And preached, saying, There comes one mightier than I after me, the lace of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
The custom of loosing the sandals from off the feet of an Eastern worshipper was ancient and indispensable. It is also commonly observed in visits to great men. The sandals, or slippers, are pulled off at the door, and either left there or given to a servant to bear. The person to bear them was an inferior domestic, or attendant upon a man of high rank, to take care of and to return them to him again. This was the work of servants among the Jews, and it was reckoned so servile that it was thought too mean for a scholar or disciple to do. The Jews say: "All services which a servant does for a master, a disciple does for his master, except unloosing his shoes." John thought it was too great an honour for him to do that for Christ, which was thought too mean for a disciple to do for a wise man.
Parallel VersesKJV: And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.