There are no imperatives spoken by Jesus in Matthew 3:5-12. But there is 1 imperative from John the Baptist to consider.
Context: Can we infer commands for us from this context? Use the questions below to consider this.
Mat 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan,
Mat 3:6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Mat 3:8 Bear fruit that befits repentance,
Mat 3:9 and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
Mat 3:10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mat 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Mat 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
This is the same word – do/build/make – which is translated as “prepare the way of the Lord” earlier in the chapter. So it isn’t really to merely “bear fruit” but to act to produce fruit. The focus is on works of repentance – farming the fruit.
S. What does it say?
O. What does it say that I need to obey?
W. Who needs to hear this? Generally? Specifically?
Mat 03:8 Bear fruit that befits repentance, 9 and do not presume to say to yourselves …
S. John says that Jesus is going to raise the bar on repentance. His standards are even higher.
O. Get ready.
W. Those who think they need no repentance because they are better than other people, in their opinion.
How did Jesus fulfill this?
What is the baptism of fire in context?
Does God choose to axe some who are not fruitful?
For chaff only? Or silver dross purification?
There is a universal human hunger for repentance that draws a crowd. People feel unclean. But not everyone who comes desires a new beginning or is willing to change.
Some people want to feel good without actually being good or doing good. This is what a drug for addiction is all about … it allows you to feel good regardless of your actions or consequences. It allows you to feel better without being better.
M. Scott Peck wrote about this in Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey Towards Spiritual Growth as the problematic difference between Self love vs Self esteem.
What are the commands of Jesus Christ which we need to obey? In disciple-making, Jesus commanded the following in Matthew 28:20: “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” What are the commands that we are to follow and teach others as identified by Jesus’ use of the imperative mood in the Greek?
This is an anchor post, the purpose of which is to begin a conversation. Please add value by sharing stories, personal experiences, quotes (with sources) and questions for discussion in the comments. (Some comments may be incorporated into the original post.)
A sermon was preached on this text:
Date … Audio Link … Slides Link.
Last post review/revision: 8/11/18.