Sunday, January 22, 2006

change! - Luke 13:1-9

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about how some Galileans had been put to death by orders from Pilate while they were making their sacrifices. (2) Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans suffered this way because they were worse sinners than any other Galilean? (3) No they were not, but unless you change the direction of your life, you will be killed, too! (4) Or what about those eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty before God than all the other people living in Jerusalem? (5) No, I tell you! But unless you turn back to God, all of you will perish, too.”

(6) Then he laid this story down alongside of those words: “A man went out to look for fruit on a fig tree he had growing in his vineyard; however, he did not find any fruit on it. (7) So he told the vineyard-keeper, ‘Cut this tree down! Why should it keep wasting the ground when I haven’t found any fruit on it in three years?'"

(8) “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. (9) If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” (Luke 13:1-9 DSV)
“Luke 12:54-13:9 ... is a call for conversion in two parts (12:54-59 and 13:1-9). The first part (12:54-59) is a twofold exhortation to interpret the signs of the times properly (vs.54-56) and to respond rightly to the challenge of the moment (vs.57-59). ... The three components of the second part (vs.1-3; vs.4-5; vs.6-9) all focus on a call to repentance. ... Tragedy, says Jesus, is not the measure of one’s sinfulness and of one’s need to repent. ... Tragedy is no sure sign of sinfulness, just as absence of tragedy is no sure sign of righteousness. All alike – those whose lives are tragic and those whose lives are tranquil – are sinners and alike must repent (change directions in life) before God’s judgment does come upon them. The parable of the fruitless fig tree, moreover, sets a limit on the time available for the required repentance. How long does one have? Not long! In sum, Luke 12:54-13:9 says: see the signs of imminent End in Jesus’ ministry; take appropriate action before you appear before the Judge; such action is repentance; do not take too long to do so.” (Charles H. Talbert, Reading Luke, Smith & Helwys, 2002, pp.161-162)