“He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose (John 1:27).” While this was written 2,000 years ago it is easily understandable today. Jesus wore shoes to protect his feet. John the Baptist recognized that Jesus was so much greater than himself that he felt unworthy to do the job of a servant: untie the Lord’s shoes.


Shoes offer unusual realities. Nine billion dollars yearly are spent on footwear. Imelda Marcos, wife of the Philippine Island’s President, was very fond of shoes and owned 2,799 pairs. Two famous designers of ladies shoes are Menolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. (Choo included pumps, boots, wedges and flats). Johnston & Murphy crafted shoes for U.S. Presidents beginning in 1850. Rutherford B. Hays had the smallest feet among presidents, size 7, while Abe Lincoln was largest at size 14. JFK’s style was wing tips and he needed corrective shoes because his left leg was shorter than the right. (Jackie Kennedy’s shoe style was Lizard Alligator pumps). President Obama’s choice is black calfskin, size 12.

Adam and Eve were naked, hence no shoes. There is evidence, however, that people realized the protection of shoes and began wearing them. Israel wore shoes for 40 years in the wilderness; and they did not deteriorate! God did this to show that He was their provider. They had doubted and refused to accept Caleb’s and Joshua’s positive report of the Promised Land. Moses wore shoes and God told him to take them off because he was standing on holy ground.

Legal disputes and covenants became bonds by the simple removal of one’s shoe. Such was the case of Boaz wanting to marry Ruth. Likewise if a widowed lady told the Elders that her dead husband’s brother would not marry her she took off his shoe, spat in his face, and he was called ‘the one who would not fulfill the duty of marriage’ (Deuteronomy 25:9).

The Lord said “over Edom will I cast out my shoe (Psalm 60:8).” Edom (Idumea) was unconquered but the Almighty promised it would happen hence the shoe would be cast to the ground; this showed the conqueror’s possession. A similar command was given to Isaiah in that he was to walk barefoot and naked for three years. Some scholars do not think this meant nudity, only that the outer garment was removed leaving the under clothing.

The Saints of today are told to have their feet “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15).” They, like the ancient soldiers who protected their feet with boots, were to be ready to leave this world via the rapture, as Israel had to eat the Passover with ‘shoes on their feet’. (Exodus 12:11) Look up; Jesus is going to return.

Rev. Raymond Parnell is Pastor Emeritus of Christ Memorial Temple in Lafayette, Indiana.

photo credit: Éole via photopin cc

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