Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 13:3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Today, we will be looking at the importance of repentance. Starting in verse 1 we read, “Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.” Luke 13:1. During Jesus’s teaching found in chapter 12, some came to Jesus to tell Him of a horrendous event that happened to some Jews from Galilee. There is no record of this event in secular history, however there is an incident like it from before Jesus’ ministry. Pilate wanted to build an aqueduct from the Pools of Solomon to the city of Jerusalem. To pay for it, he demanded money from the temple treasury, money that had been dedicated to God – and this outraged the priests and the people. When the Jews sent a delegation to beg for their money back, Pilate sent into the crowd soldiers dressed as common people, and at a certain signal they took out daggers and attacked the people asking for the money. Now, this may not have been the same incident, however it does show how Rome, and particularly Pilate, pictured the Jews and did what they could to force obedience from them. The phrase, ‘whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices’ speaks of how the blood of those killed mixed with the blood of the sacrifice itself.
Now, it appears that Jesus read into their story the idea of self-justification, rooted in the common notion back then that disaster falls on them who deserve it. Basically if a person sins, something bad will happen to them. Jesus turns this around and asks them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this fate? “ Luke 13:2. Jesus turned the theological issue around. Is this punishment for sin? Do persecution and death prove the victim to be a greater sinner than those who do not suffer? Jesus, one who was looking suffering square in the face as he marched to Jerusalem denied such a theological outrage. He reminded them that everyone has sinned. Paul put it this way, “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:21-23.
Jesus then answers the question Himself, in our focus verse. “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3. Jesus was countering their belief by saying apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.
Jesus then asks them a question to enforce His thought. “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:4-5. Jesus added his own illustration. He takes another recent tragedy down at the corner of the south and east walls of Jerusalem at the water reservoir called Siloam. Eighteen people died in an accident on the tower there. Were these the worst sinners in Jerusalem, punished for their horrible sin? He then repeats our focus verse. “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5. He in essence told them, you all must repent or perish. Jesus’ warning that they must repent or perish had an immediate, chilling fulfillment. Within a generation, many citizens of Jerusalem who had not repented and turned to Jesus perished in the destruction of Jerusalem.
We must be careful that we do not fall into this trap ourselves. It is not our place to look at others and compare their life to ours, looking to place ourselves as more righteous than they are. We are called to go out and help lead the lost to Christ, and to disciple Christians to live a life that is pleasing to God. It is not to put ourselves above everyone else. Paul put it this way. “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3. No one is saved by their own good works, but by the grace given us by Christ. We have all sinned, therefore we all need to repent. For if we do not truly repent, we will perish.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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