Thursday, February 11, 2021

2021.02.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 13:1–9

Read Luke 13:1–9

Questions from the Scripture text: What did some people tell Jesus about in Luke 13:1? What does Jesus recognize that these people had concluded about those who died (Luke 13:2)? What does Jesus say should have, instead, been their conclusion (Luke 13:3)? Concerning what other event does Jesus challenge them concerning their conclusions (Luke 13:4)? What same conclusion does He teach them to draw in Luke 13:5? To what does Jesus compare an unrepentant person in Luke 13:6? What does the property owner say to do with the fruitless tree in Luke 13:7? What does the caretaker say that He will do first in Luke 13:8? What will be done if it still bears no fruit (Luke 13:9)?

How should we respond to plagues? Government oppression? Economic disaster? Or other calamities?

It seems, from Jesus’s question in Luke 13:2 that they assumed that what had happened to the Galileans was punishment for some specific sin of theirs. And we know that in both the Old and New Testaments, the Lord did threaten and carry out particular punishments upon His people at particular times. So, maybe we have wondered if when something hard comes upon us, whether that’s a particular quid pro quo for a particular sin.

But unless the Lord has threatened something particularly, we do not have good ground to assume a direct relationship. There are many reasons that believers suffer, including to increase God’s wrath against their enemies, to have fellowship with Christ, to know their own weakness, to be sanctified and prepared for glory, and even just to glorify God.

But there is one thing that we must always do, with any kind of calamity: remember God’s wrath, repent of our sin, and cling to Jesus Christ. By introducing the second calamity (Luke 13:4), and saying the same thing about it (Luke 13:3Luke 13:5), the Lord Jesus makes clear that this is an all-purpose application. “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus says that what we are to see is that God is very angry with sin. Look what sin has brought! And this is just the slightest display of it. Sin doesn’t just deserve for us to be slaughtered by Roman provincial governors or have towers fall upon us. It deserves the unquenchable flame of the lake of fire, together with undying worms that consume us from the inside out forever. Every calamity is a reminder of this.

But we are also to see that glorious word, “unless.” That the Lord is patiently calling us unto repentance. He is giving us opportunity to believe. And He is grabbing our attention and stimulating us to cling to Christ and bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Calamities, says our Lord, function like the Lord digging down around us and fertilizing us to produce fruit. He is patiently provoking us to repentance. The question, then, is what will He find this effort has produced?

Of what do you personally need to repent? Of what your family? Of what your church? Of what your country?

Suggested Songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH340 “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood”

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