Today’s Reading: Luke 3:23-38
John’s message was direct and plain. He pulled no punches. He came directly to the point. He charged them with their sins. There was no “Political correctness” about it. John did not want to be guessing about the effect of his ministry. He wanted to see proofs. If a person truly repented, he would “bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.” No excuses would do. No one would be saved just because he was Abraham’s descendant. It is this kind of direct, plain preaching that will get results today, but today’s preachers try very hard to avoid offences. John was not afraid to speak the truth. That was what got him arrested because he told Herod that it was unlawful for him to have his brother, Philip’s, wife. He also warned him about his other sins, for Herod was a very wicked man.
Luke 3:9 says “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” John had spoken about the fruits of repentance. Now it seems that any fruitless tree was in danger of being hewn down. The axe is a symbol of God’s judgement against a fruitless tree. Jesus also warns us about fruitlessness.
Matthew 21:19 “Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.”
John 15:2 “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
It takes a live branch to bear fruit. It must be connected to the vine, from whence it gets its life-giving substance. We only live and bear fruit while we are “in Christ.” The fruitless branches are pruned away.
Hearing this the people asked the same question as you might be asking: “What should we do then?” Verse 11, John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” What John is saying is that our fruit should be visible.