“Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals.”

Mark 1:7

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Mark 1:7-11


In these words, we see John’s humility and awareness that he is only the messenger, the herald of the one who was to come after him. John’s ascetic ministry of preaching and fasting had begun perhaps years before, and he had many of his own disciples. We hear that many people from Judea and Jerusalem had made their way to him to be baptised and confess their sins.

John is not looking to compete. He has a reputation as a holy man. His witness and preaching have been influential, but he does not want people to get stuck there. Instead, he wants them to follow the one he has prepared the way for.

Matthew’s account of the baptism says that John did not feel it was appropriate for Jesus to be baptised by him: “It is I who need baptism from you and yet you come to me.” (Matt 3:13). John and Jesus have different roles to fulfil. And John may have been among the first to recognise him as Messiah.

Where do we sometimes get focused on ourselves in our work or ministry and forget that it is to Christ to whom our words and actions need to point?

Gracious God,

Give us the humility of John the Baptist, who was not interested in reputation or following, who desired only to do what he was called to do - to point people to Jesus, the Christ come into the world. May we also, with humility, keep our focus on God.


Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
See more from Annemarie Paulin-Campbell
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