Brood of Vipers
It's spring time in Texas and that means that the diamond backs are awake and on the move. Copperheads again can be lurking in the ground cover. Unlike the rattler, they strike without warning. Mention snakes and it arouses fear and for my buddies that hunt and fish it means they're ready with pistol or snake gun to take the enemy out.
The major tension in the redemptive story of the Bible is introduced in Genesis 3:15. The Lord confronts the Serpent and declares that there will be hostility between the seed of the Serpent and the seed of the woman. In Matthew 23 we are getting close to the climax of this conflict and Jesus closes His “Woes” against the religious leaders of His people calling them out as a "brood of vipers."
As they decorate the tombs of the martyred prophets, they boast that they would never have done these wicked deeds. Jesus rejects their pious bluff. He calls them out as being part of the seed of the Serpent. They are in the same family as those who murdered God's servants and prophets from Abel in Genesis 4 to Zechariah in 2 Chronicles (the last book in the Jewish Scriptures).
At the end of that very week they will hand over to be crucified not one of God's prophets but God's only Son.
Before we reject Jesus' prosecuting words as mean and hateful, we need to read how Jesus closes His woes against His opponents.
“Oh,Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You murder the prophets and stone the messengers that are sent to you. How often have I longed to gather your children round me like a bird gathering her brood together under her wing—and you would never have it. Now all you have left is your house. I tell you that you will never see me again till the day when you cry, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Mathew 23:38
Lord you are still praying for Jerusalem and your people to say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Use your penetrating exposure of the duplicity and violence in the human heart to move me to keep allowing You to expose what is in my heart so that I won't be bitten by the Serpent's murderous lies today!
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