Prepare to Listen. Light the first two purple candles and pray: Lord, I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvellous for me.
Prayerfully Read Mark 1:4-8
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
Having just lived through another political election with candidates attempting to convince us how worthy they were to be elected, it’s refreshing to hear John claim, “I am not worthy.” And he had the right to brag about being worthy. He was sent by God, chosen to prepare the way for Messiah, and, despite locating himself in a remote hard-to-get-to place, people flocked to listen to him and submit to his baptism. Yes, John had bragging rights, yet he said, “I am not worthy.”
As far as we know, John had never met Jesus. He believed God had called him to announce Messiah’s arrival. He knew Messiah would replace him and be more powerful than him. John fully accepted his role and was ready to give way to the one who would baptize, not with water, but with the Holy Spirit. He had an intimate and innate (think God-given) knowledge of Jesus’ surpassing greatness. He was confident of this and thus could refer to Jesus as “One who is more powerful than I.” Because he believed this, in deep faith, he could also, in true humility say, “I am not worthy.” John didn’t think more highly of himself than he ought to think (Rom 12:3).
“I am not worthy” was based on an honest assessment of who he was. Who do you think you are?
Respond to Jesus in Prayer
Lord, I thank you today for your humility that welcomes the ones who aren’t worthy and makes them worthy. Amen.
Go Live in Obedience to Christ in humble acceptance of who you are.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.