Luke 3:7-9 (ESV)
He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin 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.  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."
And yet the crowds came. Crowds came to hear the word of God. Crowds came to be baptized by a man who called them a brood of vipers. It did not matter who had warned them to flee the wrath to come. They knew they needed to flee it. John could preach the law! And he did so in away that would be considered abusive today. Snakes, stones, trees ready for the hatchet. And he said nothing untrue. Just less than politically correct.
The wrath to come. Do we talk of that anymore? God’s wrath. It isn’t feared anymore. It needs to be. The Gospel is meaningless without it. have we nothing to flee, we remain broods of vipers. A tangled ball of orgy crazed vipers, wiggling with eyes excited by evil. Perhaps you’ve seen such a thing. Everytime I read this I picture the sight of the Garter Snakes along the banks of the Crow Wing River, in a mess of mating frenzy. They weren’t vipers, but they did everything I wanted when a handful of them made my mom scream with fright. Tell you the truth she had such a paranoia, I had to overcome the contagiousness of it to reach my hand into that ball. It wasn’t a pretty picture. Still to this day I can see their beady eyes. They gave me the willies.
That is us. And just as a brood of vipers once discovered in ones back yard is instantly destroyed, so sinners have something to fear as we infest God’s garden. A brood of vipers hypnotized by the serpent, and bent on death. What can we expect but wrath? What more can we expect than a cobra in the garden dispatched with a rock to the head, by Rally. Rally tended the gardens on the mission station in Kanye, Botswana, when I was a kid. He had good aim.
Yes there is wrath to come. And we do well to remember that without repentance, we are cordwood for the fire. But God, who raises up from the stones (read block heads, a pejorative for gentile) children for Abraham, he works repentance in all of us vipers whom he warns of the wrath to come should we only have ears to hear.