“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).

Shoes have been around for thousands of years and are made primarily to protect our feet while doing various activities. Over time the construction of shoes has changed tremendously, with fashion playing a major role in design. Today you can buy a sandal with a thin sole and a strap for a few dollars or high fashion shoes made of costly material and complex construction for several thousand dollars.

The earliest pair of sandals ever discovered was found in Fort Rock Cave in central Oregon in 1938, estimated to be several thousand years old. The world’s oldest leather shoe, which was made from a single piece of cowhide and laced with a leather cord, was found in a cave in Armenia in 2008, dating to about 3300 BC.

John the Baptist once referred to the shoes of Christ, saying that he was not worthy to loose Christ’s sandal strap (John 1:27). For Jews, the shoe was the humblest part of a person’s clothing. Kneeling down to take off someone’s shoe was the work of someone lower than a servant. In essence, John was saying, “Jesus is so much greater than me that I am not even worthy to be His slave.”

John’s humility wasn’t all words. The voice in the wilderness exalted Jesus, even when many of his own followers began to turn toward the Saviour. With joy he was quick to say, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). The one who came in the spirit and power of Elijah knew that he could never fill the shoes of the Messiah.

Today, will you commit to follow in the footsteps of Jesus?

Father, baptize me with the fire of the Holy Spirit and make me a worthy representative of You.

For Further Study: Mark 1:1–8; Luke 3:1–20; John 3:22–36

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