Wheat from Chaff
7 But when Yochanan saw many of the P’rushim and Tz’dukim (Pharisees and Saduccees) coming to be immersed by him, he said to them, “You snakes! Who warned you to escape the coming punishment?8 If you have really turned from your sins to God, produce fruit that will prove it!9 And don’t suppose you can comfort yourselves by saying, ‘Avraham is our father’! For I tell you that God can raise up for Avraham sons from these stones!10 Already the axe is at the root of the trees, ready to strike; every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown in the fire!11 It’s true that I am immersing you in water so that you might turn from sin to God; but the one coming after me is more powerful than I — I’m not worthy even to carry his sandals — and he will immerse you in the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and in fire.12 He has with him his winnowing fork; and he will clear out his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn but burning up the straw with unquenchable fire!”
John the Immerser was not pleased with the religious leaders of the day. He knew they were following traditions of men, instead of the commandments Adonai had established in Torah. They had added to the teachings of God and it was causing problems. People were not following what Adonai intended. Instead of moving towards the heart of God they were moving away from it. John the Immerser wanted them to repent and return to God's original intent - having a relationship with Him and following His commands. Verse 8 is a key statement to these men:
IF you have really turned from your sins to God, PRODUCE FRUIT that will PROVE IT!
John continues by telling them there is Someone greater coming. Someone Who carries a greater anointing than he does. This person will begin to separate and clear the threshing floor. The threshing floor is of great significance in Jewish history/culture. This is where the wheat was separated from the chaff. There is a lot more study that could be done on the importance of the threshing floor.
I think it is time to reflect on what John was truly speaking of... Have we come to this point again today in our world? Are we ready for the separating? What traditions of men are we following that we need to let go of and repent?
Love and blessings,
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Photo credit to my dear friend Serena Geiger who I was privileged to spend two weeks in Israel with in 2019. This picture was taken somewhere as we traveled around. It has wheat and chaff!