29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. 33 You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape the judgment of hell?[f] 34 For this reason I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 35 so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.
I’ve seen a pretty mean car called a Viper. I’ve shot a rifle by the same name. The title of this poisonous snake is often attached to things that aren’t so sweet. Jesus and John the Baptist called the narrow-minded, hard-hearted, self-righteous religious leaders of their day vipers or sons of vipers. This might be enough to encourage us to steer clear of such behaviors.
God, help me to lean more toward being a humble disciples than a haughty scribe or Pharisee. Make me a true follower of my Lord and Savior, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.