Challenge: read all of Luke 13
Chapter 13 is truly a gut-wrenching collection of snippets from Jesus’ life at this time. Read it slowly. Ingest it slowly. Try to understand what He was saying in each of these scenarios.
Jesus spoke of Galilaeans and those killed in the fall of the tower of Siloam. Their sins had been great, but Jesus reminded his hearers that, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (verses 3 & 5).
No one gets a free pass just because someone was a bigger sinner than they were. In essence, Jesus was saying, “Worry about yourself, and your own sin. Because that’s plenty and more than enough to have you thrust out of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
We can’t be responsible for another, and we cannot be saved because we’re only half as bad, or a third as bad, or even a fraction as bad.
ONE person and ONE person alone will pay for my sins… and that is ME.
Bear Fruit and Live!
In Jesus’ parable of the fig tree, the vineyard owner was tired of the tree that seemed to be there for nothing except siphoning off the good of the ground it was planted in. In fact, he told the vineyard dresser to cut it down.
The vineyard dresser, much like our Pastors… our shepherd… asked for mercy on the tree. He promised to work a little more to attempt to cause the tree to bear fruit. If, after that, it didn’t, he would then cut it down.
Aren’t We Worth More Than Cattle?
For 18 long years, the woman who came to the synagogue that day had suffered. Bent and most likely mourning in her illness, Jesus saw her, called her out, and loosed her from her affliction.
Glory to God! She was made straight!
And the synagogue ruler answer with indignation, the Bible says. Great displeasure. He said that no work should be done on the sabbath. Jesus reminded him that every one of them loosed their animals to allow them to drink. Wasn’t this woman at least worth that much? After all she had been through?
The Strait Gate
When Jesus was asked if there would only be a few that would be saved, Jesus told the story of the strait gate. I wrote about it at length on my home blog, Words From the Wheel. You can read that in its entirety HERE.
After explaining that there would be many cast out, who would see the ones who DID make it into the Kingdom, He gave a speech that I’m sure must have come from the depths of His heart.
Read verses 32 through 35, and you can almost hear his tears falling…
Jesus didn’t make His appearance on this earth to leave it in the same sad shape it was in when He arrived.
He wants us to know that we have to repent, no matter how we measure ourselves.
He wants us to know how important it is that we bear fruit for the Kingdom.
He wants us to know there is healing, and that’s it’s okay to do good, no matter who says the timing is wrong.
And He wants us to know that if we’re not careful, we could miss it.
Don’t miss it!
The greatest Christmas gift of all came to us in a manger, underneath a star that announced His arrival. Rejoice! For the Kingdom of Heaven is come nigh unto you!