- Meet for Repentance
Before the arrival of Jesus Christ, there was a man sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. This man didn’t know who the Messiah was, but according to God said he would come to know who the Messiah was when he saw the Spirit of God resting on him. That man sent to prepare the way was John, the one we called the “Baptist.” John who was at the Jordon baptizing those coming to faith in God. But one day as he was fulfilling the call on his life, the Pharisees and Sadducees showed up at his baptism.
Upon seeing the Pharisees, John said, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” John had a disliking for the Pharisees and Sadducees so much so, he called them vipers. John asked the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Who had warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” It was clear to John and those he was baptizing, the Pharisees and Sadducees, and those standing by, there was a coming Judgment, and because there was a coming judgment there was a need to look to God for help.
But to be saved from the judgment, John told his followers and the Pharisees and Sadducees whom he hated, they were to “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance” because to be saved was not to follow the traditions of men, but to obey God, the one coming into the world to take away the sins of mankind. Jesus would later confirm, “For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” To escape God’s wrath, the world must turn to Jesus and if they fail to honor God’s son they will perish.
This was to become the challenge for everyone, to look to a savior that was coming into the world to offer up his life for the sins of men, and when he comes into the world, it is he to whom the world must submit so they may escape the coming wrath. God was coming into the world, but for the Pharisees and Sadducees, this was to be a challenge because of their blindness to understand what it meant to believe and have faith in God.
And while fulfilling his role and obeying the call on his life, John proceeded to baptize those coming to faith in God, and while baptizing, Jesus came to the Jordon to be baptized. Upon seeing Jesus, John declares, “This is he of whom I said after me will come the man who is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.”
Fulfilling his role, John identified Jesus as the Messiah, and being identified as the Messiah, Jesus began to draw a large number of disciples. And walking with his disciples Jesus said, “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
It was a new beginning in the kingdom, a time of restoration, and being restored to a place of leadership Jesus ordained his disciples to go out and fulfill the call on their lives. Therefore, becoming a disciple of Jesus, was to receive him not only as our savior but as God, and to receive him as God is to know as a disciple we are called and ordained to carry out the will of the kingdom as instructed with the knowledge that failing to carry out our duties as a disciple is to rebel against the authority that ordained us and to show that we have not accepted Jesus as our king.
As a result of this reality, John had asked the Pharisees who were as Jesus said sitting in Moses’ seat, “Who had warned you to flee from the wrath to come and where are the fruits showing that you have repented?” John asked this question because he knew the Pharisees and Sadducees were not walking in obedience to the law of God, but were, on the other hand replacing the law of God with their traditions.
In order to show they have repented and are walking in obedience to God, they were to turn away from their traditions to believe in the coming Messiah; and believing in the coming Messiah, they are to obey his message. However, if they fail to obey the message of the Messiah, “The ax lieth at the root of the trees: and every tree that fails to bring forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”