Luke 3:7-14 :
He said therefore to the multitudes who went out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and don’t begin to say among yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father;’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones! Even now the axe also lies at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doesn’t bring forth good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.”
The multitudes asked him, “What then must we do?”
He answered them, “He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. He who has food, let him do likewise.”
Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what must we do?”
He said to them, “Collect no more than that which is appointed to you.”
Soldiers also asked him, saying, “What about us? What must we do?”
He said to them, “Extort from no one by violence, neither accuse anyone wrongfully. Be content with your wages.”
Wow. How can a guy who calls his audience the “offspring of vipers” get so popular? God caused him to reach the moral conscience of his hearers so that they questioned their own readiness for the visitation of God. It was a good thing to do because they were being hypocritical and they were just about to be put to the test by the Messiah. It would be completely wrong for us to accuse the Jews, however. This kind of hypocrisy is still alive and well today and this message, is applicable to Christians in a very similar way as it was applicable to the Jews that John was speaking to. I like how John remarks about the cause for their behavior by saying that they weren’t bringing “fourth fruits worthy of repentance.” The way that the people were acting revealed that their hearts had not been changed, but they continued to act as if God wasn’t going to come to them.
This is a major Biblical theme. God has already visited the earth in wrath and their are many who deny it. All around us we see evidence of a great flood that destroyed the ancient earth. There are water animal fossils on mountains and large water erosion formations the have severely cut into the landscape that speak of a terrible cataclysmic past. This was the last time that the wrath of God was made known to mankind as a whole.
Some recent articles posted on Amen Me! caused me to consider how much focus I had lost in recent years by simply forgetting about the return of Jesus to the earth. Jesus is coming for us soon, and even though that coming will not be “wrath” for us, it will bring a time of judgment in that our deeds here on earth will be judged as to how beneficial they really were to the kingdom of God. Knowing and believing that Jesus really could return at any moment should have an affect on the way we live each moment of each day.
Wrath is not coming for us and that actually gives us a reason to look forward to Jesus return. Still, if we don’t live in a way that is pleasing to Jesus today, Jesus’ return won’t be very desirable to us. If we are kind of wishing that Jesus doesn’t return, we ought to question our repentance just like John says here. We need to look at our behavior and make sure that we bring “fourth fruits worthy of repentance” too.