Jesus was coming and John was preparing the way. People came to this Baptizer confessing their sins. They believed God was speaking to their nation once again. They believed; therefore, they came confessing their sins openly before God and man. That is repentance in action. They humbled themselves before God and each other. I cannot think of a better way for human beings to live. There is a peaceful millennium just around the corner. And Jesus will make sure it stays that way.
Back to John the Baptist.
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, produce fruit consistent with repentance; and do not assume that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you that God is able, from these stones, to raise up children for Abraham. And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit is being cut down and thrown into the fire.
‘As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:7-12 NASB)
John told pretenders the truth. Assuming to have a relationship with God, because of something or other, was meaningless. Repentance is not just acknowledgement of sin. Repentance bares the fruit of righteousness. That’s the truth.
This might be the spot for a chicken coop. Still debating.