Scripture: Matt 3: 7-12
Key verses: (7-12) But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9 Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with[a] water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Reflection: I have always wondered if John the Baptist was disappointed in Jesus. Did he want a revolution? John knew he was paving the way for his cousin who would baptize with the holy spirit and fire. Sounds like he was hoping Jesus would turn the world upside down. “The chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” sounds like fighting words. I love this speech from John but the phrase that stands out to me is verse 9, “God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” Complete faith not in this revolution but in the God of this revolution.
John doesn’t mess around because he is in the wilderness. This is a cry for change. John speaks from the place of urgency. John is bold in his call for things to be different. We need the voice of John the Baptist today to speak to our apathy for the kingdom of God. We need John to call us to “Return to what God asks of you for the reign of God is nearer than you think.” The way of Jesus may not have been the revolution that John dreamed but the love of Christ transforms hearts, minds, systems and societies. Let us continue our Kingdom work of justice, love and maybe a touch of revolution.
Prayer: God, stir in our hearts a desire for peace on earth and love for all. In the name of your son, we pray. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].