Speaking Truth to Power - (Luke 3:7-9)
John the Baptist was by the river Jordan and people were coming to him for baptism. His task was to prepare the nation for the coming of the messiah and also to present the Messiah to them. John was not afraid of the people, especially the religious leaders. He rebuked them for their sins and also announced the salvation of God to them. Except there is a conviction there can never be a conversion and John the Baptist was not afraid to tell them the truth.
John the Baptist pictured the people who are self-righteous as snakes, and addressed them as brood of vipers. He compared the Pharisees to vipers because of their display of self-righteousness and also their unbelief. Because of their unbelief, they were regarded as children of the devil. So sad that the religious leaders did not obey the message that John preached and so did not submit to him to be baptized.
The problem with this attitude was that the religious leaders did not only fail to enter the Kingdom but they were bad examples and their attitude kept other people from becoming candidates of heaven.
John the Baptist did not shy away from telling the truth as he prepared the people for the Lord’s coming. John confronted them with the fact that being descendants of Abraham does not make them automatic candidates of heaven who were free to live anyhow. Rather they should begin to produce fruit that is in tandem with repentance.
John also warned them of the impending judgement using the analogy of the axe that is already at the root of the unproductive tree. Such a tree will be cut eventually and thrown into fire.
What is the implication of the message of John the Baptist to us?
Truth must be spoken to those in authority without fear and also with respect.
There is judgement for everyone who refuses to accept God's provision for humans. The provision he made through Jesus Christ.
Religion cannot save humans. Everyone who comes to faith in Christ must also live in accordance with the profession.
As we celebrate the birth of the Saviour, we acknowledge that John the Baptist prepared the way by speaking truth to the powers that be and that truth is also for us. There is a need for us to examine how we live and what we do. We need to ask ourselves if we are courageous enough to speak truth to the powers that be when we are opportuned.
There is judgement for everyone and everyone will give an account of what he or she has done with the truth of God's word. May the celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ help us to be truthful to ourselves and to people around us.