The Book of Luke, Repent Or Perish - Lesson 169
Luke 13:1‑21, There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4Or 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? 5I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.6He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.10And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? 17And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.18Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. 20And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. 22And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
When God created man he created a being with a distinct and unique difference from his other creatures.
Animals have legs, arms, eyes, mouths, noses, and even brains but the one thing that separates us from the animals is our advanced ability to think.
Now don't you suppose that if God gave us this advanced ability to think that he wants us to use that ability to the greatest extent?
I know this is true for God has given us his word which is a thinking man's book.
The Bible is a book that requires thinking in order to gain from it the maximum benefit.
Religious systems down through the centuries have kept the Bible from the people in order to squelch thinking and to hamper the ability to think.
So when we study the Bible we should remember that one of God's purposes by giving us his word is to grow a family of thinkerís not a family of drones who are ignorant and will follow anyone who beckons.
When God says that he is taking out a people for his name that name demands people who will think.
And Jesus Christ is our teacher who teaches us about God's thinking, who teaches us God's thoughts and thereby gives us the ability to think in the same way that Jesus thinks.
We have seen in example after example, as we have studied the book of Luke that Jesus Christ always approaches any situation from a spiritual thinking standpoint whereas we see his listeners look at that same situation from a natural thinking standpoint.
The prophet Isaiah brought out the reason for this when he wrote of God's declaration in Isaiah 55:8,9:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The thoughts of Christ and the ways of Christ are higher than our ways and our thoughts.
His thoughts and his ways are always heavenly thoughts and heavenly ways while our thoughts and ways are earthly
His thoughts and his ways are eternal while ours are temporal.
Fortunately there is a way for us to think as Christ thinks for we are told in Romans 8:29 that those whom God foreknew are predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son.
Godís intention for those whom God foreknew as his children, is that they are to think alike and to think God's thoughts and to do his ways.
Paul wrote of this to the Philippians when he told them that it would be his joy that they be likeminded, having the same love, being in one accord, being of one mind.
He told them to: 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
I don't know how popular the ďWhat Would Jesus DoĒ movement is now but several years ago you would see, from time to time, people wearing bracelets which had this popular saying imprinted on them.
I suppose the bracelet was to give the wearer pause in a situation and to think what would Jesus do in that situation and go and do likewise.
In other words the question was posed to encourage them to copy Jesus in their doings.
But one thing I do know is that I cannot do what Jesus can do.
I cannot copy Jesus but I can think like Jesus for I am commanded to let his mind be in me but I am not commanded to do as Jesus did for I am not God.
So a better bracelet would be ďWhat would Jesus think?Ē
If you want to measure your Christian growth measure it in the sense of how much you think like Jesus Christ.
What has taken place in your mind relative to the way you think since you became a child of God?
Give this serious consideration and ask yourself if you think differently now that you are a Christian?
Has your mind, during the time since you were saved, changed its way of thinking to God's way of thinking about things?
Are the decisions that you make after thinking takes place, based upon the eternal or do they continue to be based upon the temporal?
I believe that it is as easy as answering that question to determine your growth in Christ.
This is what it means to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Are you getting the mind of Christ as you grow in the Lord.
If you are not you are not growing in the Lord.
This is something that we must fight for, thinking as God thinks and that is only done by practicing Godís word.
Doing God's word is an indication that Christ's mind is in you and an indication that you are growing in the Lord.
I think that most folks enjoy a good Biblical sermon and good Biblical singing but does that sermon and singing add brain cells to your new mind?
Again Paul wrote of this in Romans 12:2 when he reminded the Romans that being in Christ required a great responsibility on their part to renew their minds.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
So the only way that you are to know the will of God is to have the mind of Christ.
Your old mind will not reveal to you the will of God for it takes a new mind to do that.
It is natural and so easy to display the mind of the earth but to display the mind of the heavenlies takes the Spirit of God living within you with your yielded spirit.
This is one of the very important reasons to study God's word and to study the book of Luke for in this book we are faced with continual confrontations between Godís thoughts and manís thoughts.
God is so good to provide these contrasts so that we may see clearly what and how God thinks versus what and how man thinks.
Here is another example of the beauty of separation for God separates his thoughts from man's thoughts so that we may see the wisdom of his thoughts and the foolishness of our thoughts.
And as we see these contrasts and understand and accept these truths our mind is renewed, that is, changed to the mind of Christ, and our decisions based upon that renewed mind will reveal to us the will of God.
These contrasts are shown over and over in the book of Luke and in Chapter 13 as well.
We see Jesus Christ confronting with God's thoughts, some who brought tidings of a wicked act perpetrated by Pontius Pilate against a party of Galilaeans who had attended sacrifices in Jerusalem.
He continues to confront the thinking of men when he heals the
bent backed woman on the Sabbath.
This healing was not only designed to relieve the poor woman of this 18 year old infirmity but was designed to confront the distorted understanding of Godís great gift to man which was the Sabbath.
Messing with the Sabbath is something that God has great passion about.
For God gave the gift of the Sabbath to his people Israel, and that gift was to bring great joy.
But because of man's evil nature that gift was distorted into being a curse because of the myriad rules and regulations that the religious crowd had imposed upon it.
One thing we all need to learn is that God does not think lightly toward any who reject his gifts.
Think of the result of spurning the greatest gift of all, the gift of salvation though the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we are to think about things like this as God thinks about things like this and the only way to know God's mind is to know His word where His mind is revealed.
Now lets look at verses 1 though 5 in detail.
Luke 12:1-5, There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4Or 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? 5I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
The scene appears to be the same as we saw in chapter 12.
Jesus was still surrounded by the multitudes, sometimes teaching the multitudes and sometimes teaching His disciples.
At this time it is not clear as to whom he was teaching but we are told that a group came to Jesus with a tragic report.
This report revealed that Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, had slain a group of Galileans as they were worshipping.
We can infer that they were worshipping for we are told that their blood mingled or mixed with the blood of the sacrifice.
Why these Galileans were murdered we are not told but most likely they were put down because they were perceived as a threat to Rome.
From Jesus Christ's response to this report it appears that those who brought the report were not Galileans but were from Jerusalem.
From what Jesus read from their hearts, as reflected in his response, these were men who would tend to look down on Galileans and they may even have taken some pleasure in bringing this report.
Here we see an example of what prejudice encourages.
Prejudice is always looking to give a bad report about those who are prejudiced against.
Say for example that you are prejudiced against a certain group.
Do you want to see that prejudice reinforced or do you want to see that prejudice erased.
Natural thinking will desire an approval of your conclusions, a verification of your prejudice.
So you look for reinforcements which is what this group came to Jesus Christ to report.
This delegation had already drawn a false conclusion based upon a desire to reinforce their prejudice.
Their conclusion was that these Galileans were greater sinners than others especially those from their group who were perhaps Jerusalemites.
Isnít this how it works? We look for sin in others to justify or cover our own sin.
Why did they think that these Galileans were greater sinners?
We find the answer to this in Jesus response:
2And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?
Their false conclusion was based upon a faulty contention: a man's suffering in life is connected to the degree of sin in his life, and the contrary argument is that his prosperity is connected to his godliness.
This contention is commonly accepted as true.
But Jesus Christ rejected both the conclusion and its premise as being false.
He asked the question, ďDid these men have greater sinĒ and he answered it quickly with a simple Nay!
He did not stop there for there was a far more important thing to think about than the relative sin between men of different groups.
Jesus Christ turned to eternal questions.
This tragedy which they were so eager to report was not what was paramount.
What was paramount was that this or any other tragedy should be viewed as a warning to all sinners, a warning that judgment awaits all who do not make arrangements beforehand.
In giving this warning Jesus Christ brings to mind another tragedy which occurred in Jerusalem, at the tower of Siloam.
Here, 18 men were killed when the tower in Siloam suddenly collapsed and fell on them. Reminds us of 9/11 doesn't it?
These men were not greater sinners than others either.
I believe Jesus Christ provides this group as a contrasting group to strengthen his argument that they are not to think that Godís judgment was based on who they think were the greater sinners.
The first group of men who died were from Galilee, the second group seems to be those who lived in Jerusalem.
If these Jerusalemites tended to look down their noses at the Galileans, Jesus provides them with an example of their own neighbors dying in a similar way, tragically, prematurely, and unexpectedly.
While they compared Galileans with themselves, Jesus compared Galileans with Galileans as he said in v. 2), Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans,
and Jerusalemites with Jerusalemites as he said in v. 4. think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
The men in both groups died, and the men in both groups died quickly, unexpectedly and tragically.
Both groups died in what should have been a safe place, one group while offering sacrifices and one group living or standing near a tower that was a part of the defense system of Jerusalem.
The Lord calls upon all of His hearers to not think about incidental things like the sin of these poor victims but to think about important things concerning their soul and their soulís eternal destination.
He calls them to repentance.
How often we may say when we witness a tragedy like a fatal car accident, how glad we were that we were not at that place at that time and were able to avoid the accident.
Jesus Christ is saying here that your tragedy is down the road perhaps separated by a little time but it awaits you nevertheless unless you do something about it now.
And that something is to get right with God, to turn from your own way to God's way for: except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
The message that should be heard from any tragedy is not that you were able to avoid it but the message that Christ brings here is that death comes uninvited, unexpectedly, and undesired but by Godís grace, through the Lord Jesus Christ, today is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation.
This is the mind of Christ.
The mind of men is upon the sins of others, the mind of Christ is the call to repent of your own sins so that God's grace can be effective in your life.
For knowing whose sins are greater will not keep a man from Hell but repenting and receiving the only Savior that God provides, the Lord Jesus Christ, certainly will!