Repent or Perish (Luke 13:1–5) - Radical

Repent or Perish (Luke 13:1–5)

“There were some present at that very time who had told Jesus about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them. Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
-Luke 13:1-5

There’s so much in this short passage, but to summarize it, you have people who are asking Jesus about, basically, an instance of moral evil, and an instance of natural evil. This instance of moral evil, the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices so, basically, people who were offering sacrifices and were suddenly killed, basically, massacred. And then, the second instance is a tower in Siloam falling all of a sudden and killing 18 people. So, that would be natural evil, just something happening, not necessarily because like someone was massacring in the first group, but here in the second group, just a situation where a tower suddenly fell and killed 18 people. And you have these people coming to Jesus, basically, asking him were these people worse than others?

Lord, help us to not lose sight of the brevity of life and the urgency of eternity.

And I read this and I think about what’s happening around us right now, particularly in my country, but also around the world amidst all kinds of violence and moral evil, on one hand, and then natural evil in the middle of a pandemic. And Jesus’ words, He says it twice, He says, as you think about these things don’t try to determine who’s a worse sinner. That’s what He’s telling these crowds who are asking about this, that’s not the point. The point is, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. He says that twice, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Moral evil, natural, evil are reminders that we are all one day going to die.

And so, what is most important in every single one of our lives is that we repent while we have time today, that we turn from our sin. We turn from our sinful hearts, and we trust in Jesus as the Savior and Lord of our lives, that we live in repentance every day ready to meet Jesus. In both these groups, none of these people knew that today was going to be their last day, this tower was going to fall that. I mean, they thought they were secure. They were offering sacrifices and all of a sudden they’re massacred.

So, we pray, God, we know that life is a mist, and that not one of us is guaranteed tomorrow. This pandemic has, certainly, reminded us of this, that not one of us is immune to sickness and death. So, God help us to make today count for Your Glory. Help us to live in a continual state of repentance, of turning from sin and following You, and trusting You, and loving You, and honoring You, and glorifying You. God, if something were to happen to me, like two seconds from now, God, I pray I want my heart to be right before You. I pray that over every single person who’s listening right now. God, I pray, if anybody’s listening right now, who doesn’t know You, has never repented, turned from their sin, and themselves, and believed in Jesus, that they would do that today, right now.

And that God, You would help us to live just with this constant awareness of the brevity of life and the need for repentance. We want to be right with You by Your Grace, by Your Mercy at every single moment. And we want to live with urgency to make the Good News, the Gospel of repentance, and belief in Jesus known all around us. So God, we pray for that kind of urgency as we live in a world of moral evil, and natural evil. God, we pray that you would use our lives to lead other people to repent, to trust in You. Help us to proclaim the Gospel of repentance today in our lives. God, please help us not to lose sight of the brevity of life, or the urgency of eternity in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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