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Repentance in Luke 13:1-5

Updated on May 23, 2021
Maria Dorland profile image

MariaInes is a freelancer who writes about social matters from different perspectives.

Jesus Words in Luke 13:1-5

“About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”

The verb translated “repent” in the New Testament (metanoeo) literally means “to perceive afterwards”; so that repent means “to change one’s mind or purpose” (Thayer)

Luke 13:1-5 brings again the topic of the relationship of Sin and Repentance but it seems to cover it from a higher point of view. It is useful to ponder about the meaning of repentance under the light of the verb “repent” as translated in the New Testament from the greek word "metanoeo" that literally means “to perceive afterwards”; so that repent means “to change one’s mind or purpose” (Thayer).

The Calling...But How?

This verse in the bible leads to conclude that sin is the great equalizer of men. This does not mean that there is not hope for human kind, for hope does not come from people but from Jesus, our Saviour. Some sins destroy from inside to outside and others from outside to inside, all of them affect us inside, our souls and bodies, all of them starting inside ourselves or outside ourselves, born in our flesh or born in others flesh. Death is the wage of sin, and all of us are going to die physically, one day. Sin broke into the world and we were conceived in sin without exception, God reconciled us with Him through His son, Jesus Christ.

Sin can take very palpable ways as for example stealing or murdering, in other occasions is more accepted socially and it takes vaporous forms such us gossiping, coveting, plotting against the will of the Lord, manipulating facts, etc. All of them carry consequences in our lives and in the lives of others. We are called not to keep a life in sin but we are all familiar when it strikes.

We would like to understand it all but only God is omniscient, we would like to control it all but only God is omnipotent, we would like to repair it all, but only God is omnipresent. However we are called to fight sin, I wonder how we can fight sin, being ourselves broken by it. The people that came to Jesus accusing some people from Galilee that offered sacrifices at the temple, received some insights on how we fight sin actively in our daily circumstances.

An Answer

It is not news that Jesus knows that the fall of men came precisely after the ambition of man coveting God’s knowledge and understanding. We all suffer from this sin in a major or a minor scale.

First, He calls us not to be judgemental, we must accept our limitations: we do not understand everything and most of the times our judgment is tainted by sin itself. We need to be aware of this all the time, sin is the enemy’s weapon and it broke the world and our perceptions. How many people we break with applying judgment? Most of the time based on our sins, or fear and mistrust? We all do it, we all are called to avoid it.

Did these people think that Jesus will sit to gossip with them about these sinners? Or were they even trying to score some points to show how good they are to our High priest? Perhaps making the point that they know what moral failure is and how good their own example is to others? Not that Jesus is apologizing sin, but He knows what is and where sin comes from.

Second, He direct us towards ourselves. We can look at ourselves and judge ourselves with compassion until we find the way to accept humbly that we are as sinners as the others, no any better not any worse. I usually imagine what if the Lord could show us with detail the consequences of our deeds, even of those that we consider good, how sorrowful all of us would be and how humbled that instead of judging each other we will be all consumed by praising the Lord and giving thanks for His grace with awe.

Third, we are all victims of sin, some happenings will strike us not because of the fact that sin lives in us, but because sin is disrupting by nature and it is present everywhere in the world, including our flesh. There is no a mathematical rule or a cause-effect law, some people struggle with this and blame life or even God of being unfair, but we all know that if such laws or rules existed not human will fare better that another. Sin brings consequences, our sins and the sin in the world. Sins of the past are still breaking in our present, people that suffered trauma in the past will struggle with rage and pain that seem inexplicable, we can all try to help each other, love each other as the Lord commanded. This kind of love is healing. When I see my own pain or the pain of my closest ones, I can feel compassion for others.

The Lord warns us against hypocrisy and double standards, He call us for an honest relationship between Him and us as individuals guided by His word and Spirit. He looks directly at our hearts and talks to us to dispel confusion and sin, not from a judgemental corner but from His love for us, yes at a big scale. He always rejected very emphatically judgemental attitudes.

Sometimes, this may look paradoxical, but what could be the cascade effect of following Jesus teachings by faith? This idea makes us tremble, Jesus teachings are counterintuitive and makes feel as we are losing control, what if He fails? Is the question that we often hear coming from our deep insecurities?

Yes, we are in this broken world and we will suffer as we are not better than our Master but because of this, He illustrated how to live despite these circumstances: our pain and suffering are not excuses for hatred or any other sin. We can achieve this, only by the hand of the Lord Himself. but we need to open our hearts to Him. It is painful Lord, help us.

© 2016 MariaInes


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