Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12

2 12 2013

Powerful Words

John the Baptist has something to say to everyone.  But it’s always the same thing: “repent!”

Matthew 3.1-12

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 3This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.” ’
4Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 ‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

Reflection

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.

Head Questions

  1. What does ‘baptist’ mean?
  2. What is the reader supposed to be reminded of by the word ‘wilderness’?
  3. ‘Repentance’ is an important word in this passage; what does it mean?

Heart Questions

  1. Why were people drawn to John?
  2. What did the Pharisees and Sadducees feel about his remarks to them?
  3. How do you feel about John’s personality and approach?

Hand Questions

  1. What could active, positive repentance mean in your life?
  2. What’s to prevent you from changing any habits of life that distance you from God or neighbour?
  3. Are you ready for the baptism of Holy Spirit and fire?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.

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6 responses

24 02 2014
Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent! | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

[…] 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. […]

14 01 2014
Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

[…] Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com) […]

13 01 2014
Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

[…] Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com) Hand Questions […]

8 12 2013
Sunday Reading | Earthpages.org

[…] Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com) […]

6 12 2013
12/8/2013 Prepare the Way | ForeWords

[…] Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com) […]

4 12 2013
Reflection on Matthew 3:1-12 | New Life Narrabri

[…] Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com) […]

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