What John Thought of Jesus
There is a lot of controversy about John the Baptist in academic circles. I’ve been reading some of the articles recently, and you might be surprised by what some scholars say. Some believe that John the Baptist was a member of the ascetic Essene group. Others say that Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist, and that Jesus eventually broke away from John in order to start his own following.
If you trust that the Bible is God’s Word, a message without mistake for us, you don’t need to worry about these theories. We know what John thought of Jesus. He makes his view clear in Mark 1:6-7:
John…preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”
In ancient Jewish tradition, disciples followed their Rabbi around, learning from the Rabbi and serving him. The Rabbi was a Jewish teacher and expert of the law; his disciples functioned as students. The Rabbi taught his disciples, and the disciples showed their gratitude by serving him in every way they could. Except one.
There was only one thing that a disciple did not do. He never needed to remove the Rabbi’s shoes. It was a task that was too menial, too denigrating, for a disciple to ever perform. Only a slave had to do that lowly task.
John that Baptist thought of himself as lower than a servant compared to Jesus. It was below the dignity of a disciple to remove a shoe, but it was above the dignity of John to remove Jesus’ shoe. Jesus was that much superior, that much better than John.
John is an example for us of true reverence for Jesus. It is easy to say that you believe the same thing about Jesus, but do you? John says, “I’m not worthy to do the most menial task for Jesus.” Do you believe that about yourself?
Maybe you have big plans for how you want to serve Jesus. You want to tell everybody about Him. You want to engage in some wonderful, Christ-exalting scheme. You aren’t worthy to do those things. Jesus could do without you. Maybe Jesus will choose to use you, but don’t have the wrong mindset. You aren’t worthy to do anything for Jesus.
[Image credit: Pinterest. Used for illustration purposes only.]