The Importance of Repentance (13:1–9)…
13:1–3 Chapter 12 closed with the failure of the Jewish nation to discern the time in which they lived, and with the Lord’s warning to repent quickly or perish forever.
Chapter 13 continues this general subject, and is largely addressed to Israel as a nation, although the principles apply to individual people.
Two national calamities form the basis of the resulting conversation.
The first was the massacre of some Galileans who had come to Jerusalem to worship.
Pilate, the governor of Judea, had ordered them to be slain while they were offering sacrifices.
Nothing else is known concerning this atrocity.
We assume the victims were Jews who had been living in Galilee.
The Jews in Jerusalem might have been laboring under the delusion that these Galileans must have committed terrible sins, and that their death was an evidence of God’s disfavor.
However, the Lord Jesus corrected this by warning the Jewish people that unless they repented, they would all likewise perish.
13:4, 5 The other tragedy concerned the collapse of a tower in Siloam which caused the death of eighteen persons.
Nothing else is known about this accident except what is recorded here.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to know any further details. The point emphasized by the Lord was that this catastrophe should not be interpreted as a special judgment for gross wickedness.
Rather, it should be seen as a warning to all the nation of Israel that unless they repented, a similar doom would come upon them.
This doom came to pass in A.D. 70 when Titus invaded Jerusalem.
Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…
Many Jews believed that good fortune, health, and wealth were signs of God’s approval and that hardships or tragedies were signs of God’s judgment.
When others experience hardship, it is easy to judge them.
Jesus taught that the best response is compassion.
May I get specific for a moment? May I talk about sin?
Dare I remind you and me that our past is laced with outbursts of anger, stained with nights of godless passion, and spotted with undiluted greed?
Suppose your past was made public?
Suppose you were to stand on a stage while a film of every secret and selfish second was projected on the screen behind you?
Would you not crawl beneath the rug? Would you not scream for the heavens to have mercy?
And would you not feel just a fraction . . . just a fraction of what Christ felt on the Cross?
The icy displeasure of a sin-hating God? . . . Christ carried all our sins in His body . . . See Christ on the Cross?
That’s a gossiper hanging there. See Jesus? Embezzler. Liar. Bigot.
See the crucified carpenter? He’s a wife beater. Porn addict and murderer.
See Bethlehem’s boy? Call Him by His other names—Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and Jeffrey Dahmer.
Hold it, Max. Don’t you lump Christ with those evildoers. Don’t you place His name in the same sentence with theirs!
I didn’t. He did.
Indeed He did more. More than place His name in the same sentence, He placed Himself in their place.
With hands nailed open, He invited God, “Treat Me as you would treat them!”
And God did. In an act that broke the heart of the Father, yet honored the holiness of heaven, sinpurging judgment flowed over the sinless Son of the ages.
And heaven gave earth her finest gift. The Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world.
(From Next Door Savior by Max Lucado)
Don’t fool yourself by thinking that sins will be ignored. Confess your sins today, and enjoy the freedom that God wants for you. Jesus paid the price.
Sunday, August 28
Daily Verse and Comment:
New King James Version
Repent or Perish
1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus took advantage of two local tragedies to make the point that, in a major way, all sins and all sinners are equal.
The incident of the collapsed tower was in all likelihood a time-and-chance accident.
However, Jesus alluded to those who died as being sinners, and He implied that those in His audience were also sinners who deserved to die—and would, unless they repented.
What is interesting is a possible reason why Jesus responded as He did to their report of Pilate’s action.
He seems to have detected in their attitude that they thought that those killed by Pilate deserved to die!
The victims were sinners who “got what was coming to them,” implying that they themselves were righteous.
Jesus’ replies that they were just as guilty as those who died!
Someone’s sudden and violent death is not proof that he is particularly more wicked than others.
Jesus’ point is that, while it is not our responsibility to judge the degree of sinfulness of those who die suddenly and violently, it presents us with a golden opportunity to meditate on the state of our character and standing before God.
We may be in just as much danger as those we regard as being very wicked!
We live in a world that is given to extremes of judgment.
One extreme is to call victims of a random tragedy “innocent,” when the Bible shows no such human being exists.
They are only innocent of causing the calamity that brought about the sudden end of their life.
The other extreme is that human nature has a propensity to judge that those killed in such a circumstance were in reality great and wicked sinners who got what they deserved.
This suggests that those making this determination are in good standing with God.
Ours is a topsy-turvy world. We desire with all our being for things to go “right.”
We want good to be rewarded and evil to be punished. But we find in places like Psalms 37 and 73 that evil men often prosper, live in peace in lovely homes, wear fine clothing, are surrounded by their families, receive acclaim and honors within the community, and die at a good old age.
Conversely, the righteous suffer afflictions, are unappreciated, persecuted, demeaned, dishonored, reviled, scattered, and perhaps even cut off in the prime of life!
Some things involving life, judgment, and the out-working of God’s purpose are simply beyond our knowing.
We also have a very difficult time correctly judging the intent of another person’s heart. Thus, God cautions us to be careful.
But He expects us to be able to judge the intent of our own heart correctly.
We should know what is going on inside.
So often, though, even in this we allow ourselves to deny the evil of our own motivations.
We proudly justify ourselves by thinking, “God won’t mind.
It’s just a ‘little’ sin that won’t hurt anybody. And, besides, I need to do this.”
Is there really innocence in this kind of thinking?
— John W. Ritenbaugh
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