Luke 13:1 ¶ There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
Luke 13:2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?
Luke 13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Luke 13:4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?
Luke 13:5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Luke 13:6 ¶ And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.
Luke 13:7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’
Luke 13:8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.
Luke 13:9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
This is the only time of the year where we explicitly talk about people being “naughty or nice” and getting real-life retribution or reward for doing so. But not really. Even if we mess with that one brat of a kid we have and give them coal, it’s still chocolate coal.
Even those of us that pride ourselves on not giving into prosperity theology struggle a little bit when bad things happen to people. “Oooh” we might think for a second. “I bet that happened because he did this or that bad thing.” As if God is still pouring out His wrath like He did in the book of Numbers. Except today it’s a job loss or cancer instead of the Earth opening up and swallowing 18,000 people.
The thing is, Jesus makes it a little too clear here. If insta-wrath were a thing, we’d all be dead!
God is working with us like a stubborn fig tree. Honestly, that sucker should have been cut down 2 years ago — but no. God’s at work. God is working on our souls and the behaviors that overflow out of them. He’s not tsk tsk tsking at us when something bad happens and shaking His head.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
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