On not being worthy of Jesus
This morning I started to read the Gospel of Mark devotionally because I want to spend some weeks seeing Jesus in action through the eyes of Mark. In this season of life I want to see Jesus move in some powerful ways. Mark's Gospel is known for being action-packed, and I look forward to meditating on the many stories of Jesus bringing about salvation in its many aspects. I figure I'll share some of the insights along the way.
Today I didn't even get to Jesus' baptism before I was wowed by something said by John the Baptist. He talks about the greatness of the one who will come after him and says, “I am not worthy even to bend down and untie the straps of his sandals” (Mk 1:7). I have this vivid image in my mind of starting to bend down to untie the straps of Jesus' sandals and halting because I do not even feel like I can do that. What else is there to do but draw away and put one's face to the ground? I am keeping in mind that in Jesus' day, only a slave would untie and remove the sandals of his owner. Would I be Jesus' slave? Yes! By God's grace, I already am. But today I am confronted by John's recognition of how great Jesus is. John is saying that he is not even worthy to be the Messiah’s slave. In my life, I have often treated Jesus with such familiarity that I grow forgetful of his power and glory. Today I am glad to have John’s words ringing in my head. Jesus is so mighty and exalted that I am not worthy to be in his presence, let alone bend down and untie his sandal.
It is rightly said that humility is an accurate assessment of who we are in relation to God and others. John's humility has opened the way for a renewal of humility with us.
Just a couple of further thoughts...
I think about how Jesus would later insist that John baptize him. How backward this must have felt to John. He is utterly humbled to be in Jesus’ presence, and yet Jesus insists that John baptize him? How surreal this must have been for John! How difficult this must have been for John to do!
I think also about praying in the name of Jesus. When I pray for the wellbeing of people I know, I am contending not just with some nice platitudes and religious utterances. I am praying in the name of the one who is highly exalted and utterly powerful. There is a lot packed into those familiar words, “in Jesus’ name, amen.”