25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. —John 1:25-28
John the Baptist had quite a self-concept! He knew he was an unworthy messenger. Do you understand that about yourself, that you are His unworthy messenger? That’s all we are—nothing more. You don’t know who you are until you know who Jesus Christ is. He is the Reference Point for everything.
When I was a little kid, I took piano lessons from this girl named Ruth. I was eight; she was probably twenty-two. But I had this wide-eyed, mouth-dropped-open, crazy crush on her. I didn’t want to take piano lessons, but I sure wanted to learn the piano from her. She was such an encourager, too. I was soon thinking I was the best piano player in the world! Certainly her best student. So when she announced we were going to be having a piano recital, my first thought was, Of course! She wants to show me off to people!
The song she assigned to me was called “The Little Ballerina.” And I did not want to disappoint! So I practiced a lot. That evening I discovered I was her youngest student. I had to sit there while the older students played Chopin, Beethoven, and Mozart. By the time it was my turn—I was completely intimidated. I messed up almost immediately. Ruth came over and put her hand on my shoulder and said, It’s okay. So I tried again. Then I hung my head and I sobbed at the piano. They took me back to my seat. Thank you for your sympathy. I can assure you, I’m over it.
My problem was thinking I was good because of the standard to which I was comparing myself—me. I hadn’t heard anyone else play.
Now the problem with a lot of Christians is we compare ourselves to other Christians instead of comparing ourselves to Jesus Christ the Lord. John was articulate, talented, powerful, persuasive, brilliant, and massively humble because he had his eyes on the Standard. And he realized he had nothing to brag about, nothing to be super-inflated about. And about Jesus, John said, I’m not even worthy to take His sandals off. That’s helpful to me.
Who are you comparing yourself to? It’s better to make the adjustment now. Jesus is the Christ. I am His unworthy messenger. That’s who I am. Who are you? —James MacDonald
- Why is it liberating to recognize I am an unworthy messenger of the ultimate, worthy Savior?
- When was the last time I admitted that truth to someone else?
Father, John the Baptist was truly amazing and humble. He knew his place. I so want to know and settle into mine. Use my life as You intended to use it when You created me. Don’t let me compare myself or my work for You with anyone else’s. Help me to settle into the truth that I’m an unworthy messenger but I have a Savior and a message that is so worthy that I don’t matter! Thank You Father, for being willing to use this unworthy messenger in Your kingdom work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.