Matthew 3:11 - (John said) "I baptize you with water for 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."
Things and people aren't always what they seem to be, are they?
It was only a few years ago that my heroes were the super athletes who rushed for touchdowns, who threw no-hitters, or who could hit a homer or a hole-in-one. Today, my heroes have changed. Today, I respect the person who wears the helmet of a fireman not a football player. I honor the humble policeman who rushes to help a trapped motorist rather than the prima donna who rushes for a touchdown and does a dance in the end zone.
In my opinion, the rock star at his concert has been pushed aside by the teacher in her classroom. The actor who has an opinion on everything has been supplanted by faithful fathers and committed mothers who know only one thing: they want their children to love and be loved by Jesus.
People aren't always what they seem to be.
That is certainly the case when it comes to Jesus. He is hardly ever what people expect. In the Gospel of Mark, the first chapter, we see John the Baptist giving a mighty powerful introduction to the Christ who is soon to arrive. The Baptizer is saying to get ready -- One mightier than me is coming!
Coming from the lips of John, those words were quite an endorsement. I mean, after all, John the Baptist was a pretty impressive, a very special, fellow. John looked special. He ate special. He dressed special. And, most importantly, John talked special. When he preached, his proclamation was passionate and powerful. There was no pussyfooting around when John opened his mouth. If you had made mistakes, he pointed them out in vibrant, living color.
That's why, when John said a Man mightier than me is coming, the people sat up and paid attention. They were impressed and filled with anticipation. Maybe this new mighty Man might take care of them. Maybe He might feed them or heal them. Maybe He might kick the Romans -- with their bags and baggage -- right out of the country. Nobody knew what this mightier Man might do, but that didn't stop each of them from having hopes and dreams about the mightier Man who was right around the corner.
And then, just as John had promised, Jesus came. The Man who was mightier than John showed up.
Was His a mighty arrival? Was His coming everything that everybody had expected? You would never, not in a hundred years, guess what really happened. Let me simply say Jesus wasn't who or what they expected.
Rather than ruling, Jesus came as a Servant and a Savior. Rather than hanging with the rich and famous, He spoke with the sinner, the Samaritan, the leper, and the possessed. Like John He condemned sin, but He also showed people the Lord was ready to forgive sins. Rather than conquering the Romans, He gave His life and, in so doing, defeated sin, death, and devil.
He, my friends, was and is mightier than John. He is the Christ and He is our Savior. For Him, we give thanks.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for my many sins I offer sincere repentance. For the Savior who has removed those sins, I offer thanksgiving and unending praise. May I always be faithful to the One who was greater than John: Jesus, God's Son, my Savior. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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