Just as John the Baptist had these huge crowds listening...just when he was at the peak of his ministry...just when he was in a position of strength and power...He deflected.
John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals.
The humility of John was clear in spite of his popularity. He didn't deviate from His purpose as Herald of the true Savior. Imagine what you would be tempted to do when the spotlight was on you. Actually, the spot-light is on each of us each day. It could be a crowd of people or it could be our 8 year old child...but we are always in position to make life about 'me' or point to the One who is greater than I am. What do you choose.
It wasn't just John pointing to a peer or a colleague. His comment about the sandals is telling. The lowest task for a slave to perform for his master was this one. You can imagine the filth and the muck. Many disciples would perform acts of service for the great teachers they followed but very few would do this one. John turns the idea on its edge by proclaiming that this task - that is the lowest of the low - is too high of a task for him to perform for The Coming Messiah. Now that should put humility into a fresh perspective for us.
Then he uses this succinct sentence to explain the power of The Messiah that was coming.
I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”
John taught that there was more and the more was Christ. He was just a messenger. He was just preparing the way. Repentance and Confession were just the beginning. Men and Women could be made right with God when The Messiah (Jesus) came seeking and saving that which was lost - US! The water baptism of John was in preparation for the Spirit Baptism of Messiah.
Without God's Spirit we are nothing and can do nothing. This Baptism is what we would need. When would we get it? How would it happen? Let's keep following the Gospel of Mark as Jesus Messiah is introduced to us in this next week's text.