Read Matthew 3
Focus on verse 8-9
To presume is to assume that something is the way we think it is because we think it should be so. There are times when our presumption turns out to be reality, and that are times when our presumption is significantly different from reality. It is when our presumption turns out to be the latter that it becomes problematic.
One of the more common subjects we make presumptions about is the nature and character of God. It is indeed necessary to make some presumptions in regard to God because there are aspects of God that are difficult if not impossible to ascertain with certainty. In today’s reading John the Baptist addresses the presumption of the Pharisees and Sadducees who believed they had an inside track in connection with God simply because they where Jewish.
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. (v. 8-9)
These religious leaders seemed to have grown accustomed to being esteemed and respected by the general population simply because they held a position in religious leadership, while their behavior and attitude, though outwardly pious, were inwardly hypocritical. John was calling them out and challenged them to repent of their hypocrisy.
This tendency of religious leaders to presume that they have an inside track with God seems just as common today as it was with the Jewish leaders in Jesus day. The nature of humanity has not changed, nor has the nature and character of God. He still has ways by which He calls out leaders who presume that they somehow are more important to God than the people God called them to serve. The truth of the matter is that God has no favorites, because we are all His favorite, so in that regard we are all on the same level. Perhaps then it is not wrong to presume that I am God’s favorite so long as I also treat every other person I encounter as one of God’s favorites as well. Who knows, if we all adopted such a presumption, it might significantly change the way we all treat each other for the better.