Starting a Journey with Jesus, Day 9 (Matthew 3:7-12)
Brace yourself! Today’s part of the journey is going to be jolting.
When John saw many religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) were coming to be baptized, he shouted: “Sons of snakes! Who suggested you should flee the coming wrath? You need to do something that shows you are really changing mind and heart, and don’t think you can say “Abraham is our father” and that makes everything okay. Being a child of Abraham is not the point. God can raise up children of Abraham out of common rocks. What matters is the tree of your life. Is it green and producing fruit? If it’s deadwood, the ax to chop it down is already being swung, and if there’s no fruit of true repentance, down it goes and into the fire!
“I’m baptizing you here in the water, turning your old life in a new direction–for the kingdom. The one coming after me, the truly great One, who I’m hardly worthy of bowing down to–He will baptize you with God’s Holy Spirit and fire. He’s going to make a clean sweep of everything, separating wheat from chaff, and everything empty and false he’ll burn it up with the unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:7-12)
John has fierce and tough words for those holding power and influence, who have responsibility for leadership of the community. (more…)