7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
10 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.
I love the numerous opportunities there are at camp for campers to do something for the first time. Whether it is getting up on skis, going high on the ropes course, climbing the wall, sliding down the zip line, or hitting the targets with a rifle or an arrow, so many come and are surprised at what they are actually able to do. I enjoyed helping young adults learn to ski the two previous summers. It is so common for the learner to try to do what he or she doesn’t need to do. All you need to do, is get in the right position and let the boat do all the work. But, first the rookie will try to stand up too soon, and will fall forward, and next they will pull back with their arms, and fall backwards. It is only when they let the power of the boat pull them up, that they then will enjoy the ride.
In Matthew 3 we see the Pharisees and Sadducees who were not rookies in religious matters. They were experts in trying to work their way into God’s eyes (and their own eyes). Performance on their own was the key, time after time, trying to stand on their own, or pulling themselves up. John the Baptist was quick to let them know that they needed to let go of self, that self was nothing. They needed to recognize their true state of sin, and turn from it to rely on God alone. Somehow they thought that the fact that Abraham was their father would guarantee them their position. John rebuked them and told them that there needed to be evidence of the realization of who they were, sinners in need of repentance. God could raise up children out of stones for Abraham if He needed to, to keep His promise. God doesn’t need people trying to live in their own power. That is not in His plan.
John then, showed them that He realized who he was. John wasn’t even worthy to carry the sandals of Jesus. He was baptizing with water. Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Have you unlike the Pharisees recognized your sin and turned to Jesus with all your trust, giving Him your all? I pray that you have. Continue to trust in Him alone. Don’t rely on your own power, it will get you nowhere fast.
Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty.
What are you and I trying to do in our own power? What are we believing that only God can do?
Remember who we are and who He is. Without Him we are nothing! Praise God that He wants us to be something in HIM! That is in His plan!
Keep reminding me to stay in the right position of humility and faith and I will try to do the same for you.
Hanging on to Him,