Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing. -John 1:24-28 NRSV
There is a popular book circulating these days that proposes a Jesus who was mentored by John the Baptist. The author's perspective is that Jesus was one of John's disciples. This passage, and many others, contradicts that view. It is hard to see the Baptist speaking of not being worthy to untie the sandals of a person whom he saw as a follower.
These verses points us to the uniqueness of Jesus the Messiah. John certainly knew Jesus. They were cousins after all and probably grew up together. Yet the one sent to baptize with water certainly saw Jesus as more than a man. The testimony of John shouts to us of the divinity of his cousin. John knew Jesus well and came to understand his own unworthiness. That revelation is true even today. The more we know Him the more we know that we are not worthy.
I am such a proud Pharisee Lord. Teach me to embrace the humility that John the Baptist displayed.
... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.