The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by James Glass.

Luke 13:1-9

Repent or Perish

13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 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."

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.'"

Reflection

In the preceding chapters
the tension has been building and the opposition rising. People have claimed Jesus is in league with Beelzebub (11:15), Jesus has directly criticised the Pharisees (11:42-52; 12:1), issued warnings of how God's ways are not our ways (12:13-34) and how his
message is divisive (12:51). There is a clash of kingdoms going on.


In this specific context
for the nation of Israel, Jesus can see the war-like path that the nation is careering along with respect to their Roman oppressors. He can see that it is going to end in destruction (as it ultimately does with the Siege of Jerusalem in AD 70) and is calling
for change (v5).


That's all very well and good but how does that relate to me and my life I hear you ask?

Well, we might want to consider which paths we are currently taking that lead to death?


Jesus calls us away from these, to walk with him instead. As his disciples, he calls out to each and every one of us: "come, follow me". Indeed, that is his constant refrain for He is The Way, The Truth and The Life (John 14:6).


Now, we do need to be wary of (v9) of going down certain paths when we're stubborn and disobedient. We frequently inherit the consequences of this (death of peace, death of joy, death of trust, relationships, etc.). However, it's also of paramount importance that we hold this in tension with God's grace (v8) and remind ourselves of God's settled attitude of grace toward us - even when we are not obedient to him - because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.


Do you remember ever having to solve sequences in maths at school? You're given a list of several numbers and have to work out the pattern (e.g. n+2). It doesn't matter what number the 'n' represents, the pattern works just the same regardless whether 'n' is 7 or 77. In much the same way, there is a pattern to God's attitude toward us. He is the God of the 2nd chance, the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th... he is the God of the nth chance.


Prayer:

Lord thank you that you are everlasting in patience, mercy and kindness. Help me to keep my eyes and ears fixed on you today and follow in your ways. Amen.

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