Thursday, February 8, 2024


"the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal."  - John 1: 27

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John 1: 19-28
19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" 20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah." 21 And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No." 22 Then they said to him, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" 23 He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,'" as the prophet Isaiah said. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, "Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?" 26 John answered them, "I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal." 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing."

Reflecting on the short passage, lovingly recorded by St. John (the apostle whom the Lord loves). A remarkably beautiful quality in John the Baptist is the quality of humility, in thinking of others first. A quality that runs counter to the "me first" culture of today. In fact in another gospel passage, John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." 

As a radical preacher of repentance and pronouncing the coming kingdom of God, John the Baptist could have gotten jealous of Jesus' growing popularity and winning of disciples over with His radical preaching. Remember that John is an older cousin of Jesus, and during those times, the younger would defer to the older, in terms of a family's pecking order. But John had the humility to understand that his role was to be messenger ahead of the Bridegroom, his younger cousin Jesus Christ, to prepare repentant hearts to be ready to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. 

How many of us can put on the attitude of John the Baptist, not to let our earthly achievements nor titles get a grip of our hearts? I've heard of many horror stories of men and women hurt by other ministry members because of squabbling or fighting over who's right and who's wrong, or even bad-mouthing others to gain leadership position in church ministry. 

It pains my heart to see brothers and sisters-in-Christ falling out over what's lesser and lose sight of the greater treasure in every ministry, that is, the Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, in our thoughts, words and deeds. 

I will close with the wise words of St. Paul to the young church in Philippi (Phil 2:3-4)"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." 

As a closing prayer and worship, I offer this beautiful hymn about having kingdom values in this life and beyond: "Be Thou My Vision". That we'll always keep a vision of Christ and His victorious Cross in all that we do, and Christ be the One True Ruler of our hearts. Amen. 

Be Thou My Vision 
Verse 1 Be Thou my vision, 
O Lord of my heart 
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art 
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light 

Verse 2 
Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word 
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord 
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son 
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one 

Verse 3 
Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise 
Thou mine inheritance, now and always 
Thou and Thou only first in my heart 
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art 

Verse 4 
High King of heaven, my victory won 
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun 
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall 
Still be my vision, O ruler of all

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall 
Still be my vision, O ruler of all 

Singer: Audrey Assad

Reflection on John 1:19-28 by Chris Tan

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