Advent 2022 #24: Slaves and Sandals

I don’t think I currently own a pair of sandals. In Australia, we’re more inclined to wear thongs (also known as flip-flops… or jandals for the New Zealanders). Regardless, the summer shoes I wear are not what I would call sophisticated. Or clean. Or holy.

They’re just the scummy footwear I throw on to take the rubbish out to the bins. Or go for a quick walk to the mailbox. Or go to the beach. They’re not for special occassions.

It’s not surprising that John the Baptist caused a bit of a stir when he started his ministry. Some may have known his parents and realised that he was a special child. He had then lived a bit of a recluse lifestyle and dressed like an Old Testament prophet.

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.

John was someone special. That’s for certain. He was even prophesied about earlier.

Yet, John says he’s not even worthy to touch Jesus’ shoes.

Apparently slaves untied sandals in ancient times. And untying the sandal doesn’t necessarily mean you’d even touch the entire shoe.

Jesus’ scummy, take-the-rubbish-out-walk-to-the-mailbox-go-to-the-beach-shoes, that is.

That’s how low John is compared to Jesus.

On the flip side, that’s how high Jesus is compared to John – and all of us.

At Christmas I remind myself more than anyone, not to see just a baby in the manger.

Instead let us see one who rules over all, before whom we are so unworthy.

And yet, he still considered us worthy enough to come to earth and save us.

The insanity of it all.

Yours avoiding the sign-off she wants to use, for the sake of American readers,


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