Luke 13 records an interesting, almost cryptic exchange Jesus had with some followers in Capernaum. We’re not sure exactly who’s present. The Twelve were likely with Him, as they were traveling full-time with Him then. However, Jesus was back at His home base where several of His disciples lived, so some might have been at their own homes or tending to other family obligations.
“And certain ones were present at that time, telling Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices.” Lk 13:1
Evidently, while Jesus had been away from home, Pilate had slaughtered some people from the region. This must have happened around the time of a feast because Luke tells us it happened at a time when the Jews were making sacrifices. The reference to the “mingling of their blood” could mean this actually happened during a Passover, the one feast where blood was most prominent.
[Harmony Note: Cheney references this as an additional Passover reference to substantiate his claims for a 4 year length for Christ’s ministry.]
This was news to Jesus. He was evidently not aware of this event, but He used it nonetheless to teach them the importance of repentance.
Don’t think that these men were more guilty before God than you, and that’s why this happened to them. You’re ALL guilty before God. You must all repent. You must all recognize your sinfulness before God and put your faith in Me as your Messiah, your Savior.
Then to emphasize their need to repent, Jesus told a parable. It too is a bit cryptic. Is there more meaning than meets the eye?
Jesus spoke about a fig tree that was planted and for three years produced no fruit. The owner of the vineyard wanted to cut it down, but the vine-dresser asked for one more year. Then, if it bore no fruit, cut it off!
Jesus was making a point. You need to repent. To that point, their life had not produced fruit. God was being patient with you, but you need to repent. You need to believe in Me, that your life may produce fruit, before you run out of time.
There’s an urgency to the Gospel. Just as those Galileans didn’t know they’d be slaughtered by Pilate, none of us know when our day will come. Today is the day of salvation. As disciples, we need this same urgency with our friends who don’t know Jesus.
Now for the cryptic part. Why does Jesus use the specific time frames that He does? For three years, no fruit. One more year. This could merely be a random choice of numbers to make His point, but Cheney argues that Jesus is saying, “I’ve been with you, ministering and teaching among you for three years now. Still you don’t believe. Still there is no fruit. I will be with you one more year. If you continue in your unbelief, your hearts will harden, your unbelief will become permanent, and you will be cut off from God forever.
They had Jesus with them. They were eyewitnesses to His miracles. They heard Him teach. Yet many of them still didn’t believe. This makes no sense!
Sometimes it makes no sense why those we love and are praying for and sharing the gospel with don’t believe. We must remain faithful, urgent and gracious in sharing the Gospel… and leave the results in God’s hands.
To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit: SONLIFE.COM