet, that wasn’t John. He knew that Jesus was mightier than he was. John’s baptism was a preparation for the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fires of judgment. He understood without question that his role was to decrease as Jesus increased (John 3:30). When he surely could have bragged about baptizing Jesus, he fought against that privilege before doing what Jesus asked. It was he who should have been the recipient of baptism, not Jesus, he thought. In his humility, he experienced the dramatic picture of the Son’s baptism, the Spirit’s descending, and the Father’s speaking.
John the Baptist served in God’s work because God granted him grace. Noah, too, whose walk with the Lord we have previously studied, followed Him only because he first found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8). You and I are privileged to follow God not because we are worthy, but because He showers us in love and mercy. Line up all of our trophies, achievements, awards, and recognitions, and the combined honors pale in comparison to the Son of God. No position we hold – regardless of how significant others might think the position is – places us even close to the position of Jesus.
We know we’re unworthy, of course. We would repeat with John, “I’m not worthy to remove Jesus’ sandals.”
We just don’t always live that way.
- Ask God to reveal any pride in your life today. If you sense none, you may not be listening.
- As He brings your pride to light, ask Him to make you humble.
PRAYER: “God, I’m truly unworthy of Your grace. Let me see Jesus in such a way that I can only bow before Him.”
TOMORROW'S READING: Genesis 10-12, Matthew 4