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Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

LK3:7 So John told the crowds that came out to be baptized by him: “You offspring of vipers,[1] who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?[2] LK3:8 You had better produce fruitage worthy of repentance.[3] Do not start to convince yourselves: ‘Abraham is our father!’[4] For I tell you that The God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these rocks![5] LK3:9 Even now the ax is about to chop the root of the trees.[6] And so every tree not producing good fruit[7] will be chopped down and hurled into the fire.”[8]


[1] You offspring of vipers: Or, generation of vipers, brood of snakes. John does not speak well of the Jews of his period. [Isaiah 59:5] Jesus does the same. [Matthew 23:33]

[2] The coming wrath: Likely including the period of Great Oppression between 66-70 AD.

[3] Fruitage worthy of repentance: True repentance – a feeling of regret for past thoughts, words, and conduct – must be accompanied by visible evidence of such repentance. [Matthew 3:8]

[4] Abraham is our father: Compare John 8:33. A claim relied on by some Jews to this day.

[5] Raise up children to Abraham from these rocks: Merely relying on a genealogical connection with Abraham is of no value.

[6] The ax is about to chop the root of the trees: The claim of Abrahamic roots is worthless now if one is lacking the faith of Abraham. [Matthew 3:10]

[7] Every tree not producing good fruit: Compare Matthew 7:19 where Jesus teaches the same.

[8] Hurled into the fire: The analogy is to the brush fire resulting from burning up pruned limbs. Compare Luke 3:17.

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John the Baptist preaching repentance - polych...

John the Baptist preaching repentance – polychrome, Amiens cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Preceding articles:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Connecting articles:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

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Find also to read:

  1. God’s promises
  2. With God All Things Are Possible
  3. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  4. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  5. Apple of Gods eye
  6. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham
  7. Creator and Blogger God 9 A Blog of a Book 3 Blog about Prophecy
  8. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  9. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  10. Jesus begotten Son of God #20 Before and After
  11. Another way looking at a language #3 Abraham
  12. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  13. Men of faith
  14. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  15. Jeruzalem Gods city
  16. True riches
  17. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  18. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  19. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  20. Invitation to all who believe

In Dutch:

  1. Broeders en Zusters in Christus door de eeuwen heen. #1 Abraham de aartsvader
    where is written that early in the 2nd millennium before the Common Era, the first Hebrew patriarch was born.
    In the history of humankind we can see that the Almighty God, Jehovah used his power to overcome any obstacle that the fulfillment of his promise, to Abraham, might prevent to come in fulfilment. The father of Isaac was to be the patriarch for God’s People. In time, Abraham was indeed the father of the Israelites and had not only to be seen as the father or patriarch of the Jews, but also of the Christians as well as Muslims. They all should believe in the promise of a great posterity which would come when a great empire would be inherited by the People of God. We should all look forward to the time when the world would come to see the promised land.  From the trunk of the patriarch of the people of Israel a large earthly king would come (David) from which the Messiah (Jeshua/Jesus Christ) would be born, which would be a greater king because he should rule over the Kingdom of God.
  2. Het begin van Jezus #7 Een Nieuwe Adam, zoon van Abraham
  3. Het begin van Jezus #8 Beloofde Gezalfde zoon van God

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  • Preparing the Way (graceofourlord.com)
    In verse 7, John the Baptist is speaking to the crowds that came out to be baptized. In Matthew chapter 3, we are told that Pharisees and Saduccees were among those who had come. The impression that is most natural to take away from John’s harsh-sounding words here are that they are meant for those two groups. But just as likely, they are aimed at any of those who had come without true repentance on their minds. That is what John had been preaching – a baptism of repentance.
  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    To the people of the Old Testament period, the word would mean to turn, to return. Their experience of being in exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem was a powerful cultural memory to them. When “repent” was translated from the Greek, another meaning emerged: “to go beyond the mind that we have.” So repentance is all about change, to go beyond where we are and open ourselves to transformation. This requires time apart from my cultural context and examination of my motives and areas of my life needing change. To live in or return to the kingdom of God, requires growth and transformation by God’s love, forgiveness, and grace.
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    They were coming to confess their sins and be baptized.   This is all well and good, but as David Lose and Karoline Lewis point out here, this isn’t the usual Advent and Christmas theme.  Repentance and  baptism for the forgiveness of sins is a topic we talk about in Lent as we prepare for Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, not as we celebrate his birth.
  • Second Sunday of Advent: Dec. 8 (prayerscapes.wordpress.com)
    John came to prepare the people for the coming of another. Coming events have occurred often in the life of the Judeo-Christian faith: from Egypt, from the desert, from Babylon, the Christ child, John and the second coming of Jesus.
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    We as believers are called to come to and embrace the kingdom of heaven, which is nearby. How have we prepared the way for our coming to this kingdom? Have we applied for citizenship in this new kingdom? In these days as I contemplate John preparing the way for the people, I shall also contemplate my preparation for citizenship and entry into the nearby kingdom of heaven. How about you?
  • Sadducees & Pharisees: The Holistic Healing Arts like Yoga are unChristian (arpaget.typepad.com)
    According to some of our Rams and Shepherds, apparently our very spiritual lives are in great jeopardy. All due to those unChristian activities, we like to refer to as the Holistic Healing Arts like Yoga.

    So we, the lowly Sheep, approach this topic with considerable timidity, humility and meekness. Such August Leaders of the Church – are like the great Sadducees and Pharisees of the Temple:

  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
  • In those days: the kingdom at hand (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Luke introduces the ministry of John the Baptist with a careful historical introduction listing the year, the emperor, the rulers of the surrounding territories, and the high priest who was in office. Matthew introduces John’s ministry with a very general, “in those days.” The point is not that Matthew was unaware of the interval of about thirty years that he is passing over. Rather, his purpose was to show that the birth of Christ and the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry are part of the same flow of God’s activity in salvation history. There are two major sections within this passage. Verses 1-6 introduce the ministry of John the Baptist while verses 7-12 summarize the message of John.
  • Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com)
    To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.
  • Because It’s the Religious Thing To Do – Matthew 3:7-10 (stevesbiblemeditations.com)
    To be right with God, it wasn’t good enough just to be children of Abraham. God wanted them to repent of their self-righteousness and replace it with His righteousness. And without God’s righteousness, there’s no redemption!But God’s righteousness can’t be acquired by birthright or by being religious; it can only be imputed by God. And God can only impute His righteousness when there is a penitent heart to receive it, when you acknowledge that you are wrong and God is right.
  • Refurbisment or Rebuild (venabling.wordpress.com)
    The experience of becoming a Christian is often presented in the guise of being a refurbishment job.
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    The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a “refurbishment” message. Rather it is “demolition and renewal” message. John the Baptist was the man who preached in a demolish and rebuild fashion.
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