Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 23 January 2023. Today’s topic: Sugar-Coating and the Dallas Cowboys

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? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  Matthew 3:7-8

Don’t you love people who refuse to sugar-coat the truth?  If you play a mediocre football game (hello Dallas Cowboys), sportscasters will immediately let you know.   If you run a shoddy political campaign, the media will viciously say so.   If you make a big mistake, a good friend or family member will (or should) tell you.

If you want to prominently call out the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day, you do what John the Baptist did.   You don’t candy-coat things; you don’t throw softballs; you don’t mince words.   You tell the hypocrites that they are hypocrites, then how to set it right.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious leaders of Judaism.   Like the elites of any time, they thought much of themselves.   They were well-educated, well-dressed, well-financed, and well-known.   Did they worship God better than anyone else?   Why of course!   You could have just asked them and they’d have told you so, you dirty sinner.

John the Baptist?   Weirdo.   Dirty, smelly, strange man.   Passionate about Adonai, for sure, but my wasn’t he a sight!   Did you see those animal rags he wore?   And how about those locusts he had for lunch!   I bet he wasn’t even classically trained.   His followers?   Oh the smell!

So why, then, did the Pharisees and Sadducees travel all that way out into the desert anyway?   Did they honestly want to repent?   Had they heard about this eccentric prophet and wanted to see for themselves?   Were they worried that this voice calling in the desert was a threat to their power base?   Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it could be a little of all three.

But let’s also embrace the truth that John knew them better than we, and John called them a pack of venomous snakes.   John had spent months, maybe even years, preaching repentance to the throngs who made the long journey out to see him.  He consistently preached that God’s wrath was coming, that there would be divine consequences for who didn’t honestly believe in Him.   John talked about it all the time.   Since he wasn’t one to brook foolishness, when he saw the puffed-up fools of Jewish leadership, he called them out and told them to repent.   After all, puffed-up fool or not, God loved them, too.

Just like us.

Just like the elites of today, even the Dallas Cowboys, who now have an off-season to assess why they aren’t going to the Super Bowl.   Will they repent (or seriously practice) and produce fruit?   Will we?   I know what John the Baptist might say, and he wouldn’t sugar-coat it.

For more reading:  Mark 1:7-8, Luke 3:7-9, Romans 1:18, Acts 26:20, Matthew 3:9

Lord, bless people to repent and produce fruit for You.

Published by aspiringwriterdt

It's about's about the life He gives's about going day by's about you. It's not about me.

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