Hi friends! It’s been a minute since my last update here, but I assure you, I’m still cranking away at the Tim Challies reading challenge, even though my pace has slowed considerably due to this semester kicking into high gear. I have two midterms coming up, so I would appreciate your prayer for those.
In the meantime, I would like to take a few minutes with you to observe a verse from the book of Mark. I just finished up translating Mark 1:1-15 for a Greek homework assignment, and yesterday Dr. Vickers, my professor, highlighted verse 7. It reads, “And he [John the Baptist] preached, saying, ‘After me comes he who is mightier than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie’” (ESV).
This proclamation comes at the end of John the Baptist’s ministry. He came in the fashion of an Old Testament prophet, calling people to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins. He had amassed a fair amount of disciples and had gotten the attention of the religious hierarchy in Israel. If Twitter had been around at the time, you might say John the Baptist was trending. But just at the height of John’s popularity, a new figure emerges onto the scene. Except, he isn’t a new figure. Not really. Because John has been pointing to him all along. His entire ministry was devoted to preparing a people group for the coming of this other individual. This single other individual that John declares to be the “Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.”
This man is Jesus.
And just at the height of his popularity, just when you think John is going to call attention to the success of his own ministry, he says this: “If you think what I’m preaching is something else, just wait until you hear Jesus!” He is so great, in fact, that John says he isn’t even worthy to drop to his knees in order to loose the straps of this man’s sandals!
So often, in our follower-centric world, we can become more concerned with amassing a platform than pointing to Christ. We can become obsessed with what others in the church think about us - about how much we are serving, or how many times we get called on to pray, or how often we volunteer to set up tables for the fellowship dinner - that we miss the point of our service entirely.
Our service is meant to point to Jesus, the humble servant who bent down to wash the feet of his disciples, even though his disciples weren’t even worthy to touch the strap of his sandals.
John’s ministry was a ministry of humility. Is yours?
As always, I’d love to hear from you, so be sure to drop a comment below! I’m still working my way slowly through Reformed Preaching, so be on the look out for that review in the upcoming weeks!
Squarespace just unveiled an iOS app, which I am using to write this post! I’m going to be experimenting with it lately, so my next few posts might look a bit more minimalistic than they have in the past. I feel like I’ve been much too focused on writing polished, pretty articles and that has severely limited my ability to post consistently.
Until next time,