7 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?
Both Pharisees and Sadducees were Jewish groups that differed in how they interpreted and lived out the Torah.
When we hear the word Pharisee we often connect it with the word “hypocrite”. They were a strict Jewish sect of mostly lay people who observed the law, giving much importance to the appearance of sanctity and holy living. Because of that they considered themselves as more holy than others and believed their righteousness is sufficient for their justification before God. They often plotted against Jesus and rejected his teaching.
Sadducees were a small group of Jewish upper-class people, influenced by Hellenism in their thinking. They were glad to keep the prevailing social order of things, and they were very influential especially in politics and didn’t believe in the resurrection, life after death, nor believed in the existence of angels and spirits. Their religious observances were more focused on reason and worldly matters.
John the Baptist’s words might sound stern in verse seven, but knowing their beliefs one can understand why he said what he said.
John continued in verse eight by saying “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Through this statement, John was saying repentance should flow from the message that is preached. And such repentance can only come through the work of Christ and not human efforts. May God gives us a heart that is quick repent!
Thoughts for the day
- In what ways do you recognize hints of a “Pharisee” or “Sadducee” thinking in your life?
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Today, take a moment, wherever you are, to PAUSE in God’s presence. Find a spot where you can stop and be quiet for a minute.