the Coming Wrath

When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? [Luke 3:7 NLT]

The idea of a "coming wrath" seems to be one that persists to this day. Teachings about apocalyptic judgment on the earth are still fodder for books and movies. So why does John speak of the coming wrath. And why does he feel this message is necessary to prepare the way for the Messiah?

My first thought is that wrath is probably one of the most misunderstood words in religious circles. Images of a lightning bolt tossing Zeus comes to mind as people image a deity who is angry with humanity. This image seems far removed from the Messiah (i.e. Jesus) that the Baptist is announcing in the gospels.

The people of the Baptist's day, John included, were expecting a very different sort of Messiah. Many folks could not see Jesus as the Messiah because they were expecting a warrior-like messiah. One who would execute the coming wrath on all who opposed God. These saw God more like Zeus than Jesus.

Help us Lord to understand that your message is love and not wrath.

... this devotion is part of a series about John the Baptist.

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