What Jesus Did! 'Snakes' — Matthew 3:7-10

Friday, January 20, 2017

Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them he said to them: "You are all snakes! Who warned you to run away from God's anger that is coming? You must do the things that show that you have really changed your hearts and lives. And don't think that you can boast and say to yourselves, 'Abraham is our father.' I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks here. The ax is now ready to cut down the trees. Every tree that does not make good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
— Matthew 3:7-10
Illustration of Matthew 3:7-10 —  When John saw them he said to them: "You are all snakes!

Key Thought

So much of religion can be little more than posturing, passionate opinions, and religious pomp without much true substance. God, however, demands lives that are consistent with the words of our mouths. Wearing robes, having titles, coming from a strong religious heritage, and liking to be recognized as religious, in and of themselves, simply don't count with Jesus. He wants to see the fruit of lives dedicated to him as God. In fact, Jesus uses terms of utmost derision for those claiming to be religious but not living righteously. He reserves the greatest punishment for those who take advantage of their religious positions. What counts with our Lord are lives that are true to God, not ones that merely look and sound religious.

Today's Prayer

Faithful and just God, thank you for being consistent and true. At times, dear Father, I find myself struggling to have the purest of motives and sincerest of commitments. Please forgive me when my faith is more about religious showy rituals and not about a changed daily lifestyle. Help me to be more true to what I say I believe, and not get caught up in religious pretensions. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

At that time John the Baptizer came and began telling people a message {from God}. This was in the desert area of Judea. John said, "Change your hearts and lives, because the kingdom of heaven is coming soon." John the Baptizer is the one that Isaiah the prophet was talking about. Isaiah said: "There is a person shouting in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make his paths straight.'" John's clothes were made from camel's hair. John had a leather belt around his waist. For food, John ate locusts and wild honey. People went to hear John. The people came from Jerusalem and all Judea and all the area around the Jordan River. People told the sins they had done, and John baptized them in the Jordan River. Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them he said to them: "You are all snakes! Who warned you to run away from God's anger that is coming? You must do the things that show that you have really changed your hearts and lives. And don't think that you can boast and say to yourselves, 'Abraham is our father.' I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks here. The ax is now ready to cut down the trees. Every tree that does not make good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. "I baptize you with water to show that you changed your hearts and lives. But there is a person coming later that is greater than I am. I am not good enough to take off his shoes for him. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He will come ready to clean the grain. He will separate the good grain from the straw. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn. And he will burn the part that is not good. He will burn it with a fire that cannot be stopped." At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River. Jesus came to John and wanted John to baptize him. But John tried to say that he was not good enough to baptize Jesus. John said, "Why do you come to me to be baptized? Ishould be baptized by you!" Jesus answered, "Let it be this way for now. We should do all things that are right." So John agreed to baptize Jesus. Jesus was baptized and he came up out of the water. The sky opened, and he saw God's Spirit coming down on him like a dove. And a voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, "This (Jesus) is my Son and I love him. I am very pleased with him."

Matthew 3:1-17

Related Scripture Readings

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees have the authority (power) to tell you what the law of Moses says. So you should obey the things they say. You should do all the things they tell you to do. But their lives are not good examples for you to follow. They tell you to do things, but they don't do those things themselves. They make strict rules that are hard for people to obey. They try to force other people to obey all those rules. But they themselves will not try to follow any of those rules. "The only reason they do good things is for other people to see them. They wear special boxes full of Scriptures. They make these boxes bigger and bigger. And they make their special prayer clothes very long {so that people will see them}. Those Pharisees and teachers of the law love to get the most important seats at the feasts. And they love to get the most important seats in the synagogues. They love for people to show respect to them in the market places. And they love to have people call them 'Teacher.' "It will be bad for you teachers of the law and Pharisees. You are hypocrites. You are like tombs that are painted white. The outside of those tombs looks fine. But inside, the tombs are full of the bones of dead people. And all kinds of unclean things are inside there. It is the same with you. People look at you and think that you are good. But on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and evil.

Matthew 23:2-7, 27-28

Do what God's teaching says; don't just listen and do nothing. Why? Because when you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. If you hear God's teaching and do nothing, you are like this: You are like a man that looks at his face in the mirror. The man sees himself, but he does nothing. He goes away and quickly forgets how bad he looked.

James 1:22-24

"Every person that hears these things I say and obeys is like a wise man. The wise man built his house on rock. It rained hard and the water rose. The winds blew and hit that house. But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock. But the person that hears the things I teach and does not obey those things is like a foolish man. The foolish man built his house on sand. It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house. And the house fell with a loud noise."

Matthew 7:24-27

Comments

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.