“And those who had been sent, were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him, Then why do you immerse, if you are not the Christ, neither Elijah, nor the prophet? John answered them, saying, I immerse in water, but one is standing in your midst whom you do not know. It is he who is coming after me, who has become before me. I am not worthy that I should loose the strap of his shoes.” vs24-27
“Not worthy” is a title that the believer never loses. We don’t have anything because we deserve it: All is by grace. We are not worthy to be pastors, to have godly spouses, or to even breathe without excruciating agony. Someone, a dear believer, told me I was worthy of something yesterday because I’ve been faithful (with a little blip on the screen), but I reminded him and myself that I’m worthy of hell, worthy of being in the bad situation I was in before, and I’m unworthy of what God gives me. John the Baptist had this attitude and so must we: It makes us humble servants of God. We are not in competition with Jesus Christ, but rely on His righteousness, and we live for His glory. He alone is worthy to be praised, and we’re unworthy of praising Him.
Who are we to obtain mercy? We’d be damned to hell, like John the Baptist, if God hadn’t given us grace. What’s the difference between Mary and Herodias, but grace? What’s the difference between John the Baptist and Judas but grace alone? Paul says, “For who makes you so different? What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it (1 Cor 4:7)?” We must not say, “I’ve studied, I’ve sought, and I’ve done good things. I’ve been faithful, so I have it.” We must say, “Grace made me labor, and then grace rewarded my work.” Paul said, “But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me (1 Cor 15:10).”
A man helped the Jews build the synagogue, and he was a Gentile, so they thought him worthy to receive help from Jesus. While on the way, the Master received word, saying, “Lord, don’t trouble Yourself, since I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. That is why I didn’t even consider myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be cured (Luke 7:6-7).” He recognized God’s absolute sovereignty in Jesus Christ, that He does as He will, having the Father’s full approval. The Lord responded, “I tell you, I have not found so GREAT A FAITH even in Israel (Luke 7:9)!” Great faith is being unworthy and believing! Bless His holy name! You can be that. You are that. Believe the gospel as an unworthy sinner, then when He rewards you, remember how unworthy you were and walk in it now! Don’t think, “I used to be unworthy, but now I’m great.” Remember John the Baptist’s example, and you will be great too, pointing to Jesus Christ with clarity. He said, “I am not worthy that I should loose the strap of his shoes.”
We’re not trying to deserve things! We lean on Another Man’s strength and give Him glory.