Diocesan Metropolitan of Trivandrum - Quilon Diocese, Marthoma Church


Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse [any] falsely; and be content with your wages. (Luke 3:7-14)

This part of the scripture is the voice of the one crying in the wilderness. John was the man sent by God. Among those born of women, there is none greater than John the Baptist. He was the one sent to prepare the way of the Lord, and make His paths straight. John received full commission from God to make way for the acceptance of the gospel in the hearts of the people so that Christ might be welcome to them. It is the great desire of God, for all the ages, that in the heart of every man, there should originate the experience of repentance. Our commission also includes recognizing the purpose of God about us, while He reveals Himself to us. John commences his mission with the prophetic message to make straight a highway in the desert for our God. [Isaiah 40:3-5] The prophet indicated that all the obstacles and crisis that were hindering and discouraging in the way to heaven should be removed. Rough ways shall be made smooth, the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places made plain. This message is for all the ages and for all the places. We perceive John as a prophet who acts for the realization of the great salvation fully discovered for the entire creation of God.

Our Lord Jesus Christ commenced his public mission exhorting to repent and believe in the Gospel. [Mark 1:15] To enter into the Gospel given to the entire mankind, it is a requisite that we should have repentance of our sin and cast away from us all our transgressions for gracious discharge from the guilt of sin. There is no way of fleeing from the wrath to come, but by repentance. The preparation for making our life rooted in the Gospel is to be done through repentance and transformation.

John preached baptism introducing a new dispensation of repentance for the remission of sin. The general warnings and exhortations which John gave to Pharisees and Sadducees who were submitted to his baptism, by addressing them as the 'brood of Vipersí, was not to disperse them or set them back on their heels, but to lead them to share the mind of God for repentance and to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. He derided the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, as the race of mankind of that generation exposed the nature similar to that of Vipers, not only poisoned, but poisonous; hateful to God, hating one another.

How the Godly people become the 'Brood of Vipers'? When they deviate from God's commandments, when they cannot become the light of the world and salt of the earth, or when they pursue behind their selfishness,  people sow death and devastation like a Viper. When man rejoices at his self-satisfaction he becomes the brood of the Viper. One of the most powerful barriers we put up against Godís Word is the belief in our own self-sufficiency. We should contemplate ourself whether the modern church is lessened to a society, which seek for self-satisfaction.

In the Verse 7, Luke refers to a group of people unaware of their state of sin. The people, who love to live in their sin are trying to escape, instead of attempting to recognize their state of sin. When man lives in his state of sin with out heeding to the exhortation of God, he get plunged into hopelessness, meaninglessness and solitude of his life.

What man should do at this state? Bible imparts us to accept the exhortation of God. God is the one who had taken human realization through Jesus Christ. So we should be capable to recognize the God who pursued man in his human experience through His incarnation. When the heaven comes to the world, we should not try to run away from the worldly realities. During the crucifixion of Jesus Christ the disciples fled and hid themselves from the scenario. But Lord Jesus urge us to emerge out from our fear and peacelessness.

In all his exhortations John the Baptist asks us: Do you try to flee away from your state of sin?

John vehemently criticized the Jews who were with their ancestral pride of the paternity as the children of Abraham. The paternal traditions and external privileges, which do not lead us to Jesus Christ, are meaningless. Any attempt to seek God based upon their family tree meets with the Godís condemnation. Church should have the lively experience of Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walking through the villages of Galilee. We need not have any doubt of response to our prayers arising out of our broken heart even outside the Church hall. We need a strong desire to recognize and receive this God who is compassionate to us. We cannot confine the God within our inner hand. Instead, we should be confined to the inner hand of God.

Fruits worthy of repentance:
John the Baptist goes on to say: Today you are fruitless, but you should become fruitful; fruits in keeping with repentance. In our concurrent society, which had created barricades by religious rituals, we must produce the fruits of repentance. Religion has reduced now as a commodity used by the cloud of believers. It is imprudent to claim a state of perfection in religion itself. Splendor or greatness are not the requisites of the believers but it should be the craving for the spiritual word from God. Religious fundamentalists love power over selfishness. The mistake what the man does is that he tries to deviate from the fundamental truth of God. Burning Graham Steins is not religion. On the contrary, the admiration of love shown to the leapers is the ethics.

We take part in many charity works. However, our social dealings and day-to-day transactions should be more justified and righteous. Responding in faith to the will of God is real repentance and coming back to God. Godly people turn to God in order to turn the entire world to the God. John is exhorting the entire mankind of all ages to come back to the way of God.

We should not waste our God given time. Our God given time is the gift rendered to us to live in communion with God. God had come to this world seeking the people who are conscious of their sin. God is not demanding a partial repentance but He look for a full obedience and surrender of our self.

A real repentance is the renunciation of our sinly nature in totality, revealed by our spiritual convictions. The temptation for many Christians is to embrace Jesus to their life without tearing off their sinly nature. With out the experience of repentance, a believer cannot act earnestly in their spiritual life. Repentance disinfects the flesh, and the assurance of forgiveness cleanses the wound. A tree is known by its fruits. In many fields of action, believers are with out giving proper fruits. In dealing with the problems in the agricultural field, social and religious discriminations, equality and justice to Dalits, treatment of dreadful diseases, attitude towards the environmental deteriorations etc. etc., the believing community is standing bewildered without producing proper fruits.

True penitent should have acceptance of his sin and willingness for the correction as basic characteristic factors. The trivial necessity of present is that the people who had gone away from God due to the Social, religious & cultural reasons should come back to God. The multitude who heard the preaching of John did not go back; but they asked John "what we should do?". Faith should not be limited to our emotions, but it should be exposed to our cultural, social and spiritual zones of our life pattern. To take decisions and to accomplish it considering our vivid situations is the real repentance.

John responds to three types of people. Your life should become the Gospel for the downtrodden. We are living in a time and society where the distance between the rich and poor had grown to a dreadful extent. The cloud of believers should be able to search out and reach the marginalized who are deprived of house, food, cloth and who are unable to marry their daughters etc. etc.

Do we have a vision to see the sorrows of our co-beings? Wants of the poor are not their fate or God's anger, but they are man made. Concern and caring is a divine nature. The presence of God is felt in the society by our caring service and mission. The cloud of believers, who share with Jesus through the Holy Eucharist, should be willing to share our possession with our co-beings.

Secondly, collect no more than what you have been ordered to. Luxuries and splendor are increasing. But do not take anything more than ordered to. Our position, authority or status should not become hindrance or trouble to others. It is a coercion to achieve our self-motivational exercises through our strength and power. We should learn to be content in whatsoever state we are. We should follow the model of Jesus who gave everything to everybody. Jesus tells us; "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." (St. Luke 4:18-19) Gospel can withstand the contemporary society only through the service out of compassion and love to downtrodden, sick, rejected and all marginalized in the society.

To re-establish the divine love of God in our daily life, is the real meaning and contemplation of the true repentance. Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.

[Extract from Address of Maramon Convention 2004 : Original in Malayalam]
Translated for LOL By: Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew Philadelphia, USA

Back Home Top
EmailEmail this Link to a Friend FeedbackSend Your Feedback