John the Baptist rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees, not because they came to be baptized, but because they came with the wrong motives. They were still in the grip of pride, which prevented them from true repentance and thus receiving forgiveness of sins. The Pharisees were proud of their performance, for they thought that they kept God’s law as well as possible. The Sadducees were proud of the power and their position. As the rulers in Judea, they held the reins of political power and prestige in their hands. Thus, the Pharisees thought they did not need God’s forgiveness, and the Sadducees imagined that they did not need God at all. We fall into the same danger whenever we succumb to pride. Do you resist, and even resent, criticism? Do you defend yourself, or even attack others, when someone tries to point out a failing or a fault? Do you try, in ways subtle or blatant, to build your own reputation in the eyes of others? Are you more aware of the sins of others than you are of your own? Then you are a modern-day Pharisee. On the other hand, when we neglect, or even disbelieve, God’s power; when we seek worldly success and prominence; when we limit God by our own notions of what He can or cannot do – then we are like the Sadducees. To the degree that we are complacent about ourselves and happy to be in control; to the extent that we try to rule our lives rather than submitting to God’s rule, we fall into the same net they did. May we heed the warning of God through His servant John and seek true repentance, which will result in a changed life of humble dependence upon God’s grace and providential power in our lives.