John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Luke 3:7)
John the Baptist was very plain spoken, and did not coach his message in soft and pleasing terms. This appealed to his audience, and while brisk and abrupt he was sincere in his message and the desire for people to be saved.
“Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin 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. 9 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.” (Verses 8 – 9)
“And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” (Verses 10-14)
If this sounds like the message that Jesus spoke, do not be surprised. John knew from whence the message came and who would be the ultimate carrier and symbol of this message.
“As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Verses 15-17)
But still, John is a fiery speaker and foretells a Messiah that will separate the good from the bad, and the wrong doer from the righteous. And it makes me wonder, beloved reader, what type of Messiah do you expect and are drawn to? And what kind of Messiah do you tell about to other people?
“So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.” (Verses 18)
During this third week of Advent, may you think about the Messiah who is to come, and speak about this Messiah to others. Selah!