WE have almost forgotten that repentance is necessary to salvation. In this superficial day, when people glibly “accept Christ” and join the church on a “decision day” with no sense of sin or joy in salvation—the depths having never been stirred—we need to remember the words of our Lord, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
In the thirteenth chapter of Luke, our Lord mentions two disasters of that time in which a number of people had been killed. It was the common opinion that such people were greater sinners than the average to bring down such calamity upon themselves. But our Lord declares that “there is no difference.” All are sinners, and unless we repent we shall all alike perish.
We have our own way of reckoning one man a worse sinner than another, but in God’s sight we are all lost until we are saved; and if a man is lost, he cannot be more lost than another. If you are not a believer on Christ, you need not be any worse than you are right now to be lost, for it is your lack of believing that condemns you (John 3:18).
Jesus told a parable of a barren fig tree, whose owner was about to destroy it, when the vinedresser interceded to give it another chance. He was speaking of the Jews—typified in Scripture by the fig tree—who had the opportunity for the Messiahs ministry but had not received Him. It should also remind us that God is giving us an opportunity to bear fruit unto Him, and He wants fruit, not mere leaves of profession.
He healed a crippled woman on the Sabbath, and immediately the Pharisaic ruler of the synogogue objected. Jesus sternly calls His accuser a hypocrite and rebukes him. He speaks of the woman as one “whom Satan hath bound,” which throws light upon His attitude toward sickness as a shackle of Satan. Often we regard sickness as the will of God, when we ought to face it as a scourge of the devil. When Jesus was asked whether few would be saved (Luke 13:23) He did not answer directly, but bade His hearers to strive to enter in at the strait gate. Many who were highly favored will be cast out, while the babes and simple souls will be saved. It has ever been so: the privileged Jews first refused Him while the untaught Gentiles received Him. Through the ages the first have been last and the last first.
When warned that Herod would kill Him, our Lord replies by calling the king a “fox” and telling him that He could not be hindered by any king. Jesus adds a statement of awful irony about Jerusalem: “I must get on to Jerusalem, for it is unthinkable that a prophet should be killed elsewhere. They have killed so many there that it is natural to expect it.”
He closes with a lament over the city that He gladly would have gathered unto Himself. One day He will return, and Israel shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and shall say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Today, the papers tell us of continuous return to Palestine and the revival of that land—the greatest miracle of modern times. The stage is being set for the Lord’s return. Are you ready?