Repent or Perish

Two Alternatives: Repent or Perish (Luke 13:1-9). Some clever rejecters designed a plot to trap
Jesus. They tell Him about some Galileans who were killed by Pilate. They expected that Christ’s
patriotism would lead Him to speak a word of condemnation against Pilate and thereby make Him guilty
of sedition. If He said they got what they deserved because of sin, He would appear to be unsympathetic.
To express sympathy for these Galileans would be to speak a word against God, who had brought the
calamity. He dismissed the idea that these died for some sin that brought a special divine judgment.
They were neither less nor more sinners than the rest of the people. Instead, He said to His accusers,
“Unless you repent, you will all perish.

He adds another incident to drive the point home and proceeds to tell a Parable of the Fig Tree, which
explains why that generation was worthy of judgment. A fruitless fig tree is worthless and the only
sensible thing is to cut it down so the land may be used by a tree that will bear fruit. God, the Owner of
the vineyard, had planted Israel as His fruitful tree. Jesus Christ was the Vinedresser. For three years He
had been calling Israel to repentance, but Israel had not repented to bring forth the fruit of righteousness.
Thus, Israel was to be cut off, that is, brought under national judgment (A.D. 70). This did not mean the
termination of God’s program for Israel, but indicated that Israel would be set aside. Through a new
program —the Church—God would produce fruit for His glory.

Israel’s Need (Luke 13:10-17). This is the last recorded incident in a synagogue. Surprisingly, Jesus
found a synagogue where He was still allowed to teach. A woman of sickness caused by a spirit for
eighteen years was present. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are
set free from your infirmity.” This woman graphically portrayed Israel’s condition in the sight of God.
She was bent over and unable to walk erect. He had been calling to the nation, offering to make the
people whole so they could walk uprightly, but they would not come to Him. The synagogue official
became indignant because Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Jesus humiliated His opponents with His wisdom
and the people rejoiced over the glorious things being done by Him.

Few People will be Saved (Luke 13:18-30). This prompts Jesus to tell the Parables of Mustard Seed
and Yeast. It reveals that the opponents of Christ far out number those who in faith receive Jesus as
Messiah.

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