Daily Devotional – Tuesday May 2 2006
Matthew 3. 7-12
Lord, bless me with understanding and clarity. Open me to your message and love.
I have always found today’s reading difficult to deal with. The passage is short and to the point. It is almost too direct and to the point. John The Baptist was not a subtle man. He had something to say, he said it and he said it loud.
John had established a reputation as a prophet and holy man. People came in great numbers to be baptized by him. God was evidently using him in a very powerful way. He must have been changing lives and giving people something they wanted and needed.
This is what I find disturbing. A group of Pharisses and Shad’ducees come to John to be baptized. To them John is not the typical loving, caring “holy” man we would expect. Quite the opposite. He derides and challenges them. He accuses them of being vipers or people that poison others. They think that their “club membership” as the sons of Abraham will save them. John says to them that only the trees that produce good fruit will survive and prosper. They will be judged by their acts not by their club membership. I need to be constantly being reminded of this. Attending Saint Matthews and taking communion on a regular basis will not guarantee me a place in heaven with the father. I will be judged by how I live in the world not in Church.
John can only offer advice in his very straight forward and offensive manner. He that comes after him (Jesus) will not just give advice but will change their lives through the intervention of the Holy Spirit and they will be on fire. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that empowers me to live in the world as a true follower of Christ.
This passage disturbs because it challenges the typical view as Christians as those who do not judge and accept and love others as they are and forgive them. John sure wasn’t doing this in this passage. Ah! On second thought; maybe he was. Maybe this was the only way he had to communicate with them and he did it out of love and because he cared about them.
John Dickie, May 2, 2006