Sunday, July 3, 2011
Not Fit to Carry His Sandals
Matthew 3:11-12 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
John the Baptist....definitely one of the more interesting characters in scripture. First cousin to Jesus, he comes out of the desert wearing weird clothes and eating weird food and telling people they need to repent. The Jews had not had a word from God in 400 years and when it finally comes...it's John the Baptist. Kind of makes me wonder what we would do with him if he were around today?
One thing I love about John the Baptist - for him it wasn't about John. It was all about Jesus. John knew full well that he was the one coming to "prepare the way for the Lord".
Picture it in a modern day setting. He comes out of nowhere. He is preaching a message that people are coming to hear. He has a huge following. By worldly standards, he is wildly successful. One might be tempted to keep all that glory for themselves.Yet, he says to the people up front, "It's not about me - there is another one coming and HE is the one you need to listen to. I'm not even good enough to take off his shoes."
Of course, it is one thing to say it - it is a whole other thing to do it. But in verse 13, when Jesus actually comes into the scene, John does exactly what he has been called to do. He tries to defer to Jesus. John doesn't want to baptize him - he feels unworthy.
Why do we do what we do? What are the motives behind it? When we serve, teach a class, sing a song, pray a prayer, who is it about? If it is about us and the attention we can draw to ourselves, we are no better than the Pharisee praying in the temple, thanking God that he is better than other men. Every act, every thought, every word has to be about Jesus. In Rick Warren's book "40 Days of Purpose", the first line reads, "It's not about you". How true. It is about preparing the way for the one whose shoes we are not worthy to untie.
Are you preparing the way today? Are you getting yourself out of the way so you can truly serve? Are you pointing people to Jesus instead of gaining attention for yourself? That's what John did. That's what we are called to do.