"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 for Abraham." -Matthew 3:9If you had to describe yourself in a few words, if you only had one short phrase to summarize everything that makes you YOU, what would those words be?
I was reading this morning about John preparing the way for Jesus and I came across something I've never thought about before, something I guess I've always read right past. He was preaching what was, I'm sure, ones of the most impassioned messages of all time (dude lived in the wilderness and ate locusts...), when he notices the Pharisees and Sadducees approaching to watch the scene.
John brings the fire. He calls them a brood of vipers. There is a whole rant, it's pretty awesome. But buried in his speech to the religious elite I saw the critique that might have stung the most. It stung me this morning.
If you asked the Pharisees and Sadducees to describe the most important part of their identity, they would probably say "child of Abraham". The Israelites were God's chosen people, after all. Being a son or daughter of Abraham was crucial to their identities.
John knows this, and goes right for the heart. "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 for Abraham."
Translation: you know that thing that defines you? So what. You know those three or four words you would use to describe yourself? God could make a great parent or spouse or worker or whatever from a stone. Your identity in anything other that Christ is not worth building an identity on.
It got me thinking about how I would define my identity.
I wasn't expecting that message from Matthew 3 this morning. Looks like John sucker punched me too. Didn't even see it coming.