Life, death, heaven and hell. You don’t have a choice in being born, but you do have a choice in where you end up after you die. And, you will die. Everything on earth dies. Tragedy happens. Were people killed because they were sinners? No. Do people die because they do something stupid? Yes. We make choices in life and entering the Kingdom of God (or Heaven, same thing) is our choice.
First, be aware that the Kingdom of God started here on earth when the church age, that we’re in right now, started. That was in Acts 2. In two parables that Jesus tells in this chapter, He’s describing the church and how evil has infiltrated it. There’s a video at the bottom that explains in more detail what’s going on. Let’s dig in…
About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. 2 “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? 3 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. 4 And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5 No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
Everyone always ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” or “What a tragedy! Were they sinners to deserve to die like that?”
We live in a fallen world. God didn’t make it like that, Adam and Eve did. They fell into Satan’s trap and all humans — the whole world — after that, is not perfect. The main point here — and Jesus repeats it twice so that we pay attention is unless you repent of your sins — that is, stop sinning — you, too will perish.
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
6 Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’
8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”
The fig tree in the Bible always represents Israel. Fruit symbolizes the outward evidence of what happens inside and the reason the gardener plants the seed in the first place. If the tree is sick, it won’t produce good fruit. In this parable, the tree is getting a second chance — with “special attention and plenty of fertilizer”. If it doesn’t produce, it gets cut down.
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
10 One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, 11 he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” 13 Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!
14 But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. “There are six days of the week for working,” he said to the crowd. “Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.”
15 But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? 16 This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?”
17 This shamed his enemies, but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did.
People were more important than animals. Healing was more important than man-made Sabbath rules.
Parable of the Mustard Seed
18 Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? 19 It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.”
Parable of the Yeast
20 He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? 21 It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
Here are similar parables. First, the Kingdom of God is today’s church. Birds and yeast represent evil and sin. In the first one, Jesus is saying that the mustard seed grows to become a huge tree — mega churches. A real mustard plant is just a bush. The birds (evil) have nested in its branches — false teachers and prophets. Same goes for the yeast. A little yeast (sin) goes a long way — permeates every part of the church.
It’s sad, but that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. You need the Holy Spirit in your heart. You’ll then be able to recognize what is the Gospel Truth and what are man-made false teachings, doctrines, rites, rituals, watered-down and twisted gospel lies. Continuing….
The Narrow Door
22 Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
He replied, 24 “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. 25 When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out. 29 And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God. 30 And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.”
Do you KNOW Jesus?
I don’t mean do you know “who” He is. The demons know who He is. I mean KNOW HIM as your personal Lord and Savior. Don’t mistake what Jesus is saying here for confirmation that Catholic rituals, or works, get you into Heaven. The “hard work” that you have to do is REPENT! STOP SINNING! That’s not easy! The Catholic church makes it look easy, but it’s false teachings. Baby baptism doesn’t save the baby. Neither does the Eucharist, confessing to a priest or buying indulgences. One of the greatest examples of these parables is the Catholic Church and all its dirty secrets.
Jesus Grieves over Jerusalem
31 At that time some Pharisees said to him, “Get away from here if you want to live! Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”
32 Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose. 33 Yes, today, tomorrow, and the next day I must proceed on my way. For it wouldn’t do for a prophet of God to be killed except in Jerusalem!
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 35 And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”Luke 13 NLT
Jesus is working His way to Jerusalem where He knows that He’ll be killed on the cross. That last line is what the people shout on His triumphal entry on what we know as Palm Sunday. His “purpose” will be to die and take all our sins — past, present and future — with Him in death, but then He’ll defeat death when He is resurrected.
That’s the Good News of the Salvation of Jesus Christ. You need to …
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
The Birds in the Fig Tree
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!