Summary: There is a forgotten word in the preaching of today. It is the word REPENTANCE.
Except Ye Repent
There is a forgotten word in the preaching of today. It is the word REPENTANCE.
Pulpits and preachers are strangely silent today regarding the message of repentance. Repentance is the subject of our text this morning.
Jesus was the finest teacher who ever lived. In the passage that we read this morning, He seems to clip two tragic stories from the local Jerusalem newspaper to drivee home an important truth that we all need to be reminded of from time to time.
Now no other historian but Luke records the two events Jesus alluded to. Josephus the great Jewish historian does not mention them.
Let us begin with the temple calamity. This would have been headlines in the Jerusalem Gazette. It is very likely that this event took place during the Passover, and these Galilean Jews had come down to offer their sacrifices. Apparently Pilate sends his soldiers to find some Galileans and slaughters them while they are offering sacrifices. We don’t know any of the details. But there they were, offering their sacrifices. Pilate comes, not personally, but his soldiers and finds them there and slices them up so that in a very gruesome way, a gory way, it describes their blood as being mingled with the blood of the sacrifices.
This raises the question about this calamity. These people aren’t pagan; they’re worshiping, they’re doing what the Old Testament says. They’re worshiping God, they’re confessing their sins, they’re bringing their offering. How can such a bad thing happen to good people?
And so in verse 2 Jesus responds to the intention of their bringing this incidnet up. “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things?” Jesus calls their conventional theology into question. Now do you think that the reason this happened to them was because they are the greatest sinners in Galilee? Is that what you think? Do you suppose that?
Jesus said in response, “Nay.” The Galileans who were slaughtered by Pilate were not greater sinners than others.
Let’s go to the second issue before we come back to the second half of verse 3. The first was the temple calamity. The second is the tower calamity.
Jesus brings up another issue from the front page. “Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?”
Jesus again says “Nay.”
Now let’s come to the third point, the temple calamity, the tower calamity, the true calamity. The true calamity, go back to verse 3, “Except ye repent , ye shall all likewise perish.” Verse 5, “Except ye repent , ye shall all likewise perish.” That’s the true calamity.
The real calamity is not that you were killed in the temple or that the tower fell on you or that you died by any other means. The real calamity is that if you don’t repent, when death comes you will perish.
True calamity is that you die and experience the judgment of God because you have not repented.
The issue is not how people die or when they die or by what cause they die. The issue is that they die without repenting.
Jesus is saying, “Look, don’t assume anything. You’re going to likewise perish except you repent.”
Everybody’s headed for death if the Lord tarries His coming. You had better repent before you get there. You better settle your case before you get to court.
Just because Pilate’s soldiers ran by you to get to those Galileans, says nothing about your righteousness. Just because the tower fell and you had just left a few minutes before doesn’t mean you’re more righteous than the ones who were crushed.
What it does mean is God is showing you more mercy, more patience, giving you more opportunity to repent.
This was such a bitter pill for the the Jews tow swallow. Repent? We’re the righteous. We’re the godly. We’re the spiritual. We’re the chosen. We’re the blessed. What are You talking about repent? They hated His talk of repentance. They hated it with John the Baptist. They hated it with Jesus.
It was because He called them to repentance that they plotted to murder Him and eventually did. They refused to see themselves as sinners. They refused to see themselves as headed for judgment. It infuriated them to be diagnosed that way.
I want us to focus on three words in our message. They are "all," "repent," and "perish,"
I. REPENT is an inclusive word
"All" need to repent.
What Jesus teaches, then, is that all of us are extremely sinful. There are no innocent human beings. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "There is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). What should amaze us in our sin is not that some are taken in calamity, but that we are spared and given another day to repent. The really amazing thing in this universe is not that guilty sinners perish, but that God is so slow to anger that you and I can sit here this morning and have another chance to repent.