Harmony of the Gospels

(14) Repent or Perish
Luke 13:1-5

1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4 Or 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?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Jesus spoke of a disaster in Jerusalem that killed 18 people when a tower collapsed.  The location of the tower at Siloam is unknown, although it may have been part of Jerusalem’s wall near the pool of Siloam.  Jesus also mentioned a group of Galilean men who were killed by Pilate’s soldiers.  It is probable that they were themselves killing their sacrifices (which was allowed, for they said that the priest’s work began with the sprinkling of the blood).  It is likely that Pilate’s officers came upon them by surprise, just at the time when they were off their guard and murdered them, and so it was said that they mingled the blood of the sacrificers with the blood of the sacrifices.  It is a bit of irony that Christ was now going up to Jerusalem, to be delivered into the hands of Pilate, and to have his blood, not mingled with his sacrifice, but itself made a sacrifice.

The victims of Pilate and the men who were killed when the tower fell did not die due to God’s judgment.  God does nothing out of spite.  But Christ was telling the religious crowd of His day that unless they repented, they would also perish.  Christ’s answer suggests that those who told him of these tragedies believed that, although Pilate was unjust in killing them, yet without doubt they were secretly bad men, otherwise God would not have permitted Pilate to kill them.

This passage has several excellent lessons for us.  The first one teaches us that when some Christian has trouble beyond the average amount (and many do), we are not to interpret it to mean that he is a greater sinner than others.  Trouble does not always come to a person because of his sins. It would be a good idea to remember this rule: “We cannot judge men’s sins by their sufferings in this world; for many are thrown into the furnace as gold to be purified, not as dross and chaff to be consumed.”  We have enough to do to judge ourselves.  Jesus’ point was that extreme sinfulness is not demonstrated by whether or not someone is tragically killed.  Ultimate deliverance from destruction is accomplished when a person has truly repented and entered God’s kingdom. 

The other side of the coin is that just becoming a Christian does not automatically inoculate you against trouble.  You will miss the Great tribulation, but you will not miss the little tribulations if you are a Christian.  You are going to have a little of it right down here.

Another thing we should see is that when trouble comes to someone else and not to you, it does not indicate you are superior to that individual.  Perhaps God is permitting you to see the other fellow’s trouble in order to bring you to Him.  How easy it is to ask questions about others’ tragedies and fail to learn the lessons they teach!  The big question is not “Why do people die in tragic and seemingly meaningless ways?” but “Why does God keep me alive?”  Am I really worth it?  Am I bearing fruit or just taking up space?

This passage intimates (1.) that we all deserve to perish as much as they did, (2.) and had we been dealt with according to our sins, our blood would have been mingled with our sacrifices long ago, by the justice of God.(3.) That repentance is the way to escape perishing, and it is a sure way: so iniquity will not be your ruin, but salvation is available upon no other terms. (4.) That, if we do not repent, we will certainly perish, as others have done before us.

Jesus Christ must have held the people's attention on this day, because he spoke about something that was in the news, and being discussed by many in the crowd; we also must listen to Him, because unless we repent, we shall perish eternally, as they perished out of this world. The same Jesus that calls for us to repent because the kingdom of heaven is at hand, bids us repent because otherwise we shall perish; so that he has set before us life and death, good and evil, and He asks us to make our choice.


Your questions and comments are welcomed!

 There are 5 websites by this author:

http://harmonyofthegospels.yolasite.com (Life of Christ)

http://teachingsermonsforpastorsandlaymen.yolasite.com (sermons)

http://theepistlesofpaul.yolasite.com (Titus and Jude)

http://paulsepistletotheromans.yolasite.com (Romans)

http://theperiodofthejudges.yolasite.com (Judges)

Please review them and use them as the Lord leads you.

May God bless His precious word!!

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