For example, in this passage, John begins telling us about the first week of Jesus’ ministry. I never noticed the “the next day” verses in 29, 35, 43, etc. John continues his parallel to Genesis 1 that he began in the very beginning of the book. I love that kind of detail that God puts in. Here the creator is creating again, a new ministry, a new era, a new history. All in seven days, ending with a miraculous marriage and party. And what about this idea of ending with a marriage? The whole Bible begins with a marriage (Adam and Eve), and ends with a marriage (Christ and the church). So, here in Jesus’ first week is a microcosm of history. Too cool!
Secondly, I want to be like John the Baptist (JtB). I’ve read this passage a couple of dozen times, and never really stopped and looked at what John is doing here. JtB gets this delegation out to see him, to legitimize his ministry. It’s his chance to step onto a national stage and establish himself. What an opportunity! But he blows it. As these big leaders question him, each answer speaks less and less about him and more and more about Jesus. His first answer is “I am not the Christ”. Then “I am not”. Then down to “No”. He simply doesn’t want to talk about himself. That is ALL I want to do most of the time. But JtB wants to talk about Jesus. I love that, and am going to consciously work towards that.
Also, the bit about him being unworthy to strap Jesus’ sandal is something I never got before, at least not totally. I just discovered that in their culture, a disciple would do many things to help out their rabbi. The rabbi wouldn’t get paid for teaching the scriptures, it was an honor. (I don’t get paid for teaching either. I love that part of my job. I get paid for doing paperwork! Ugh!) So the disciples would offer service to help out their rabbi. But there were limits to what they would do. There is an ancient rabbinic saying that goes “Every service which a slave performs for his master shall a disciple do for his teacher except the losing of his sandal-thong.” It was beneath the disciple to do this. But here, JtB picks that very thing to say he is unworthy of doing. I often think Jesus owes me, and JtB says he isn’t even worth touching Jesus shoes. I have much, much work to do in this area.
Just some thoughts as I was reading today. I love the fact that this book never gets old!