Luke 3: 7-18

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”

Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher, they asked, “what should we do?”

“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely — be content with your pay.”

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.

A Thought

What might John tell each of us that we should do today? Repent and be baptized with water and in the Holy Spirit with fire would be a great start. Then continue with producing good fruit — share what we have with others, don’t receive more money than is due us, don’t falsely accuse anyone, and be content with our wages. We should also know that the wrath of God is coming. The good fruit will be gathered by Christ and kept, but the unfruitful will be burned up with unquenchable fire.

Our Prayer

Father forgive us for falling short in the things we do as your children. Help us to repent, be baptized, and live our lives in a manner that we produce fruit for you. We love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.