There’s a lot going on in our gospel text today.
We have Jesus talking about vipers, trees and axes, wheat and chaff, water and fire.
What’s he trying to communicate to us?
Jesus sounds angry in this lesson, especially with the Pharisees and Sadducees, and maybe he is angry.
But I think it’s an anger that comes from passion and urgency.
It’s like when you scold your three-year-old after she almost runs out in the street—it’s an anger born of fear and love.
You so want this person to be safe, there is no other way to communicate the intensity of your desire but through seemingly harsh words.
That’s how Jesus feels about us.
Jesus does not want us stuck in the same old patterns that keep us small and selfish and fearful.
He does not want us to live lives dominated by suspicion and cynicism and a vague, aching sense deep inside of us that there must be more to life than what we’re experiencing.
Jesus wants us to undergo radical change, stomach-churning transformation, having the rug pulled out from under us in the most disorienting way, because that is what it takes to grow up into the full stature of Christ.
All of Jesus’ images in our gospel today are about profound disruption, and I’m not sure that’s a message we’re all too keen on hearing right now. Continue reading