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Week:09, Season:1, 2016 Posted on Saturday by PCT

Seize the Chance to Repent

Scripture:Luke 13: 1-9

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’ 6 Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” 8 ‘“Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’

We all have chance to repent

Repentance is one of the core topics in Luke’s Gospel. Compared with other three Gospel books, the Gospel of Luke mentions repent more frequently and coherently throughout the whole book. Jesus gave his commends to his disciples to preach “the repentance for the forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” when he showed himself as the risen Christ before his disciples. (Luke 24:47)

The content discussed in today’s scripture, Luke 13:1-9, is repentance. The author of Luke’s Gospel arranged his writing sequence in chapter 12: 57-59 to Jesus’ trial at the high priest’s court which is immediately followed by the message of repentance in chapter 13: 1-5. Then the author drew focus on the patience of God in 13: 6-9 by telling the parable of the fig tree which does not bear fruit.

Such a sequence reflects Luke’s writing style in which he aimed to present the most significant message in Luke’s Gospel, repentance, through cross-referencing between chapters. So when reading chapter 12, verse 57 to chapter 13 verse 9, it reminds us that although God is the judge of all the things we do, he also provide us with chances to repent of our wrong doings.

In the writing of the author of Luke’s Gospel, he not only focuses on emphasising the grace of God yet he did not neglect the theme of God’s authority either. He mentioned both the grace and punishment of God which tells us that both the grace and authority of God are equally important for all Christians.

It is not the sin causes tragedy

In the Bible passage above, from verses 1-5 and 6-9, there are two relevant stories. In verses 1-5, someone mentioned two tragedies to Jesus: first, some Galileans were killed by Pilate and their blood was mixed with their sacrifices. The cause of the death of these Galileans was not their carelessness nor they had broken the law. Their death was arranged by Pilate.

We might wonder why this tragedy happened. We even might ask, “Was God’s punishment to these Galileans due to their evil-doings so that they were killed by Pilate?” Those who have faith often question “why” when tragedy happens; they often seek to find a reasonable or satisfactory explanation.

Jesus did not explain the causes of these tragedies; he directly indicated to the crowds not to consider that the death of these Galileans was because they were worse sinners than all the other Galileans. Jesus therefore warned all Galileans, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish (verse 3).”

Jesus then mentioned the second tragedy of the collapse of the tower in Siloam which caused eighteen people to die. Those who died not because of someone’s evil plan but were victims of an accident. They might just have been standing at the wrong place at the wrong time. So when the tower in Siloam fell, it fell on them.

Jesus reminded all the crowds not to consider that those eighteen who died were guiltier than all the others living in Jerusalem. Jesus repeated the word in verse 3 again, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish (verse 5).” Jesus urged people to repent and seize the chance of being forgiven by God.

There is one point which makes these two tragedies similar: they were both unexpected incidences which caused tremendous damage. Before the Galileans were sacrificed to God, they did not receive any warning about Pilate’s plan to put them to death. The eighteen people who were killed at the incident of the tower in Siloam did not receive any warning before it happened. What a pity that they did not even get the chance to repent to God before they died!

Seize the chance to repent

Then, Jesus told a parable: The owner of the vineyard had a fig tree growing in his vineyard for three years. It came to the time when this fig tree should have had fruit already, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So the owner said to the man who took care of the vineyard to cut this fig tree down as it had wasted the soil. However, the man replied and requested the owner to leave the fig tree alone for one more year and see. The man promised that if the fig tree bore no fruit next year, then he would l cut it down.

Here we see that the owner showed his generosity and patience; he accepted the vineyard keeper’s request. The owner is like our loving God who always has mercy on our weakness. However, we should be aware that the vineyard owner’s tolerance was not forever without a deadline. The owner gave the fig tree one more year, and it would not be extended.

The merciful God cares for our weakness but his waiting and tolerance on our sinful ways will not be forever either. He has his own time. So we should seize every opportunity to seek him for this is urgent and vital. Cherish the moment when we can still repent and be reconciled with God. Let each of us seize the chance to repent before it is too late. Repent! Cherish! While you and I still can!

For discussion:

1. Are you willing to be reconciled to God? Is there anything in your mind hindering your way to seek God? Is there anything hindering your way to repent?
2. Please share your recent experience of disobeying God. How did you feel about it? How did you repent of it to God and seek reconciliation?

Please pray for:

1. The Holy Spirit’s work at church. May he keep a true and honest relationship between all church brothers and sisters and God so they can all live with God’s reconciliation and peace.
2. That through today’s Bible study, we can once again remind ourselves that disobeying God means severance from him. May this Bible passage help us to rely on God’s mercy and grace, to love God and love our neighbours as we love ourselves.


Merciful and graceful Lord, we often disobey your word and make you worried without knowing it. Through your abundant mercy and love, you forgive our sin and weakness. May your Holy Spirit and Holy words often encourage us. Keep our minds sensitive to your will and to know our own limits. Give us the power to be brave to repent, whenever we do wrong so we can repent and be reconciled with you again. In the name of Christ. Amen.

Something you can do:

1. During Lent, encourage church brothers and sisters to spend time meditating on today’s Bible passage. Encourage each other to spend more time praying to God and reflecting on our relationship with Him.
2. All churches should encourage church members to confess their sins and repent to God for each of our wrong doings. Seek reconciliation with God with an honest and humble attitude.