A Call to Repentance:
(Read Luke 13: 1-17)
Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some Galileans whose blood he had mingled with their sacrifice. Jesus said that they were not worse sinner than other people from Galilee. He then spoke about the necessity of repentance. The gospel calls for repentance. It is the path through which we receive forgiveness of sins. Jesus said that “Unless you repent, you will also perish”. In the parable of the barren fig tree, Jesus illustrates that God is patient toward sinners. This parable is found only in the Luke's gospel and the fig tree may be a picture of Israel. Even though Lord was merciful to Israel, they did not produce fruit. God gave them enough time to repent of their sin and receive Jesus. A repentant heart will hate sins and show love toward God. The religious leaders criticized Jesus for healing a woman on Sabbath. She had been crippled for eighteen years. Jesus laid his hands on her and immediately she was made straight. She glorified God. Jesus rebuked the ruler of synagogue for his hypocritical criticism. People rejoiced at the gracious works that were done by Jesus. The Sabbath was not given to prevent the works of mercy. Christians should live a lifestyle of repentance by turning away from sin and embracing Christ’s mercy. Pray that God would help you to live a life of true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
The Illustration about the Kingdom of God:
(Read Luke 13:18-35)
Jesus compared the kingdom of God to mustard seed and yeast. Both of them are insignificant in appearance by the world’s standards. But they have profound effect. When the gospel is received, the Holy Spirit is bringing human hearts under the reign of Jesus. The transformed lives of Christians may not seem very impressive right now. But someday in the kingdom of God they will make an unshakable impression. The birds that sat in the branches may refer to evil and the false doctrines in the church today. Jesus said “Strive to enter the Kingdom of God through the narrow door. For many will seek to enter and will not be able”. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus warned against religious presumption. Death ends man’s opportunity for salvation (Heb 9:27). The kingdom of God also may refer to the Millennial kingdom when the Old Testament saints join Christ and the redeemed of all ages (Rev 20:1-6). The people coming from four corners may refer to the entire makeup of the kingdom of God. Some who are marginalized and despised now will be greatly honored then. Jesus grieved over Jerusalem’s coming destruction. Jesus also recognized Israel’s blessed future when it receives their Messiah by saying “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. For now, God’s kingdom consists of those who are saved through the gospel (Rom 14:17). Do not be discouraged if Christ and the gospel are not appreciated in the world today. Pray for the coming of Christ when all the world will be transformed. For now, God's kingdom does not consist in the transformation of society but rather in the transformation of hearts through the gospel.