Learn the Galilean Lesson (Lent 18-2019)

At gathering times for teaching, there was also a sharing of the news of the day.  Jesus paid attention to it all.  Luke 13:1 “Some present at that time … told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.”

Pilate, the prefect of Rome, was spoken about regularly.  Jesus knew about him as Marcus Pontius Pilatus, an authoritarian leader, headstrong at times which was odd since he was genuinely double-minded and stubborn all at the same time.  He was really just another simply human who governed himself by his own rules which changed by the hour and the political winds.  Jesus remembered back to when Pilate first came, and the golden shields inscribed to Tiberius had been set up in Jerusalem at night.  After near riots and plenty of complaints, Pilate had them removed. Of course, having to file a report with Tiberius may have had something to do with that change of heart.  Pilate was always doing stuff like that.  Jesus’ thoughts returned to the teaching moment the news presented.

Luke 13:2 “Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?  3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.   4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them– do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?  5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

The people present stood in stunned silence.  In their hearts, they were thinking, Perish!  What do you mean perish?  Are there not varying levels of guilt?  Maybe not worse sinners or more guilty…but isn’t there some kind of sliding scale where our good actions count for something?  Repentance.  What does that have to do with it?  Isn’t it good enough to be a disciple?”

Luke 13:6 “Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.  7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’  8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.  9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”

Presuming upon the patience of God—taking His patience for granted—is always a bad thing.  Repent now, or perish.  You never know what tomorrow will bring whether suffering at the hands of government, or falling towers, or an axe, if you’re a fig tree.

Think about it:

  • In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  Why do some people procrastinate, maybe wanting to wait until a deathbed confession? 
  • Does anyone really know when their days are up? 
  • What about people who profess Christ in the silence of their hearts or in the comfort of a church, but not where their witness might make a real difference?  What is the fruit of that type of life? 
  • In what way does that presume upon the patience of God?

Thank You, Father, for being patient with us.  We praise You for keeping Your promises, in Your own timing, and for giving us every opportunity to repent or perish.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the many teaching opportunities You maximized to help us understand that what we do with our time on earth matters to You.  Thank You, Holy Spirit, for giving us words to share Your Gospel of good news, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil, and the time is short.  Grant us courage.  Grant us wisdom, in Christ we pray.  Amen.

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Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 26, 2019

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