(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. John 1:24-28
John had the Jewish establishment upset. Here was this strange person out in the wilderness preaching and baptizing people. Nothing really changes, the powers that be then are the same as now, and they do not like things out of the ordinary. Something new, especially something they did not think of, upsets them and they have to get to the bottom of it. So they sent out their people to inquire of John who he was. Maybe he was the Christ or a prophet they had been waiting for, but no, John said he was not.
So they check off the boxes, not the Christ, not Elijah nor even the Prophet. Well then why are you doing this? Who authorized this? What authority? I can imagine that John was a little upsetting. Here is this man dressed in animal skins not robes. He has long unkempt hair and beard. He is saying and doing thing out of the ordinary and he eats locusts and wild honey. Definitely not someone you want your daughter to date or your son to hang with.
Whenever I read today’s verses I cannot help but think the verse in the DC Talk song “Jesus Freak.”
There was a man from the desert with naps in his head
The sand that he walked was also his bed
The words that he spoke made the people assume
There wasn’t too much left in the upper room
With skins on his back and hair on his face
They thought he was strange by the locusts he ate
The Pharisees tripped when they heard him speak
Until the king took the head of this Jesus freak
John the Baptist was out of the ordinary and to observers just a bit off, maybe even crazy. But for the Jewish authorities, crazy was just getting started. In today’s speech something was about to happen that would rock their world. If they thought John was making crazy claims, these were nothing to what Jesus was about to claim. John was just the warm-up act, Jesus was the main event and the world would never be the same. The man whose sandal John was unfit to untie was getting ready to introduce God incarnate to them. And it would not be only John who was unfit. So am I and so was everyone else. God came anyway.
Have a blessed day,