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Be Reconciled to God

Read: Luke 13:1-5; Luke 18:9-14


I love how each of the gospels has a slightly different emphasis. Many of the stories appear in more than one of the accounts, but often the details are different so that putting them together gives us a richer picture of the incident that is being highlighted. Matthew and Mark's accounts are quite similar, while both John and Luke tend to share additional incidents from Jesus' life. It is a short vignette from Luke's gospel that I would like to look into today.


We find it in Luke 13:1-5. It is in these verses that we discover that people were talking with Jesus about a brutal act that had occurred. Evidently Pilate had gone into the temple courts and killed some who were offering their sacrifices. Perhaps these were followers of Judas of Galilee who is mentioned in Acts 5:37. Just like in our time, when a brutal act occurred, people often gathered around to discuss it. Jesus' response was right to the point. They hadn't died because they were more notorious sinners than anyone else. The people in Jesus' time often equated suffering with bad things that happened in Life, John 9:2. Jesus quickly put an end to those thoughts. He used this violent act committed by Pilate as a reminder that death can come without warning. The Savior also spoke of a tower that had unexpectedly fallen that had killed 18 people to make that same point. The people who heard Jesus that day were reminded of a straight forward and precious truth. Life was uncertain; therefore, repentance was of the utmost importance.


Before going on any further, it is important to remember that Jesus' response isn't due to a lack of compassion for the loved ones of anyone who died in both of the incidents mentioned in Luke 13. When we look at other incidents from His life here on earth, we become aware of His compassion as He observed the crowds who were like helpless wounded sheep who had no shepherd to care for them, Matthew 9:35-38. His heart went out to the widow whose only son had died, Luke 7:11-17. These are only a few of the many times the compassionate heart of God was displayed through the healing touch and tender words of Jesus, John 14:9. Yet, tucked into Luke 13:1-5 is the reminder that this short life is merely the beginning. Our decision in the here and now will affect each of our lives for eternity. Because of that, Jesus spoke of the necessity of repentance.


In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus showed us through a simple parable what repentance looks like. Two men's lives are pictured here. One lived what he considered to be a righteous life, and one knew that he didn't deserve God's mercy. One highlighted his own good deeds, comparing himself not to the holy standard of God but to the tax collector who was also present. One went away still clothed in his sin, and the other went away clothed in the gift of God's righteousness. Luke 18:14 tells us how this happened. One man lauded his own good deeds while the other knew that he had nothing to give to God. One saw no need for repentance, but the other man presented his unworthiness to God and cried out for the Lord's mercy. When the people spoke about the tragic things that had occurred, Jesus turned their eyes to their need to be in right relationship with God. Paul refers to this as our need for reconciliation. Many of the people with whom we interact, precious people made in the image of God Genesis 1:26-27, don't yet know that they have the need to be reconciled to Holy God. To that end, God has given each of us who belong to the Savior a precious responsibility. We are His ambassadors who carry a life changing message, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. The necessity of being reconciled to God, the same message Jesus gave in different words, in Luke 13.


Steve Green sang:

Every day they pass me by

I can see it in their eyes

Empty people filled with care

Headed who knows where


On they go through private pain

Living fear to fear

Laughter hides their silent cries

Only Jesus hears


People need the Lord, people need the Lord

At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door

People need the Lord, people need the Lord


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