Summary: Justification of being a good person by comparing oneself to others is foolishness to God and if you don’t repent from this attitude, God will make your death painful and humiliating!
We are now in Chapter 13 of the Gospel of Luke. Again, Luke was not one of the original 12 Disciples but was a Disciple of Christ very early on. Luke was a physician who accompanied the Apostle Paul in his missionary journeys. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Luke interviewed many and reported on the story of Jesus Christ, who is Savior and God.
We will note in our passage today that there were killings by Pontius Pilate. History books tell us that Pilate was the Roman Leader in charge of the Province of Judea (show map); and so we know that Jesus walked the earth about 2000 years ago and Israel was under Roman Rule. Our passage also cites an accident involving a tower in Siloam. Archaeologists confirm this area called Siloam and Historian Josephus cites 60 towers along the wall by Siloam.
The Bible is historically and archaeologically correct because it is the Word of God which is always true! Are we believers of the Word of God?
Let us together pray our commitment to God’s Word….
Open your Bibles to Luke 13….
Remember that Jesus not only talked to His Disciples but to thousands of people which included the “religious people”, who Jesus confronted as hypocrites. Read along with me Luke 13:1-8……
This story of the Galileans and Pilate is not cited anywhere else in Scriptures.
Other translations are of some help but the main point here is that those Galileans were murdered by Pontius Pilate and their blood was used as offerings to gods. And based on Jesus’s answer in v2, the thought of some was that those Galileans were so sinful that they died in painful and humiliating deaths.
Jesus answered in v3: The Galileans did not die that way because they were more sinful than others.
Now, Jesus is God and could read the minds of those who were questioning Him. Based on Jesus’ answer, what do you think those people were thinking who were questioning Jesus??
Those who were questioning Jesus were trying to justify themselves! We will see a similar story in Luke 18, where a Pharisee prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
Justification of being a good person by comparing oneself to others is foolishness to God.
In v4, Jesus gave another example; People who died because of an accident does not mean they were more sinful that others.
Before we discuss Jesus’ instructions to those questioning Him, what general truth can we say about death from Jesus’ words? Regardless of how people die, everyone dies because of sin, no matter how big or small the sin is! This truth goes all the way back to when the first man and woman sinned against God. Genesis 3:3 states, “but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” And of course, Adam and Eve disobeyed God.
Jesus repeated the statement “But unless you repent, you too will all perish” both in v3 and v5. What did Jesus mean by this? First of all, what did Jesus mean with perish?
Looking at other English Translations helps us. Most translations are this way:
I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Let us also again note that the people questioning Jesus were trying to justify themselves. And so what Jesus was trying to say to them was that they will also die in a similar way (painful, humiliating, or accidentally) if they do not repent. Repent meaning to turn away from.
Justification of being a good person by comparing oneself to others is foolishness to God and if you don’t repent from this attitude, God will make your death painful and humiliating!
Do we justify ourselves by comparing ourselves to others? Jesus warns us of self-pride!
Then Jesus told a parable, a story with a lesson, in v6-9. What can we note?
a. a “man” owns a vineyard!
b. fig tree in a “vineyard”? i.e. something is not right
c. owner sees no fruit on the fig tree
d. owner tells the vineyard manager to cut down the fig tree
e. manager asked for some time to help the fig tree bear fruit
f. if the fig tree does not bear fruit with the help, it is to be cut
There can be many interpretations to this parable. But as we connect the parable to the main point of Jesus, which was “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”, the parable is about God’s love and patience, which gives sinners an opportunity to be cleansed and bear fruit!