7 Then John said to the crowds who came to be baptized by him, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire.” 10 The crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11 He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. They said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He replied, “Collect no more than you are authorized to collect.” 14 Soldiers asked, “What about us? What should we do?” He answered, “Don’t cheat or harass anyone, and be satisfied with your pay.” 15 The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. 16 John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming. I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.” 18 With many other words John appealed to them, proclaiming good news to the people. (Luke 3:7-18, CEB)
You brood of vipers who told you to flee from the judgment that is coming! That is the version from the NRSV, a great text to read and preach to a congregation.
We all wonder what we have to do when really there isn’t anything we can do to merit the kingdom. But we all should be people of integrity. Say what we mean, mean what we say and treat all people with honor and justice and hope.
We shouldn’t sheat or harass or do anything for unmerited gain. We need to be above reproach and love all people.
No one is worthy of the kingdom and yet we are all loved by God.
Let us be the light in the dark world that shows others how God is love and loves us where we are.
Loving People. Loving God.