“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’” Luke 3:7-9
“You brood of vipers!”
Wow! That’s how John welcomed the people. That’s how he warmed up the crowds for the message that was to come.
His job was to prepare the way for the Messiah and that’s how he did it?
You brood of vipers, you hoard of snakes, you nest of serpents, you colony of constrictors,
no matter how you say it, this was not warm and fuzzy. This was not exactly your Sunday morning welcome to church kind of message. Not quite the politically correct, sensitive to every person’s tender feelings, kind of words we are told to choose in our society.
This was an outright affront to the lives of those who were listening.
These were the chosen people. They were already sure they were God’s children. They were pretty positive they were in with God just because they had been born with a Hebrew last name.
But John made it abundantly clear that merely claiming to be Jewish was not the assurance of eternal life. “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
How would this be a message anyone would stay to listen to?
And yet it was.
Why? Because John boldly spoke the truth that the people needed to hear. They were not in with God just because they had been born with a Hebrew last name. They were not entitled to eternal life just because Abraham was a long distant relative. They were not going to heaven by way of their natural birth. They needed a second birth brought on by repentance and faith in God’s plan of salvation. John was doing them a great service by rocking their comfortable little boats and speaking the truth.
Let’s rock our boats a bit.
No one is going to heaven because they go to church. No one is in with God because of what their parents have done. Nobody gets to have eternal life because of their last name, or good deeds, or a name on a church register. We must all come to the Lord in repentance and receive His free gift of eternal life.
Then and only then are we born again. It was John’s message. It is ours today.