Read: Luke 13v1–9
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
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? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
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. 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?’
“ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”
Meditate: These are some of the most ferocious words Jesus is recorded as having spoken. Two horrendous incidents - one, a case of Roman brutality and state-sponsored terrorism; the other, a terrible disaster with people killed by a falling building. You would expect Jesus to be sympathetic. What does he mean?
Jesus has been talking all along about turning the world upside down and that he has come to rescue God’s people. But he has also said there will be many who won’t want to be rescued. Jesus is never vindictive or hostile. He doesn’t want to see people’s lives destroyed. He is acting like a firefighter trying to wake up people who are deep in sleep within a burning building. Jesus isn’t being unsympathetic. It’s the kindest thing he could do.
Pray: This excerpt from the Book of Common Prayer
O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy upon us.
O God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the faithful, Have mercy upon us.
O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God, Have mercy upon us.
Remember not, Lord Christ, our offenses, nor the offenses of our forefathers; neither reward us according to our sins. Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and by thy mercy preserve us, for ever. Spare us, good Lord.
Engage: Don’t use any sarcasm today.