21. The Fourth Gospel Speaks of Only One Shoe, the Others of Both. The Significance of This.
As to the shoes, too, which are spoken of in the three Gospels, we have a question to consider; we must compare them with the single shoe named by the disciple John. “I am not worthy,” we read there, “to untie the latchet of His shoe.” Perhaps he was conquered by the grace of God, and received the gift of doing that which of himself he would not have been worthy to do, of untying, namely, the latchet of one of the shoes, namely, after he had seen the Saviours sojourn among men, of which he bears witness. But he did not know the things which were to follow, namely, whether Jesus was to come to that place also, to which he was to go after being beheaded in prison, or whether he was to look for another; and hence he alludes enigmatically to that doubt which was afterwards cleared p. 369 up to us, and says, “I am not worthy to untie His shoe-latchet.” If any one considers this to be a superfluous speculation, he can combine in one the speech about the shoes and that about the shoe, as if John said, I am by no means worthy to loose His shoestring, not even at the beginning, the string of one of His shoes. Or the following may be a way to combine what is said in the Four. If John understands about Jesus sojourn here, but is in doubt about the future, then he says with perfect truth that he is not worthy to loose the latchet of His shoes; for though he loosed that of one shoe, he did not loose both. And on the other hand, what he says about the latchet of the shoe is quite true also; since as we saw he is still in doubt whether Jesus is He that was to come, or whether another is to be looked for, in that other region.