#DailyDevotion Prepare To Be Threshed!
Matt. 37He also saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism. “Brood of snakes, who warned you to run away from the punishment waiting for you?” he asked them. 8“Do the works that show you have repented. 9Don’t think you can tell yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. 10The ax is now ready to strike at the roots of the trees, and any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11I baptize you with water to bring about a change of heart. But the One Who is coming after me is mightier than I. I’m not worthy to carry His shoes. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12He has the winnowing shovel in His hand and will clean up His threshing floor. His wheat He’ll gather into His barn, but the chaff He’ll burn in a fire that can’t be put out.”
Well here is an unlikely group coming for baptism, Pharisees and Sadducees. It’s like saying the Republicans and the Democrats came up together. Not a usual occurrence. It’s not really clear from the text they were coming to be baptized by John. John seeing them and his response to their being there seems to bear that out. Nevertheless he does initially speak to them as if they were coming out to be baptized by him, “Brood of snakes, who warned you to run away from the punishment waiting for you?” He obviously doubts the sincerity. Most likely they were coming to spy on him to report back to their respective rulers what John was doing and teaching.
John still warns them there is a coming wrath and they are right smack dab in the middle of its path. These groups probably don’t think they have much to repent of and they believe their good works are most certainly evidence of their faithfulness to God. Yet John is not impressed with them. “Do the works that show you have repented.” If we take the witness of the four gospels some of the features of the repentance the Lord is looking for are love, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. While they say they have faith in the Lord, the God of Israel, they seem to have more faith in their genetic connection to Abraham by John’s accusation and charge.
Well there is a day of wrath coming and we should take John’s message to heart. If we are baptized we need to turn in faith to the one who baptized us, our Lord Jesus Christ and trust in his good work. We should examine ourselves to see if the Spirit is bearing fruit in our lives, mercy, kindness, love, patience, forgiveness etc. and if not confess our sinfulness and believe the good news again. If we are not baptized then we go to be baptized into Christ, confessing our sins and trusting in Jesus’ mercy, kindness, love, patience and forgiveness towards us.
Jesus is coming and judgment begins with the house of God. The temple in Jerusalem was built upon a threshing floor. God’ judgment and wrath has begun there with Jesus’ work. He does and will purge his church, his temple with trials and tribulations to purify our faith and trust him all the more. Some of us will escape the judgment with only the righteousness of Christ. (1 Cor. 3) He will sift the wheat (those who believe) from the chaff (those who don’t believe) and gather the believers into his kingdom. The good news is we all are called to baptism and repentance. All who have answered the call God promises to purify and gather to himself. Jesus is faithful and accomplish in you what he intends and bring the work he started in you to completion. The Holy Spirit whom he gives us in baptism does work contrition and faith to bear fruit.
Almighty God and Father, you call us into a baptism of repentance in your Son Jesus Christ. Grant that we by the power of the Holy Spirit lead repentant lives of faith and are gathered into your kingdom on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray.