Lessons in Lent- Not Condemnation but Redemption.

LUKE 13:1-9. 

Immediately prior to our Gospel lesson, Jesus warned that he came not to bring peace, but division. He also warned the crowds that, while they knew how to read the sky for signs of impending weather, they did not know “interpret this time” 

Immediately after our Gospel lesson, a synagogue leader will criticize Jesus for healing on the sabbath, and Jesus will put him to shame, be reminding them that they killed the prophets.

 TWO STORIES AND A PARABLE

Luke gives us a couple of stories that call us to repentance and a parable that illustrates the patience and love of God.  Both stories call for repentance.  The story of the Galileans warns of the coming judgment—“unless you repent, you will all perish”.  The fig-tree parable offers hope that the Lord will defer judgment to another day.

Some scholars see the stories as calling for response by individuals and the parable as calling for response by the nation and its leaders—scribes, Pharisees, and the like.

LUKE 13:1-5.  UNLESS YOU REPENT, YOU WILL ALL PERISH

1Now there were some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way. 4Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.”

“Now there was some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices” (v. 1). The news is indeed terrible. Galileans came to the temple to make their sacrifices, and Pilate’s soldiers slaughtered them in that holy place—profaned the altar with human blood—compounded murder with sacrilege.

Imagine murder in your church on Sunday morning. Imagine the carpet soaked with human blood mingled with communion wine – yuk!

Pilate Got the Sack

The incident that led to Pilate’s removal from office had to do with the slaughter by Pilate’s soldiers of Samaritans who had gathered on Mount Gerizim to see if one of their prophets could locate temple vessels that were supposed to be buried there.

Pilate’s superiors ordered Pilate to return to Rome to answer charges that arose from that incident. We know little about the outcome of that inquiry or Pilate’s later life.

Jesus, however, responds in a completely unexpected way, saying, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered such things?” (v. 2). He addresses the unspoken assumption that these Galileans sinned grievously, provoking God’s judgment. Indeed, in Israel’s mind, sin and judgment are closely linked.

It is weirdly comforting to believe that suffering is the direct result of sin because it eliminates randomness—explains suffering—offers us a way to avoid the disasters that we see befalling others-

 – but is that the correct way to look at it? I don’t think it’s so dualist as this, after all. We know that Bad things do happen to good people.

The text continues “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way” (v. 3). Jesus denies that the Galileans suffered because of their sins but calls his listeners to repent lest they suffer for theirs

– now that’s reasonable!

Redemption-(Bringing you back into the love of God)

What happened to the Galileans is history, and nothing can be done about it. The fate of Jesus’ listeners, however, is still negotiable. Jesus does not condemn them but instead shows them the way. His purpose is to redeem.

While not all tragedy is the result of sin, sin sometimes leads to tragedy. Jesus’ listeners have sinned (as we all have), and he calls them to repent so that they might escape possible disaster. This is a courageous response indeed.

We live in a time of victim-culture where people become self-righteous and resistant to a different world view, correction or criticism.

The Jewish leaders saw themselves as victims of Jesus’ preaching. By calling for repentance, Jesus appears unsympathetic to the national cause—uncaring about Roman cruelties. In Nazareth, townspeople tried to kill Jesus when he spoke well of Gentiles (4:16-30). The same could easily have happened on this occasion.

“Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem?” (v. 4). The pool of Siloam is in Jerusalem (John 8:20; 9:7) and, presumably, the tower of Siloam was near the pool. The issue is the same as in the first instance: Did God target these eighteen because of their sins? Jesus moves the sin/suffering debate from the context of suffering at Roman hands to suffering at God’s hands—from a massacre to an “act of God.”

“I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way” (v. 5). This is the same response that Jesus gave to the first story. Jesus denies that the eighteen were worse offenders than others but uses the opportunity to call his listeners to repentance.

 Again, his purpose is not condemnation but redemption. The call to repentance shows that it is not too late for his listeners. Salvation is still possible.

By the time Luke writes this Gospel, Rome will have destroyed Jerusalem. For Luke, there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the city’s sin and its fate.

Repentance is a major emphasis in this Gospel, it’s not a demand but instead offers an unconditional promise of salvation.  If they don’t repent, they will perish, but if they do repent, God will forgive—will save them -simple!

Live Every Day in an Attitude of Repentance

We often wonder what a truly successful life looks like. I think one of the keys to success is repentance.

We need to live lives of repentance because we don’t know what the day or tomorrow will hold for us.

Repentance helps us to live happy lives and to experience a happy death.

Repentance helps us to live as forgiven people—helps us to face life and death without fear.

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Bye for now- and remember live life in Hope, Faith & Love!

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Paula Xx

😀So many people want their faith and church to grow. The problem is to figure out where to begin. This site is about helping people do just that. It’s for anyone who feels stuck in their faith and longs for a breakthrough. It’s for people who are exploring Christianity and want to know what it’s all about – apart from what they see in the media. If that’s you – please consider subscribing.

Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA

Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse The University of Derby, UK.

BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK

A life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.

 Paula Rose Parish is an author, and the founder, of Hope. Faith. Love. She studied at the University of Derby and received a Master of Arts in Counselling in Professional Development. Over the years Paula Rose has served as a pastor, chaplain, counsellor, coach and taught at Christian university, led workshops and retreats, and spoken worldwide on Christian spirituality. Author of over 100 articles and two books, Paula Rose continues to write on the spiritual life. Paula Rose is adding a string to her bow and is presently reading Health and Wellness. She has four grown children, five grandchildren, and lives in South Wales, UK.

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Paula Rose is a Wellness Coach Ordained Minister, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling. and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.

Paula is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals

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Why was Jesus Baptised?



St. Patrick baptized King Aengus by full immersion in the Fifth Century AD. During the baptismal ceremony, (so the story goes) St. Patrick leaned on his sharp-pointed staff and inadvertently stabbed the king’s foot.

After the baptism was over, St. Patrick looked down at all the blood, realized what he had done, and begged the king’s forgiveness.

“Why did you suffer this pain in silence,” St Patrick asked.

The king replied, “I thought it was part of the ritual.” !

The story may make us chuckle, but there may be more truth in that than meets the eye. The Baptism of Jesus is one of the events that all three of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) describe and so was obviously an event that the early Church saw as of great importance.

St. Mark’s Gospel gives us the briefest details. Surprising the historian St. Luke doesn’t give us much more, but St. Matthew fills out the story a little bit more:

(Mt. 3:13-17). Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.


The story is well known. John the Baptist has been summoning people everywhere to repent and Jesus, amongst others, responds by being baptized. 

But have you ever wondered,

              Why did Jesus need to be baptized?”

Does Jesus, the incarnate Son of God need to repent? Well before I am accused of heresy let me say no I don’t think Jesus needed to repent.

But I do think that St. Matthew’s account gives us a clue why Jesus was baptized. In that account, we read that John the Baptist at first refused to baptize him, because John felt unworthy. However, Jesus said:

“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

What did Jesus mean? I think theologian Michael Green hit the nail on the head when he said: “By submitting to baptism, Jesus acknowledged God’s claim on him, as on others, for total consecration of life and holiness of character” (The Message of Matthew – Michael Green p. 80).

This makes sense. I believe there are three reasons that Jesus was baptized.

1. The first reason that I believe Jesus was baptized is that Jesus’ baptism was a manifestation (epiphany) of his Godhood. This was shown when the Spirit of God manifested to Jesus and declared his sonship.


For everyone else who came to John for baptism, it was required of them, a change in direction in their lifestyle– hence the call for them to repent of their old ways and to turn to God’s way of life. 

But for Jesus baptism was also a public declaration of his love of God the Father and to acknowledge that he was following the will of God in His life.

And you will recall Jesus words in the garden of Gethsemane when he knew that he was going to die on the Cross, he prayed:
Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42) 

It was the ultimate submission to the Father’s will – to go to the cross for our sakes – to reconcile us to the Father. But following the Father’s will was going to be a painful experience.

Jesus’ baptism was a public declaration of his commitment to the Father. But Jesus baptism was more:

2. The second reason that I think Jesus was baptized was it announced the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Both John the Baptist and God the Father both confirmed Jesus’ unique calling publicly. Jesus’ baptism was a consecration for ministry. Perhaps you will remember the Father saying something similar at the mount of Transfiguration.

(Mk 9:7) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

3. The third reason that I think Jesus was baptized was as an example to us.

Jesus taught his followers to be baptized – and here he is giving a firm lead. His baptism was an example that we will do well to follow.

The Great Commission in Mt 28 reads as follows: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name Father Son and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you “(Mt. 28:19-20)

And we see God the Father’s response: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.”

I think this is the nugget that we do well to apply to our own lives is that we should live so that the Father is pleased with us. For when God is pleased, nothing else matters- or does it?

It reminds me of a story that Jonathan Goforth (1859-1936) the great Canadian missionary in China, used to tell the story about his
 father who put him in charge of one of the family’s many farms. He drew special attention to one very large field, which had become choked with weeds. His father told Jonathan “Get that field clear and ready for planting. Then at harvest time, I’ll return and inspect it.”

Jonathan put a lot of time in plowing and reploughing, sunning the deadly roots and plowing again until the whole field was ready for seeding. He then went and procured the best seed for sowing. 

When all was finished, Jonathan invited his father over to inspect the field. When his father arrived, Jonathan led him to a high spot from which the whole field of beautiful waving corn could be seen. Jonathan didn’t say a word – he only waited for the words.. ” Well Done”.

His father stood for several minutes silently examining the field for any sign of weeds, but there were none. Turning to his son, he just smiled. Johnathan Goforth said that smile was all the reward I wanted. Goforth used to say “I knew my father was pleased. So, it will be if we are faithful to the trust our heavenly father”.

Can you relate to Johnathan Goforth in some way? If so – leave a comment- I  would love to hear from you!

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful.

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Remember to Live Life on Purpose in Hope, Faith & Love,

Virtual hugs,💕

I look forward to your visit to my next blog post.

Here at Hope- Faith – Love we talk about our Faith in Jesus Christ and how our faith benefits the health of our Mind, Body, and Soul.

😀So many people want their faith and church to grow. The problem is to figure out where to begin. This site is about helping people do just that. It’s for anyone who feels stuck in their faith and longs for a breakthrough. It’s for people who are exploring Christianity and want to know what it’s all about – apart from what they see in the media. If that’s you – please consider subscribing.

Subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL, it’s free!

Paula is an Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.

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Jonah and Me

 

Jonah and the whale is a strange- tale indeed. It has mostly been relegated to the category of myth were exciting children books emerge from. You know the story well, so I won’t elaborate here.

But Jonah is an important story for us to understand. Why? Because it is all about You and Me. It’s about how we behave towards God and to those around us. And of course, we would never have such a dramatic experience as Jonah, but each of us has our fair share of times when we run away from Gods love and presence and find ourselves in some sticky situation. We can break fellowship with God, but we can never break our relationship- he is our Father and therefore,  he will never give up on us, but always draws us back to himself. So, Jonah has much to teach us.

The prince of preachers Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said: what is the use of grace which I profess to have received which leaves me exactly the same sort of person as I was before I received it? A faith that does not lead to a drastic change of behaviour, will never lead to a change of destiny.

Jonah had to be brought down to the depths to understand the love, holiness and grace of God and how much he values others even when they were immoral, for his destiny to change and that of others. And God wanted Jonah to value the sinful folk of Nineveh, by warning them of impending doom, so they could be saved. How wonderful the grace of God!

Jonah’s’ behaviour was unkind, judgemental and selfish and did not match the behaviour of his benevolent God.  So, God in his mercy brought Jonah back to into fellowship to himself using adverse circumstances.

I am awaiting a knee replacement and having cortisone injections under my knee cap to reduce swelling and pain. Years as a sportswoman is now catching up with me. I morn at times for the freedom in mobility I once had, however, I have and still learning lessons about God and myself due to my malaise. And I have to say, I am glad that when I wake up each day and journey through my day that I call out to God through Christ to help me get through it according to his will. And you know what? -he does, the power of the Spirit is there. My adverse situation has made me realise things about myself that I would have never encountered had my knee and shoulder (and feet) been whole. Its all about behaviour. The children of God will reflect the nature of their Father. And adverse situations, if we allow them, will do just that.

If you are struggling with your faith or a difficult situation, and you would like support and prayer, please contact on at me and we will chat over a coffee.

In the meantime, avoid whales!

God bless,

Rev Paula