Luke 13:1-5

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

July 25, 2001



There once was a man named Fred, who inherited 10 million dollars, but there was some catches, he had to make some choices, and he made the wrong ones. The will provided that he had to accept the 10 million either in Brazil or in Chile. Well, he chose Brazil, unfortunately it turned out that in Chile he would have received his inheritance in land on which uranium, gold and silver had just been discovered. Once in Brazil he had to choose between receiving his inheritance in coffee or nuts. Well, he chose the nuts. And that was too bad, because the bottom fell out of the nut market, but coffee went up to 5.34 a pound wholesale. And poor Fred lost everything he had to his name, he went out and sold his gold watch for money, and he did that so that he could get enough money to fly home. It seems that he had enough money to buy a ticket to either New York or Boston. But he chose Boston. When the plane for New York taxied up, he noticed that it was a brand new super 747 jet with red carpet and chic people and wine popping hostesses. The plane for Boston arrived and it was a 1928 Ford tri motor with a swayback, it took a full day to get off the ground. And it was filled with crying children and tethered goats. Well, over the Andes, one of the engines fell off. Our man Fred made his way up to the cockpit and captain and said, “Look I’m a jinx on this plane, let me out it you want to save your lives, give me a parachute”. And the pilot agreed and looking at him said, Okay, but on this plane, anybody who bales out must wear two chutes. And so Fred jumped out of the plane whirling through the air, trying to make up his mind, which ripcord to pull. Finally he chose the one on the left, it was rusty and the wire pulled loose. So he pulled the other handle, the parachute opened but the shroud lines snapped. In desperation, the poor fellow cried out, “St. Francis, save me!!” A large hand reached out of Heaven and seized the poor fellow by the wrist and let him dangle in mid-air. And a gentle but inquisitive voice asked, “St. Francis of Xavier or St. Francis of Assisi?”

Sometimes it seems that our lives sound an awful lot like that.  It seems like we’re constantly facing choices and constantly making the wrong ones.
When things seem to go from bad to worse, we can find ourselves asking, “What did I do to deserve this?”

Why do bad things happen?

:1-5 All shall perish

:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

were presentpareimi – to be by, be at hand, to have arrived, to be present; to be ready, in store, at command

told him apaggello – to bring tidings (from a person or a thing), bring word, report; to proclaim, to make known openly, declare

This wasn’t just some small topic of discussion. These people were making a big deal about this bit of news.

Galileans were people who lived in the northern part of Israel.

mingledmignumi – to mix, mingle

Sacrifices would be done only in Jerusalem, in the southern part of Israel. These people would have been among those who would make their pilgrimage to Jerusalem to present their sacrifices to the Lord.

It is thought that these people were talking about the followers of a man named Judas Gaulonitis (or, Judas of Galilee – Acts 5:37).  Twenty years earlier, this Judas had led a revolt against the Roman government saying that it was not lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Caesar.  Pilate became angry and sent a band of soldiers to kill some of the followers when they had come up to the feast of Passover at Jerusalem.

Keep in mind, Jesus is being perceived as a leader, and He as well as most of His followers are also from Galilee.

It’s possible that these people are trying to warn Jesus, but I wonder if they aren’t also trying to scare Him a little as well.

:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

Suppose yedokeo – to be of opinion, think, suppose; to seem, to be accounted, reputed

sufferedpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

I think that Jesus is asking this question because this is exactly how these people were thinking.

:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

repent metanoeo – to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent; to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

likewisehosautos – in like manner, likewise

perishapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed

Some have suggested that Jesus was hinting prophetically at the coming destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

:4 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?

towerpurgos – a tower; a fortified structure rising to a considerable height, to repel a hostile attack or to enable a watchman to see in every direction

think yedokeo – to be of opinion, think, suppose; to seem, to be accounted, reputed

sinners opheiletes – one who owes another, a debtor; one held by some obligation, bound by some duty; one who has not yet made amends to whom he has injured:; one who owes God penalty or whom God can demand punishment as something due, i.e. a sinner

The word often translated “sinner” (hamartolos) means one who has “missed the mark”, one who has fallen short of God’s requirements and standards.

Here the emphasis is on the fact that as a “sinner”, a debt has been acquired.  There is something owed to God.  A price needs to be paid.

This was obviously something known about in Jesus’ day, but we don’t have any records of this particular event.

:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

repentmetanoeo – to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent; to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

likewisehosautos – in like manner, likewise

perishapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed


Be careful about judging

Sometimes we can look at a difficulty that someone is going through and begin to ask ourselves, “What did they do to deserve that?”



Sometimes bad times are an indication of God’s judgment.

There are indeed times when it seems that difficult times can come as a judgment of God on a person.
Even as Christians, there may be times when we have to be “spanked”, or “chastened” by the Lord.
(Heb 12:5-6 KJV)  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: {6} For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Even this isn’t because God hates us, but because God loves us.

This is a hard concept for some of us because when we’ve been “punished” by others, it’s done out of anger or hatred.  Sometimes people have “punished” us to “get even”.

But God’s chastisement is done because He loves us.  He loves us too much to let us continue in the destructive things we’re doing.  Sometimes He has to do something drastic to get our attention.

But don’t think that God is always out to “spank” us every chance He gets.  The Bible says,

(Psa 103:10 KJV)  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

The Bible also says,

(Exo 34:6-7a NLT)  He passed in front of Moses and said, "I am the LORD, I am the LORD, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. {7} I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. Even so I do not leave sin unpunished …

The point is, if you are going through a difficult time, it’s very proper to be taking the time to ask yourself, “Is God trying to get my attention?”  If there is something that is unpleasing to the Lord, it’s time to get serious about turning from your sin.
But if you are honestly unaware of something that you need to turn from, don’t go hunting for something that isn’t there.  The Holy Spirit is very able to convict you of sin if there is a problem in your life.

Corrie ten Boom, in her book Tramp for the Lord had these words to say regarding forgiveness:

It was 1947--. I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander's mind, I like to think that that's where forgiven sins are thrown. "When we confess our sins," I said, "God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever--. Then God places a sign out there that says No Fishing Allowed!"

--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 217.


Sometimes bad times are not because of judgment.

This was the case with Job.
God considered Job to be a wonderful man.
(Job 1:8 KJV)  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

It seems that God allowed Job to be tested almost to show Satan how faithful Job was.

But don’t think that God was only “showing off”.  There was more to Job’s trials than just that.
God was allowing Satan to test Job so that Job might be further refined, so that he would grow.
At the end of his trials, Job said,

(Job 42:5-6 KJV)  I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. {6} Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Even though God considered Job to be a pretty good guy, Job still went through some growth through his trial.  Job had grown closer to the Lord, not just having “heard” of God, but now having “seen” God.

There are some good lessons to learn from watching how those close to Job responded to his trials.
His wife.

(Job 2:9-10 KJV)  Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. {10} But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Sometimes the people closest to us mean well because they don’t want us suffering.  But a godly spouse ought to be encouraging the suffering one to draw closer to God, not curse Him.

His friends.

At first Job’s friends did a good thing –

(Job 2:11-13 KJV)  Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. {12} And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. {13} So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

We often feel like we need to have something to say, but in reality, most of the time we just need to be there for our friends.

After a week, Job’s friends decided to speak up, and their words to Job can all be summed up with the notion that they thought that Job had brought his calamities upon himself because he must have some kind of hidden sin.  They felt that God must be very mad at Job and this was why he was having so much trouble.

They were wrong.  Very wrong.

In the end, look at what God said to Job’s friends –

(Job 42:7-8 KJV)  And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. {8} Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

I believe one of the major lessons of this passage is that we need to be careful about judging others who are going through difficult times.

That’s not to say that if we are aware of some major sin in a person’s life that we don’t lovingly and firmly talk about it.  But sometimes things are not what they seem.



I don’t think the lesson is just about judging, the point is all about repentance.
Turn around.  Go away from your sin.
(Mat 7:1-5 KJV)  Judge not, that ye be not judged. {2} For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. {3} And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? {4} Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? {5} Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
mote – “splinter”
If you see a difficulty in some other person’s life, instead of instantly working to condemn them, perhaps we ought to stop and take time to look in the mirror at ourselves.

From time to time I will hear about a person in ministry who has become caught in some sin.  Years ago I would hear about some of the televangelists who had fallen and would respond in disgust, knowing that they had it coming.  But I think that more and more, I am realizing it’s only too easy for any of us to fall.

It’s my goal now when I hear about a person caught in a sin, that I look at my own life to make sure that I am not leaving myself open to temptation.  I don’t think it’s inappropriate to run myself through the scenario of what would happen if I give in to one temptation or another, thinking of the people I’d disappoint, thinking of the devastation that would come to my family, let alone the grief I’d cause God.

When you are caught in a sin and you begin to feel conviction, don’t run from God, run TO God.  The Bible says,
(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The word “confess” means to “agree with”.  If I confess my sins, I am coming to the point where I am agreeing with God over my sins. 

That means that I need to agree with God that my sin is wrong. 

I need to agree with God that my life needs to change. 

I need to agree with God that Jesus’ death on the cross is able to pay for my sin.

And when I “agree with” God concerning my sin, I will find forgiveness.