The one who prepared the way for Christ, John the Baptist, who is not fit to loose His sandles. (You know, it is a slave that carried the Kings sandles.) John is making it clear that he is in contrast to the One, his cousin, Jesus, who is the Messiah and King of all.
What was the mission of John but to announce, and reveal God in the flesh. Beginning with the Mother of God, when he leaped at the sound of Mary's voice while he was in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, knowing the presence of his Lord. John's birth was a miracle and fulfilled the prophecy of the return of Elijah (Matt. 11:14), the one who was to precede the Messiah as "the voice of one crying the the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord' " (Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23).Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible.
God made John worthy to bapize Him in the Jordan, and the Trinity was made manifest. What a wonderful moment on earth where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are revealed.
John, the forerunner, was beheaded. John proclaimed God who appeared in the flesh, to those in hell, Jesus, resurrected from the dead, loosed the bonds of those held captive. It is Jesus who takes away the sin of the world, and grants us great mercy.
Who is greater than John the Baptist...shown in truth to be the most honorable of the prophets, we celebrate with hymns of praise, along with the memory of the righteous?
John was not concerned with earthly cares, and lived an ascetic rule of poverty and fasting. (Never forget that you are God's creation, made in His image and likeness according to His plan and purpose). And like John, we keep our eyes not on the body, but our desire upon Christ.
(Matthew 11:6) "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist: but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
(Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible: Matthew 11:11) "In terms of the OT Law, John is the greatest prophet. But the New Covenant inaugurated by Christ is of such incomparable value that everyone who shares in it is, as it were, greater than John. For by grace through faith under the New Covenant we become children of God and partakers of the Holy Spirit."
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