And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.Mark 1:7 NIV
The gospel of Mark starts with a declaration of who Jesus is: the Messiah, the Son of God. It then gives a brief summary of the ministry of John the Baptist, the one who had come to prepare the way for the Messiah. Jesus later identifies this John as the greatest human ever born (Matt. 11:11). But John recognized that the one whose way he was preparing was immeasurably greater than himself.
Untying the straps of another person’s sandals was among the lowliest of tasks. In the Hebrew culture of the day, not even a slave was expected to perform this menial chore. So John’s statement here is remarkable. He is not worthy to do something even a slave was not expected to do. But this is not a commentary on John’s unworthiness as much as it is on the greatness of the one who was to come. John was under no illusions about how he compared with the coming Messiah.
As believers in the Lord Jesus, we have been adopted into the family of God (Rom. 8:15). And Jesus now calls us brothers and sisters (Heb. 2:11). But I believe it is worth remembering what John said here. And that we recognize that Jesus, God the Son, is far above us. He is the sovereign creator and maintainer of all creation—exalted high above the heavens (Col. 1:15-18). He truly is worthy of our worship and praise.