“It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose” (John 1:27)
John did not consider himself worthy to even untie Jesus’ shoe strap. John was humble. And like him, John we are not fit to untie Jesus’ sandals yet He loved us enough to come into the world to serve us. We, sinners, are not fit to be His servants, yet He came to serve us. In His eyes not only are we fit to untie His strap, but through His death on the Cross, we are fit to receive the Holy Spirit. Because of Jesus and what He did for us, those who surrender their lives to Him, doing the will of God are now fit to be called sons and daughters of God. Jesus referred to those who “shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).
The Roman officer did not think he was even worthy of a visit from Jesus. When Jesus was on His way to his house to heal his servant, the officer sent his friends with this message, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honour. I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7). The interesting thing about this situation is that highly respected Jewish leaders had great things to say about the officer. They begged Jesus to come with them and help him. “If anyone deserves your help, it is he,” they said, “for he loves the Jews and even built a synagogue for us” (verses 4, 5). In their eyes the officer was worthy of Jesus’ attention but in his own eyes he was not. What humility.
Jesus came to make the unfit fit, the unworthy worthy and the undeserving deserving. He came not only to make us fit to untie His sandals but also to live in Heaven with Him. John’s comment that he is not worthy to unloose Jesus’ strap reminds me of Paul’s comment, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23. All of us are unworthy. It is only by the grace of God and the blood of Christ that we become worthy to receive the gift of salvation. Christ made it possible for us to have a relationship with God after sin had separated us from Him. Only Christ has made it possible for us to be spared the penalty of sin, which is death by dying in our place and thereby justifying us.
We are not worthy to be called His friends yet that is how He regarded us when He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
We are not worthy of Jesus who went through so much pain, suffering, rejection and ridicule on our behalf. We are not worthy of a Saviour who willingly gave up His life for a world that is not willing to give up material things, habits, traditions and selfish desires for Him. We are not worthy of Jesus who died so that we can have eternal life. We are not worthy of Jesus who died so that we could be reconciled to God and so that we could have another chance. John, the Baptist was right. We are not worthy.
The message here is though we are not worthy of Him, Jesus died for us because He loves us and desires to have a relationship with us. He wants us to have eternal life so that we can be with Him forever. In God’s eyes we are worth much. Paul tells us, “God purchased you at a high price” (1 Corinthians 7:23). The high price was the shed blood of Christ.