The rejection of unrepentant Judaism – until the time of the end
The majority of the Jews and their leaders in Jesus’ time lived an unrepentant life
LUKE 13 verse 1-5: “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the (other) Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all (other) men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Here the Lord reproached the Jews in His days for their un-repentance… Not only the Galileans, that were slain by the sword of Pilate, but all Galileans were sinners. Not only were those inhabitants of Jerusalem, who were buried by the fallen tower of Siloam, sinners, but all inhabitants were! This does not mean, that the Jews of Jesus’ days were not religious. They most certainly were! But their religious practices and actions came from their (sinful) flesh; they did everything by following their self-will. And, even if the works of the flesh seem right in the eyes of men, they are always diametrically opposed (and thus contrary) to God’s will. For God wants us to turn to Him with all our heart (and soul), so that we may be open to His works of grace; that we come to the true purification and sanctification of our life and inner being. If this is a spiritual truth today, in the days when Jesus walked on the earth and lived among men, it was exactly the same! We must therefore be willing to be delivered from our self-will! For this self-will is always at war with the will of God; even if sometimes, superficially, it seems to agree with God’s will (Romans 8:5-8)!
A life without sincere repentance is unfruitful for God’s Kingdom
LUKE 13 verse 6-9: “He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”
In above text God the Father is pictured as the owner of a vineyard, and that vineyard is the world. And in that world He had planted a fig-tree, and that fig-tree is God’s symbol (of the twelve tribes) of Israel. The dresser of the vineyard here is the symbol for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The three years that the owner (i.e. God the Father) waited for the fruit of the fig-tree (i.e. Israel), are an indication of God’s offer of grace to Israel. In the Old Covenant time this happened through the shed blood of sacrificial animals; and in the light of the New Testament it is an indication of God’s offer of grace (in the first place to the Jews – see Note 1 on page 3) in and through the sacrifice on the cross (and the shed blood) of the Lamb of God. All bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to the perfect Lamb, and thus the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, He was to spend three days and three nights “in the heart of the earth”, when He fulfilled that offering (see Matthew 12:40).
Our conversion and our belief in God’s perfect sacrifice and in the omnipotence of Jesus, His Son, is a necessity for God, and the only way to bring about a NEW LIFE of spiritual fertility within us (and to develop it). His works of grace had to do that for the Jews in those days, and must do it for us also today. However, this is only possible when there is a sincere longing in us to surrender all self-will to Jesus Christ; a desire to be completely delivered from our self-will. Just as Jesus Christ was killed on the cross (and had to be killed) for our sins, so too must we covet (and pray for) this process of the cross in our thinking, heart and life, whereby we express the will that we too are prepared to completely die to our old and sinful ego, to our sinful “flesh”. When the Lord sees this sincere desire in us, then it shall be done in our life, so that all thoughts and desires, all our actions and walk, etc. which are not according to His will and pleasing, be destroyed, over and over again.
The fig-tree (type of a religious Jew) bore no fruit, but only leaves. And leaves only serve the life of the tree itself; but fruit serves the reproduction, and serves the life of others. A religion according to one’s own view therefore is always egocentric, and will always seeks one’s own advantage and honor, even if this is often hidden under beautiful show motivations. It is only the love of God, planted in the purified heart of man, which brings forth eternal fruit.
We also see from this parable, that our Savior is very patient, and that His sole purpose is to grant us grace (still). That therefore was the reason the dresser of the vineyard (type of the Lord Jesus Christ) requested another year’s respite of the owner (type of God the Father). He wanted to give extra care to the tree (type of the religious Jew) by digging around the tree, and fertilizing it. As you can see, we have a wonderful (and very gracious) High Priest, Who prays and intercedes for us with God, and Who wishes to bring us to repentance by allowing trials in our life, and Who wishes to put His precious Word in our heart. These trials and this Word of God must convict us of our un-repentance, and of our self-willed attitude; they are to cause us to repent and surrender to Him, that He cleanse us of all dead works, and of all sinful thoughts and desires.
We see the same patience with regard to the Jews of those days in Israel. The judgment of God did not follow immediately after the rejection and crucifixion of the Son of man. God waited approximately another forty years, and during that period the Gospel of His grace was proclaimed among the Jews. It was only around the year 70 B.C. that God’s judgment was fulfilled over this nation. Then the city of Jerusalem was burned down by the Roman armies, and many were killed by the sword. The survivors were exiled from their country… and were scattered over the whole earth!
By E. van den Worm
If you want, see also the ‘verse by verse’ study of:
- LUKE Chapter 1
- LUKE Chapter 2
- LUKE Chapter 3
- LUKE Chapter 4
- LUKE Chapter 5
- LUKE Chapter 6
- LUKE Chapter 7
- LUKE Chapter 8
- LUKE Chapter 9
- LUKE Chapter 10
- LUKE Chapter 11
- LUKE Chapter 12