Third Sunday in Lent,
[13:1] There were some present at that very time who told him 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."
 And he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  And he said to the vinedresser, 'Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?'  And he answered him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.  Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.' " Luke 13:1-9 (ESV)
Unless you repent you will likewise perish. Two catastrophes are recorded here. Both in which there seems to be much senseless death. You see, perhaps, a sinister side to Pilate, a willingness to use force, where on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, you see reluctance. And then there is just a tower that falls. People being slaughtered as they go to church, sacrificing sheep for the Passover, and people killed when a tower just falls on them. Unless you repent you will likewise perish.
Not a whole lot of change. Senseless death. Almost a pointless phrase. We come to terms with death, but it all seems senseless. Yes we may even embrace it when it comes to someone suffering in the hospital. IT was better we say. Often we have no idea, and the inkling we do have says no it wasn’t. There is a hell. We think there suffering in the hospital bed? I don’t even want to think about what is waiting for so many. Unless you repent you will likewise perish.
Unless you repent you will likewise perish. Think on that. Within less then two months, two massive earthquakes shattering the lives of millions. Two massive earthquakes, reminders if nothing else of the birth pains and travails of this world. Towers fall, nations war. Senseless slaughter, senseless death and asphalt covered in red questions our own mortality. Unless you repent you will likewise perish.
Unless you repent you will likewise perish. Perhaps we are tempted to see this as a Pat Robertson type phrase commenting on the nation of Haiti brokering a deal with the Devil, and reaping he reward with an earthquake. Some men ought to have learned to shut up a long time ago. That is not what Jesus was getting at. He really wasn’t chastising them for any sin in particular. Unless you repent you will like wise perish.
Unless you repent you will likewise perish. Lets start at the end. Perish. Perish, the word has eschatological tones. It means more than just to die a physical death. It means to die in an un-forgiven state. It means to die in a manner so that your death is an eternal death, an eternal separation not from you body, but from the glory and grace of God. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not Perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Everyone dies, but what about this perish, no some of us have eternal life. Eternal life we live even now in baptism. Unless you repent you will likewise perish.
Unless you repent you will likewise perish. Repent. Repent, it means more than feeling sorry for your sins. It means more than trying to give up a few politically incorrect vices. It means more than cow towing to societal standards of right and wrong. It means more than feeling sorry for your sin, and doing your best to avoid them with the help of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean less than that though. It means more than doing your best to live a better life with the help of the Holy Spirit. No repentance means more than feeling bad for your sins. In this is also implied trust, faith, belief in the one who brings forgiveness, the one who gives eternal life lest you perish. True repentance is really just that trust in Jesus Christ as the forgiver of sins. True repentance is to turn from your former evil ways, that is to turn from faith in yourself, to put your trust in the word of God, the word of God that became flesh, died and was raised again on the third day, so that we would not perish but have eternal life. Unless you repent you will likewise perish,
Thanks be to God, He has loved you, even in un-repentance, and has given his Son to die for you that you would not perish but have eternal life.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord Amen.