Monday, January 29, 2007

Are We Even Able To Think Of Christ Like This Today?

Mark 1:4-8 (ESV)
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7And he 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. 8I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

As I was reading this part of my Bible reading today, I suddenly noticed John the Baptist's words about Jesus. He said, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie." What grabbed my attention is what he was saying. John the Baptist, one who is described this way by Jesus, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist." The prophet who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus the Christ. A man who was from our human perspective was a righteous man. Yet, he said of Jesus that he was not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals. That is he was not worthy of serving Jesus even in doing the sort of tasks a servant would do.

One could say this speaks of John's humility, but I think much more importantly it speaks of Christ's majesty. John realized his own falleness, and that in himself he was not worthy even to serve as a slave of Christ. He was not worthy to do this because of the mightyness of the one who would come after him.

I don't know about you, but I am no John the Baptist. Compared to him, from a human perspective I don't even come close. If John in himself was not worthy to serve Christ, how much more is that true of me, or you?

So often we don't even consider this. We think we are worthy to serve Christ in ourselves, but that little phrase reminds us that we are not. Do we even understand that today? Or have you and I made Jesus Christ into someone safe and easy, rather than who he is, mighty and awesome? In yourself, in myself, we are not worthy to even untie his sandals.

Yet, that does not mean you and I cannot serve him, just that we cannot serve him in our own position or power. I did not give the complete quote of Jesus statement about John the Baptist above. The whole thing is this, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

In yourself you cannot serve Christ, but when you serve in Him, when you are washed of your sins by grace through faith, you are transferred from the kingdom of this world to the kingdom of heaven. That only comes one way, through what Jesus has done, and that means that if you serve him, the only way to do it, is through what he provides.

I think that is often the problem today. People seek to serve Christ without realizing that in themselves, in their own power, and by their own wisdom they cannot. They, like John the Baptist and like me, are not worthy to even untie his sandals. It is only when you and I come realizing that is true about us, that we can then serve--not in our worth, but in Christ's; not in our strength but in his by the Spirit given to us by him; not in our wisdom or understanding, but in his given through his word as the Spirit opens our hearts to it.


Scribe said...

Nice post. I really like the way you connect untying Jesus' sandals with our inability. Never thought of it that way.

Rileysowner said...

Frankly, I had never seen that connection either until yesterday. I was reading it, and this time it caught my attention in that way.

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