Yohanan the Immerser Demands Repentance

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In Yohanan the Immerser Demands Repentance John the Baptist challenges his audience, which had gone through all the trouble of going out to the Jordan River to receive his baptism, to accept his even more important advice: to repent of their evil deeds and imitate the faithfulness of Abraham their father.

Matt. 3:7-10; Luke 3:7b-9

(Huck 2; Aland 14; Crook 17)[1]

Revised: 8 September 2022

וַיַּרְא אוֹתָם וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם יְלִידֵי צִפְעֹנִים מִי הִגִּיד לָכֶם לָנוּס מֵחֲרוֹן הָאַף הֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא [עֲלֵיכֶם] עֲשׂוּ פְּרִי רָאוּי לַתְּשׁוּבָה וְאַל תַּתְחִילוּ לוֹמַר בִּלְבַבְכֶם אָבִינוּ אַבְרָהָם אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם יָכוֹל אֵל לְהָקִים מִן הָאֲבָנִים הָאֵלּוּ בָּנִים לְאַבְרָהָם וּכְבָר הַקּוֹרְדּוֹם לְעִקָּר הָעֵצִים מוּעָד כָּל עֵץ שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה פְּרִי טוֹב נֶעֱקָר וּבָאֵשׁ נָתוּן

And seeing them approach, Yohanan the Immerser said to the crowds, “You wicked spawn of adders! Who told you that immersing yourselves would help you escape the divine anger that’s overtaking you? Was it I? If you believed me when I told you about the danger, then why don’t you believe me when I tell you about the solution? Act in a way that will bring your repentance to fruition!

“Don’t fool yourselves saying, ‘Our father is Abraham: he will deliver us.’ I assure you that from these stones God is able to raise up sons and daughters for Abraham. Already the mattock for chopping out the roots has been appointed! Every ‘tree’ that does not bear the ‘fruit’ of repentance is uprooted and burned.”[2]






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  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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    Joshua N. Tilton

    Joshua N. Tilton

    Joshua N. Tilton studied at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where he earned a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies (2002). Joshua continued his studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, where he obtained a Master of Divinity degree in 2005. After seminary…
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