“Jesus, did you hear about the 14 young hockey players who died in the bus crash in Canada, or the 56 murders this year in London? Were they worse sinners than others because of what happened to them?” No, Jesus answers, and unless you repent you will perish. People came to Jesus with a concern or theological problem and Jesus turned to them. When presented with a problem, Jesus deals with a person.
Verse 5 is the key sentence “No I tell you, but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Let’s look at three key words in that key sentence…
All – It was horrible what Pilate did – mixing people’s blood with sacrifices. It would be like someone coming on Sunday and slitting some throats and adding the blood to the communion juice. It doesn’t bear thinking about. They were asking if that sin was extraordinarily horrible – Jesus’ answer is no, it’s ordinarily horrible like all sin. All sin is horrible. Romans 3:10 tells us that “None is righteous, no, not one.”
Likewise – without repentance we will all perish.
Perish – Jesus tells us if we believe we shall not perish, so perishing must be something more than physical death. Perishing is eternal punishment (Matt 25:46) that’s how serious sin is.
Why a parable about fig trees comes next
Repentance, turning in our thinking towards Jesus, leads to us bearing fruit. If we are not bearing any fruit, we haven’t turned to God. Jesus lets them know repenting leads to fruit and because we are in an age of grace there is time to start bearing fruit. It takes a while to process truth and change. So the parable talks of fertilising the fig tree with manure – here that means spending time with the Lord in prayer and the Word and being filled with the Spirit. The warning is that there will be a time of cutting the unfruitful tree down.
The healing of the woman on a Sabbath day.
Jesus was teaching in the synagogue that day. He now gives a practical lesson on what is holy on a sabbath day – healing a dear lady. The teachers are indignant, so Jesus makes a point of calling her a daughter of Abraham. Showing her dignity as a co-heir of the promises. Imagine this lady has been bent over for 18 years, in pain, people staring, laughing, kids making fun. She can’t look anyone in the eye. She can’t have normal sexual relations with her husband.
Jesus is challenging us about how we look at people? Do we look with the same eyes that He does? Do we look at people as sons and daughters, in the image of God with a destiny they need to hear and experience?
The mustard seed
If we do look at people the way Jesus does and bring the kingdom’s power and rule and reign to them, blessing them with the gospel and healing and destiny, we will see the kingdom grow. It’ll grow just like a tiny seed can grow into a bush or just as yeast works unseen through dough, causing it to rise and double in size.
It’ll be surprising who will get in.
Don’t forget Jesus is walking through a Jewish area on His way to Jerusalem.
The Jews will have some surprise as to who will get in to the kingdom – not just that dear hunched over lady, but Gentiles too. And some who you expect to be last will turn out to be first.