Day #3: Going Through the Motions

"People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.'"  Matthew 3:5-8, NIV


A great lesson is made by John the Baptist at the very outset of his ministry that would be beneficial for all men to learn. John had been preaching a baptism for the forgiveness of sins as he foretold of the coming of the kingdom of the Messiah. Everyone was coming to receive this baptism, and apparently the Jewish leaders thought they would "jump on the bandwagon". But the Pharisees and Sadducees were missing a vital point about this baptism that John was performing: It was a baptism that required repentance!


Now repentance is a very specific thing. It requires a ceasing of what one is doing, followed by a complete turning away from that sin, and a turning towards God. So repentance requires something much more than mere words - it requires action that leads to real change! John clarified this further by saying that it required a producing of fruit in keeping with repentance.


The Pharisees and Sadducees who were skilled at doing things just for show were warned at the very beginning of John's ministry that this form of hypocrisy was unacceptable. A following of the Messiah would require a change of life that most of the Jewish leaders were unwilling to make. 


Are we?


Today's reading is the third chapter of Matthew. May God bless your efforts to seek His will!