7John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce 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. 9The axe 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.” 10“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” 12Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” 15The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.
- John was not a smooth, comfortable preacher. He was blunt and confrontational. He preached the message of coming wrath of God and “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. This wasn’t an easy message to take, but people kept coming to hear him and even wondering if John might be the Christ (v15).
- Likewise, when we hear messages such as John’s, our masks and pretenses are stripped away, and we are forced not only to face our need – but are given hope in God’s word. And only when we face guilt do we seek forgiveness, and find the new life in our Saviour Jesus.
- Are you in the habit of “direction change” (repentance) in your daily life? What has the Holy Spirit been speaking to you lately on certain wrong “directions”?
- Take a moment to think about it. Then pray for God’s forgiveness. Pray also for the Holy Spirit to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”(Matt 6:13)
Suggestion for Family Devotional Time: John baptized the people who repented of their sins. This was how John said they could prepare for the coming of the Messiah. Discuss why we are baptized today to show our belief in Jesus. Ask anyone who has been baptised to share their decision and their experiences of baptism. Then give thanks for God’s salvation, for God’s forgiveness of your sins and for baptism to show your belief in Jesus.
Prayer & Journaling: On your prayer journal, as you listen to God, write down a few thoughts, questions, words, names, drawings, or anything that has come to your mind during this time.
Proverbs for Today 6:30-31
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, 31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house.