Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 27-29; Luke 13:1-22
13 Some who were present on that occasion told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices. 2 He replied, “Do you think the suffering of these Galileans proves that they were more sinful than all the other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did. 4 What about those eighteen people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think that they were more guilty of wrongdoing than everyone else who lives in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did.” (Luke 13:1-5, Common English Bible).
When I read today’s passage, my first thought went to the idea of free will. Jesus keeps asking if it was because of sin that someone died. Then he quickly, before anyone has the chance to answer, “No I tell you.” Initially, my thought was, “No, they didn’t die because of their sin. It was free will.”
I was wrong. It was a call to repentance. It is a call to repentance. But, though I titled today’s post, “A Call to Repentance,” this is not going to be what you might think. It will not be a hellfire and brimstone saying things like, “REPENT LAST WARNING,” or “REPENT OR PERISH.” While both have Biblical standing and even application to this passage, I also know and believe in Paul’s words, “The greatest of these is love.” To use an old cliche, “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
The word “repent,” we think means confession. It is that, but it is also more. To repent means to confess and turn around. To repent means not only do we confess but we also make a real and lasting change in our lives. If we are committing sin by slandering another person, not only do we confess our sin, that we slandered someone else, we also change our behavior, not only that we will no longer slander that person but that we will not slander others either. I could list sin after sin but it would be my hope that you get the idea.
Do Jesus’ words in our lesson mean if we fail to repent we are bound for hell? My job is not now, nor has it ever been, to determine who gets heaven and who gets hell. No, it isn’t my job. It isn’t the job of any pastor. My job is to proclaim the love of God in Jesus Christ. I know what this text, as well as other texts, say. I get it. But, what I also know is, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I also know that the one who hasn’t committed sin can cast the first stone. These are Biblical ideas just like the message of repentance that is our lesson today. I can’t ignore the other texts in order to uphold this lesson.
All that being said, I know and I do proclaim, for all of us, it is time to repent. When we repent, God who is love, “…will forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved