“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
Bragging. It’s not a new thing. From kings in the Bible to athletes in a big game, the art of bragging has been around a while.
Some people see nothing wrong with bragging. Muhammad Ali said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
We’ve even modified bragging. There is a new term now called “humble bragging.” You know, “I am so humbled that they put me on the cover of TIME magazine…AGAIN!
Sadly, pulpits and pews have had a few pride infested words slung around. Our flesh fights our spirit.
We must be careful that we don’t boast about our attendance, baptism numbers, or altar movement. The tempter is always trying to get a foothold in the church.
Here in Matthew 3 John the Baptist is being used by God to prepare God’s people. Repentance was the one-note message JTB preached. Turn from sin and turn to God. An about-face sends us in God’s direction and away from ours.
The converts were massing to hear JTB preach. “Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him.” (Matthew 3:5) Talk about a popular preacher. JTB became the biggest news in the Jerusalem Times.
How did JTB respond?
Like we should. When people shout our praises, we sing Jesus’. “He who is coming after me is mightier than I.” God may be doing His work through me but it’s not about me. Donkeys can preach when touched by God.
JTB’s humility resonates with these words, “whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.” Carrying clothing was the sign of a servant. Carrying smelly sandals would have been the least favorite part of the clothing.
Whenever we get prideful we must ask if we smell like a servant because our spirits get sour with pride. Prideful preaching and teaching forgets the needs of the people who hear us. Our words must be His words. After all, they are His people, not ours.
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