“And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham” — Luke 3:9
If there is one group Jesus and his followers were in constant “battle” with it had to be the religious leaders of his day. John spotted the arrogance and self righteousness from the very beginning. After all, he had grown up with it. His father, Zacherias, was one of the leaders of the religion. So, John saw it first hand.
I have often wondered what he saw during those formative years. Here was his father, a ranking member of his order, and then there was John….the guy who was, well, a bit different. I’m certain Zacharias prayed that his son would follow after God. John did. But not in the way most had expected.
The Pharisees, etc, thought themselves to be the best while others were sort of religious halflings. Not much has changed in religion even today. The Jews thought they were Gods chosen people and therefore more special and even untouchable. They were in for a surprise. And when John lets loose his barrage of words, it must have shocked them….especially coming from a “preachers kid.”
John makes it very clear that being a Jew means nothing. Sure, Christ came to save the Jew first. However, it wasn’t because the Jew was so special, but because to them the secrets and prophets had been given. So, naturally, shouldn’t they get first dibs? But, alas, they didn’t see it that way. To them, the “order” of things was more important than any fruit of repentance. The religious acts and not doing bad things on the outside trumped anything Jesus or John would tell them. To God, nationality means nothing. He created all people and put all people in the cultures they are in for his purposes.
Many Jews in John’s time, and even today, saw themselves as better than anyone else. It continues even today among Christians. I have never understood why someone who rejects Christ, God himself, is still considered “chosen” and therefore more blessed than someone who has never heard the gospel in the first place. John makes it clear: God can raise sons of Abraham out of a pile of rocks. It’s not about the physical bloodline. God is more concerned with the spiritual bloodline.
As followers of Christ, we are part of that spiritual bloodline that comes from the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. God wants us to live as disciples…living rocks….in his kingdom. Our responsibility is making sure we bear fruit showing our discipleship is real. It’s not about going to church, singing in the choir, or even being a church leader. It is all about the fruit bearing relationship we have with him.