26 John answered them saying, "I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 "It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie." John 1:26-27
John, the baptizer, had just been asked a series of questions about who he was. He was asked if he was the Christ, or Elijah, or the prophet. John said no, he wasn’t. Then the people again asked, “Who are you?” to which he replied, "I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,' as Isaiah the prophet said." This was a reference to a passage most Jews would know, a passage in Isaiah that spoke of the “herald to the new exodus.” He was the one announcing that God was soon to redeem the people from captivity. Of course the Jews should have been excited, but the Pharisees had sent them, so they asked why he was baptizing if he wasn’t one of those they had asked him about. John, a holy man of God responded in humility, and pointed to Christ as was his purpose from the beginning. At this point he did not know who the Christ was, but he knew his place.
John kept his humility, an amazing feat for someone who was the prophetic voice in the wilderness calling for people to come to repentance in preparation for Christ. John knew how low he was compared to the heights of the glory of Christ and he accepted that. Christ said of John in Luke 7:28: “I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Christ said that he was greater than any man that had ever lived; yet he knew his place unworthy to do even the lowest and most menial task for Christ. His life was a life of preaching unto repentance in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. How much we have to learn.
A life lived in humility preaching Christ is a life that we all should strive for. Too many of us lack both of these characteristics. John, whom Christ said was the greatest, knew his place at the feet of Christ. Though the least in the kingdom of God will be greater, too many of us do not even match the greatness of John. The one who will be greater is the one who will be lower. In Luke 17:10, Christ commanded His followers: "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.' " This is what our attitude should constantly look like. We should be humble, knowing we are unworthy slaves of Christ, not even worthy enough to loose His sandal or wash His feet, yet He chose us to be carriers of His Word to the nations. No greater privilege has any man ever known than to deliver the message of the cross, a message that seems foolish yet is proven over and over to be the most powerful message any man can hear. Why must our nation be filled with such pride? O that the church would recognize its error and repent from its arrogance. "10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.13Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 15 Instead , you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” James 4:10, 13, 15-16