Luke 13:1-3-Some people came to Jesus and told him about a group of Galileans that had been killed by Pilate’s soldiers while they were making their sacrifices (there is no other record of this incident). Evidently, their own blood and the blood of their sacrifices had become mixed. Those telling Jesus assumed that because they had been killed while making their sacrifice that they were worse sinners than other people. Like many people they may have wondered, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” In this situation, it appears that they assumed that suffering is always directly proportionate to sinfulness. Or as it is said, “You get what you deserve.” Jesus quickly dismisses this incorrect thought. Suffering and death did enter into the world as the result of sin. So they were correct that there is a connection between moral evil and physical suffering. However, for an individual, the proportion of suffering is not necessarily directly connected to the degree of sin. Jesus knew that there was a danger that people might begin to think that because they had not suffered as much as others…that meant that they were better than others. So, He said that the fact is that we are all sinners and must repent. He redirected their thinking from the consequences of the sinfulness of others, to the responsibility for their own sinfulness.
Luke 13:4-5-To reinforce His point, Jesus tells of another similar incident and says again that all men must repent.
Luke 13:6-9-Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree that does not bear fruit and will be cut down if it does not. Bearing fruit was the purpose of the tree and was the physical evidence that it was fulfilling its purpose. Repentance is the evidence that we are fulfilling our purpose. If there is no repentance…there will be judgment.
Luke 13:10-17-Jesus heals a woman who had been bent over double and could not even stand up straight for 18 years. The sickness was “caused by a spirit” (:16-“Satan”). This took place while Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on a Sabbath. The woman began glorifying God…and the synagogue leader became upset. What a difference of response. Could it be that the leader was jealous? How many years had he seen this woman come to the synagogue and he had done nothing? The leader says there are six days in the week to work, the Sabbath is a day of rest. Jesus tells them that they have no problem giving their ox or donkey water on the Sabbath and by their own standards that constitutes work. Shouldn’t this woman at least be given the benefit that their animals receive? In fact, Jesus says that there is no better day in the week for her to be healed, than the Sabbath…because it is a day for worshipping God (:16).
Luke 13:18-21-Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed…then to leaven. In both instances, what started small grew to become much larger.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for saving me, the sinner. It is easy to judge others as being greater sinners than myself. And yet, from what You say here, we are all sinners and all in need of salvation. Please help me to make Your way of salvation known to all people, from all places.