There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.Luke 13:1-5
Luke continues to show us Jesus’s teaching on what it means to be a faithful disciple. A confession or statement of faith has little meaning if it is not supported with godly behavior.
In this case, Jesus is teaching the necessity of self examination.
There was a group present for the teaching that presented a case of some Galilaeans that died an ignominious death. Jesus knows their hearts and motivation so He questions them. “Do you think they died in such a dramatic way because they were worse sinners than others?” Jesus answers the question for them- “No.”
Jesus then says that all men will answer to God in time or in eternity. He then mentions some Jews who also died in an infamous manner. This refutes any prejudice about Jews being better than others and shows that all men are accountable to God.
We should learn a couple of things from this conversation. First of all, just because something bad is happening to someone, we are not allowed to declare that it is God’s judgment against them. That may or may not be the case. We are not in the position to tell so we should not render judgment. Secondly, Jesus points out that we should be focused on our own personal and practical sanctification rather than just thinking we are ok because we are “better than those people.”
Further, just because Jesus says that these two groups were not punished because they were worse than others, The Lord still does chasten His people.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
When we find ourselves out of fellowship with God we need to be thankful that He has preserved the relationship and is therefore chastising us. This should lead us to repentance.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?2 Corinthians 13:5
At all times, our focus needs to be on our own behavior in comparison to Jesus. He is the standard. Our own conscience testifies for or against us because Christ dwells in us. Therefore, we have the ability to walk humbly with our Redeemer.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?Micah 6:8