“John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.””
(John 1:26–27 ESV)
In the movie Tin Cup, there is a fantastic scene in which Roy McAvoy (Kevin Costner) begins to play his first round after somehow managing to make it into the U. S. Open golf tournament. Just before he tees off he says, “Lord keep me humble.” We watch as he hacks his way around the golf course, not looking too good. The next scene is Costner and his caddie Romeo Posar (the hilarious Cheech Marin) adding up his score. Posar says: “83. You humble now, Holmes.”
I like to think of that scene when I read the verse posted above. John the Baptizer, was no Roy McAvoy. He did not need to be kept humble. He understood his position and purpose and Christ’s greatness and glory well. When John says that he is not worthy to untie the strap of Christ’s sandal, he is not projecting false humility [Short rant: Is there nothing worse than false humility! Ugh. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about]. John is merely speaking the truth which he fully understands and we ought to listen to him. Do you think we are any better than John? Any more worthy to untie Christ’s sandal? I think not.
Here is how the NET Bible notes comments upon John unlatching Christ’s sandal strap: The humility of John is evident in the statement I am not worthy. This was considered one of the least worthy tasks of a slave, and John did not consider himself worthy to do even that for the one to come, despite the fact he himself was a prophet.
We do not need to shoot an 83 in the U. S. Open to be kept humble. In a very real sense when we fully understand John’s statement here, all we can say is: “We humble now, Holmes.”