(Matthew 3:7-8) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Snakes are fascinating animals, they are feared often in many places, cold blooded, they can swallow prey much larger then their own mouths because they have a jaw that can come unhinged and expand very wide. Some snakes kill with venom, paralyzing their prey and then swallowing it whole yet still others, such as those in the constrictor catagory will wrap around their prey and strangle it to death, and not only do the non constrictor and smaller snakes eat mice and other small rodents, but they are notorious for eating one another-
Isn’t this just like the unredeemed nature of man? The people of the world and those overrun by the philosophies of this fallen world and their own propensities to the fallen nature inherited by Adam. We here people say “You have to be ruthless to get ahead” or “this is a cut throat society” as well as “dog eat dog world”
Yet Christ defied such cultural standards, Jesus Christ defied most of the customs of his days and we find that he addressed the unregenerate Pharisees like this:
(Matthew 12:33-36) “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
The unregenerate tongue spits venom, venomous malice, resentment from thick stick streams of slander, toxic bites of flattery with crafty intent, that serve to blind others so they can swallow their fellow person whole.
(Psalm 58:3-5) Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies. Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.
As hard as it is to swallow, no pun intended (since we are talking about snakes) but as hard as it is to swallow Scripture is pretty blunt about who we really are before the grace of God touches our hearts and transfers us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God, as Jesus said himself, “You are of your father the devil, for he is a liar and a murderer”
(John 8:44) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Not only was the Great Serpent a liar and murderer but also in Greek, Diobolos, meaning devil, which in the Greek language holds the description “Slanderer”
Satan is refered to as the “thief” and other titles such as “The Accuser of the brethren”
Jesus was pretty blunt and too the point, not only did John the Baptist liken certain people to be “You brood of vipers” but Jesus also said it and even though he was speaking to a religious crowd it did not matter, they practiced only an external one at that, soon to shed like an old malted exoskeleton. Whether or not it was religious heathenism or lawless irreligious heathenism it was all the same class, order, and family of “snake”, though the species may be one of a black mamba (Flat out denounces God, Christ, the Gospel) but the other a Texas Rattle snake (Rattles a phony show of religiousity but is really just doea snake is a snake, and the unredeemed untamed sinful nature in all of us is like a viper of death.
You want me to prove it, to everyone who thinks people are just deep down good and jolly just look around you at how much ruckus has happened over mere preference in political preference of a presidential candidate. People are thirsty for violence and quarelling because they are of “their father the devil” and he was “the serpent more crafty then all the other animals in the garden”
Yet like many animals I am sure a male snake may as well eat his own offspring, female snakes may guard their own young but probably not a male if he sticks around long enough to see them hatch, and even if a male snake were a creature of tender fatherhood to its own young, the devil is not that type of snake and has no concern for his brood.
The only time Jesus told his followers to be like snakes was “Be wise as snakes but innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16)
After all Jesus even did give the unredeemed world credit, for really only own thing- shrewdness, and if you look at the parable of “The Shrewd Manager” Jesus says “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:8-13 )
Jesus is not promoting dishonesty here since he even says “whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” However he is saying that the world knows how to make friends and gain advantages with dishonest means and wealth, how much more then should a follower of Christ use wealth well to reap eternal rewards that far outweigh earthly wealth.
Consider the worldly soul’s favorite types of prey, money, pleasure, fame or success. These are not evil in themselves but a snake when seeking a meal will in many cases eat other snakes or the eggs of another snake, likewise people who do not know what it is to have Christ are left to themselves to devour eachother, rob, steal, cheat, take advantage of, use and abuse or trick eachother if they think they can have the meal of their preference, the goal they seek, or their desire end.
Let’s look at the King Cobra, it is a king of snakes and eats all that dare cross it wrong or any snake it sees as lunch. The king cobra is a mighty ruler of the slithering underbellies, and so are the rulers of human beings, so were kings of old, dictators of yesteryears and godless politicians of the present. People cry out because their snake kings swallow their resources and gobble up their income with excessive taxes and regulations they spew as a spitting cobra but this is just the nature of such a slithering beast.
As Christ disciples, Jesus gives a totally reverse way to live:
(Matthew 20:25-28) Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Christ the sinless lamb of God layed down his life to serve and save his own, unlike a cold blooded serpent that would devour only it’s own. Jesus sets the standard for godly and the noblest of conduct and way,
Laying down our lives and being humble servants, not using position, power or privilege to unjust gain or to prey on an advantage at anothers expense.
What the unspiritual mind scorns as weakness and foolishness, Christ exalts as wisdom and the way to real success,
He says “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted” as well as “Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”
The world screams do whatever it takes to rise to the top, but Christ teaches the only way to rise in the real sense is to bow low and become nothing. And many a man and a woman have gained all the wealth, riches and esteem only to be miserable of all people, they find that they have opened the box called “the good life” to be disapointed to find nothing but ashes inside of it. Yet there are those who have layed down their own comfort, the feed the poor, clothe the naked, encourage the downcast and preach the riches of the gospel to find that they have found it all, the “Pearl of great price” and the “Treasures in jars of clay” which is true fulfillment. Not only have they found joy in more then mere self focus but rather touched many lives, but also have a eternal reward that will last forever!
The hope of the gospel is God’s grace through Christ’s death on the cross that nails our sinful snake nature to the cross also, but enables us to be new in nature, “For if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The Nature of the snake must be crucified in faith in the Son of God who hung their and rose from the dead to deliver us from darkness and sin and death.
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:14-15)