Jesus Laments over Jerusalem
A call to repentance Luke 13:1-5
A small crowd stopped Jesus to suggest that some Galileans suffered a sad fate because they were bad people compared to others. Pilate had killed these Galileans in the temple, their own place of worship, so surely they must have sinned greatly to suffer such a fate. Jesus quickly corrects the crowd, by illustrating death is no respecter of persons good or bad, and calls the crowd to repentance, not once, but twice. We can spare ourselves a fate far worse than what what these unsuspecting Galileans suffered, simply by repenting to the Lord.
The Parable of the Fig Tree Luke 13:6-9
Jesus follows up his call to repentance with a story about a barren fig tree. A man had a garden, but there was a many-times-over fruitless fig tree wasting valuable space. The man orders the fig tree be cut down but the gardener objects, asking the man to give the fig tree just one more chance. Repentance gives rise to fruitfulness but unrepentance calls forth bareness and gives way to an axe.
Jesus laments over Jerusalem Luke 13:31-35
Jesus continuing towards Jerusalem, receives warning from some Pharisees along the way. Herod Antipas wants to kill him and even his own people reject him. Resolute, even in the face of death and rejection, Jesus continues to press forward with his mission. We cannot afford to pay for repentance but Jesus can and does.
**A progression of repentance **
Luke 13:1-5 A call to repentance
Luke 13:6-9 A repentant life bears fruit
Luke 13:31-35 Jesus laments because he wants to be with his people, but they will not repent and welcome him into their lives (no fruit of repentance in their life).
Jesus is continuing to press forward towards Jerusalem where he knows he will meet his fate on a cross. In our first story, an idea that still permeates minds and hearts today, rears its ugly head. It’s the idea that if your bad then bad things will happen to you and if you’re good, then good things will happen to you. The crowd thought the Galileans were murdered because they were bad people.
In reality they weren’t different than anyone else. Death can come at any time and it’s important to communicate the a much worse fate awaits for those who turn away Jesus instead of turning towards him. We don’t need our blood mingled with useless sacrifice. Our lives need covered by the blood of Christ.
This alludes to the fig tree. Turning towards God leads to fruitfulness in your life while rejecting God will lead to bareness. There comes a point that some simply choose to remain barren no matter the cost and they will pay for it. It’s an eternal debt that cannot be paid apart from Christ so they’ll be paying on it forever. Those not grafted into the vine of Jesus will remain fruitless and be cast away as rubble.
I believe this is why Jesus laments over Jerusalem. The city and her people have chosen to remain unrepentant, barren, and killing off anything that would turn them back towards the one true God. Even in their rejection of him, Jesus still loves them. No doubt Jesus knew he was going to knowingly offer his life as a sacrifice despite some people still rejecting him. The price for repentance is high but it’s already been paid. Jesus laments for what he knows can be.