Third Sunday in Lent (Mar 24th)

Pastor's Summary of Luke 13:1-9

Jesus has said that he will return to judge humankind at an unexpected time. Those who know of Christ's coming and use what God gives wisely will be rewarded with God's abundance. Those who know but do not prepare will be condemned. Those who do not know and behave wantonly will be lightly reprimanded (12:35-48). It was commonly believed that pain and premature death were signs of God's adverse judgement. Now we read of two events where people died prematurely and unexpectedly: one group ("the Galileans", v. 1) doing God's will, killed intentionally as they sacrifice to him in the Temple; the other group (:those eighteen"), v. 4, possibly construction workers) killed accidently. In both cases, Jesus says, there is no link between early death and sin; however, these death do show the fate of those who fail to "repent" (vv. 3, 5), to turn to God.

In the parable (v. 6-9), Jesus elaborates on his call for repentance. (The fig tree symbolizes some Jews, possibly the religious leaders.)  Jesus expects those who hear him to bear fruit (v. 9), to do his will. If they do not do so immediately, God in his mercy gives them some extra time ("one more year", v. 8) to do so. If they still fail to do so, they will be destroyed . In Matthew 3:10, Jesus speaks of such a tree being "cut down and thrown into the fire". So the persihing (vv. 3,5) is spiritual, at the end of the age.