Tuesday, August 14, 2018


LUKE 13:31-35

Luke 13:31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.

Susan: Since Jesus had been venturing into Perea which was a part of Herod’s territory, the Jews warned Jesus that Herod had issued a death warrant for Him. However, this was not because they necessarily wanted to save Jesus from Herod. There was no love lost between the Pharisees and Herod. They may have been trying to move Jesus back into their own jurisdiction in Judea because they wanted to be the ones to arrest Him.

Susie: The Pharisees were kind of the pot calling the kettle black since they were plotting Jesus’s demise themselves!

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Susan: We must point out that not all Jews wanted Jesus dead. His disciples were Jewish, and even some of the Pharisees—most notably Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea—secretly followed Him.

Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected5048.

Susie: Describing someone as a “fox” was calling them crafty, but worthless. Foxes were also a symbol of destruction as they tore up crops. Jesus had perfect divine prerogative to put this label on Herod just as prophets were often called upon to confront leaders.

Susan: A well-known example would be when Nathan confronted David with his sins of adultery and murder (2 Samuel 12:7).

Susie: “Today, tomorrow, and the third day” are not meant to indicate a specific three-day time period. It is Jesus’s way of saying He was going to continue at His own pre-ordained pace to accomplish the mission the Father had for Him, namely becoming the final Passover Lamb to die on the cross.

Susan: He would be “perfected” when He had given His life for those who would trust Him, those chosen by the Father, because that would be the fulfillment of His purpose on earth. God sent Jesus expressly to redeem His people.

The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

5048 tĕlĕiŏō – to complete, i.e. (lit.) accomplish or (fig.) consummate (in character): consecrate, finish, fulfill, (make) perfect.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Luke 13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

Susie: Jesus reiterates that He is on God’s timetable rather than that of Herod or any other man. He knew Herod would not, could not kill Him in Perea or Galilee because as John states in his gospel over and over, “His time had not yet come.”

John 7:6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.

John 7:30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

John 8:20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.

Susan: If our Father had a specific plan and time table for His son, He also has a plan for each and every one of us, His children, to fulfill.

Susie: God is sovereign, and His plans cannot be thwarted. He sees what will be even before it has begun.

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Psalm 139:16 (CJB)      Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.

Jeremiah 1:4-5 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Susie: Not every prophet who died was killed in Jerusalem. However, many of the Jewish prophets died at the hands of their fellow Jews, not those of an enemy. Once again, Luke uses this to underscore Jesus’s determination to make Jerusalem His final destination.

Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

Susie: Jesus laments over the city of Jerusalem. Rather than listening to the prophets and obeying what God said through them, they often had rebelled against God and killed His prophets. One example is the stoning of Zechariah in the very courtyard of the temple!

2 Chronicles 24:20-21 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord.

Susan: Despite Israel’s constant rebellion, the Lord described His parental inclination to protect and shelter them with the example of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings. There, they are sheltered from rain or sun and hidden from peril and predators.

Susie: However, the Jewish leaders had rejected God’s protection and were now poised to have the Son of God, the Messiah, crucified! Jesus weeps over their rejection. Those who do trust in Jesus, those who place their faith in God are sheltered and protected by Him.

Ruth 2:12 The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Luke 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Susan: The nation of Israel, by rejecting Jesus as Messiah, had removed themselves from the protective covering of the Lord.

Susie: In A.D. 70, the temple and much of the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans, left desolate. As history has shown, the people of the Jewish nation were scattered abroad and persecuted. They are now once more a nation, and in the end times, many Jews will recognize Jesus as the Messiah, in essence saying, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Therefore, Jesus is holding out hope for Israel in the future.

Ponder this and Apply it: Although this passage is speaking of the nation of Israel, we as individuals can seek refuge under the mighty wings of God as Ruth did. When we place our trust in Jesus, we are adopted into God’s family, thus becoming His “chicks” or in another analogy, His “sheep”. The Lord is both our mother hen and our Good Shepherd. Nothing can remove us from the security of being in His hands.

John 10:27-29 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Sunday, August 12, 2018


LUKE 13:22-30

Luke 13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

Susie: Although Jesus made several short trips to Jerusalem for various feasts during His ministry, Luke emphasizes that everything Jesus did was ultimately leading to the final destination of Jerusalem to fulfill His purpose on earth–death on the cross as the final Passover Lamb.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying—Literally, making a journey, as implying a circuit deliberately planned. This is apparently the continuation of the same journey as that of which Luke 9:51 recorded the beginning.

Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem

Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?

Susan: Although large crowds still came out to hear Jesus, the committed followers are fewer and fewer as persecution and threats from religious leaders increase. Following Jesus as a way of life was becoming dangerous.

John 11:7-8, 16 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? . . . Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Luke 13:23b-24 And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Susie: Matthew’s gospel describes the gate as both strait and narrow. Hence our expression, “stay on the strait and narrow.”

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there-at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Susan: Does the word “strive” indicate that our salvation is somehow based on works? Not at all, but John MacArthur explains it better than Susie or I can:

MacArthur Study Bible

13:24 Strive. This signifies a great struggle against conflict. Christ was not suggesting that anyone could merit heaven by striving for it. No matter how rigorously they labored, sinners could never save themselves. Salvation is solely by grace, not by works (Eph. 2:8, 9). But entering the narrow gate is nonetheless difficult because of its cost in terms of human pride, because of the sinner’s natural love for sin, and because of the world’s and Satan’s opposition to the truth. See notes on 16:16; Matt. 11:12. many…will seek to enter. I.e., at the judgment, when many will protest that they deserve entrance into heaven (cf. Matt. 7:21–23).

Susie: One translation indicates the urgency of entering in the strait gate, using the word “now:”

Luke 13:24 (VOICE)     Jesus: Strive to enter through the narrow door now, because many people—hear Me on this—will try to enter later on and will not be able to.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Susie: The point Jesus seems to be making is there will come a time when it is “too late.”

Susan: One person at a time enters the narrow gate. There are no “group passes” to heaven. Each individual must have a personal relationship with the owner of the house, i.e. Jesus.

Luke 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

Susan: Once the door is closed, time to be admitted is over.

Susie: The door will remain open until all of those who have trusted Jesus are safe within His house.

Luke 13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

Susan: There will be people who the price of admittance. They will think they fulfilled requirements because they have heard Jesus’s teachings and been present in His meetings. However, they were passing acquaintances. Only those adopted into the family of God have reservations for the marriage banquet.

Susie: Many of the Jews thought they would be welcomed into Heaven simply because they were “children of Abraham.” This is not the same as being children of God, those bought with the blood of His Son, Jesus.

Matthew 3:8-9 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

Susan: There are many who claim the name “Christian” but in reality, have never surrendered their lives to Jesus. The Savior recognizes them for what they are—posers!

Susie: We do not always have the discernment to recognize them, but when Christ returns, He will expose the phonies among us. This reminded us of the parable of the tares sown among the wheat. At the harvest time, the tares (imposters) were thrown into the fire, and the wheat (true believers) were harvested.

Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Susan: The reapers are God’s angels, and the barn is His house where Jesus has promised to prepare a place for those who trust in Him.

John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Susan: If you do not belong to Jesus, if you are not with Him, then you are against Him. You do not have to vehemently reject the Lord to be locked out, just refuse or neglect to accept His gift of Salvation and be forever changed by His Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

Luke 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

Susie: Jesus tells His Jewish audience that they will be inconsolably sobbing when they see the patriarchs of their faith inside God’s house, while they are standing on the outside getting a glimpse as through a window. These people who took pride in being Abraham’s children but did not live up to the promise God gave Him to be a blessing to all nations, will find themselves tossed out of God’s house like leftovers destined to become slop for the pigs.

Susan: They made themselves refuse by refusing to recognize the Messiah standing before them.

Luke 13:29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

Susie: By naming the four corners of the earth, Jesus is saying that Gentiles (non-Jews) would be welcomed into God’s house while many Jews would be turned away. This was in keeping with Old Testament prophecy:

Isaiah 66:18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.

Malachi 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.

Luke 13:30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

Susie: In this instance, the Jews would consider themselves first as God’s chosen people and the Gentiles last. However, Jesus states that many who think themselves to be the most important and most likely to have a spot in the kingdom may actually be at the bottom of the heap.

Susan: Despite what the Jewish leaders thought, entrance into Heaven is not determined by nationality but by intimate reality. One must have a personal relationship with Jesus, devoted to and transparent before the Lord.

Ponder this and Apply it: In Jesus’s reply, He focuses not so much on how many will enter, but that once the door is shut, no one else can get in. The point is to be sure you meet the qualifications for entrance before that point. What puts a person’s name on the guest list? Admittance is only given to those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus, trusting Him alone for salvation. Is your name on the list?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Kingdom of Tiny “Prince of Peace”
Permeates Peoples of All Nations
LUKE 13:18-21
(See also Matthew 13:31-33)

Luke 13:18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

Susie: Jesus introduces a parable or actually, an analogy, for the kingdom of God by asking what it is like and what it resembles.

Luke 13:19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Susie: The mustard seed you may have in a spice jar does not grow into a tree. However, when my 2nd grade students asked me to plant one, I discovered that mustard plants are extremely invasive. If allowed to go to seed, one mustard plant will quickly produce and entire field of mustard plants! I uprooted our plant and had it for dinner before that happened. The member of the mustard family to which Jesus most like referred grows in Israel and does become a shrub.

Susie: Basically, Jesus is comparing God’s kingdom to a seed the size of a pin head growing into an oversized mustard tree in which birds can build their nests.

Susan: Jesus’s following seemed small at the time. God’s kingdom movement began with one baby lying in a manger who grew up to draw twelve men to Himself. They were joined by others, and in an upper room after Jesus returned to Heaven, we see 120 followers gathered for prayer:

Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

Susan: Then, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit infused them with power enabling them to speak in foreign languages they had never before known. Peter preached, and the Kingdom of God grew larger still:

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Susie: The people listening to Jesus tell about the fig tree could not have imagined how the Gospel message would spread. After His death, burial, and resurrection, it spread like wildfire!

Susan: Imagine the humility and gratitude Peter must have felt on that day of Pentecost to have been used so mightily of God after all he had walked through denying Jesus and then being forgiven and restored by the Master Himself.

Susie: As the fig tree became a place where birds of all kinds could nest, the kingdom that was growing from the spread of the gospel would become a safe place to rest for people of all nations, not just Israel.

Susan: Through one tiny “Prince of Peace” born in a stable, the blessing of becoming a child of the kingdom of God would be offered to all the peoples of the world. This is a fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant:

Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

Luke 13:20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

Susie: Jesus had another illustration to share with the crowd.

Luke 13:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Susie: When I bake bread, I use about four and a half teaspoons of yeast to eight cups of flour. As I knead the dough, the yeast permeates it. In a short time, the dough has doubled. Then I divide it into two loaves which double in size again. A tiny amount of leaven permeates a large amount of grain. In this illustration, the woman is baking a huge batch of bread but the principle is the same: a little leaven goes a long way.

Susan: The apostles and the early church spread the Gospel throughout Israel and beyond as God infused them with the leaven of the Holy Spirit.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Susie: When Jesus told the crowds this parable and again, before His ascension when He told His followers they would be His witnesses, they could not have envisioned how this would be accomplished. There were no cars, let alone airplanes. There were no telegraphs, telephones, or televisions, let alone the internet! Today, we are on the verge of reaching all peoples with the Good News of Jesus Christ. His message is indeed permeating the entire world!

Ponder this and Apply it: God’s kingdom will spread on this earth. As Jesus’s followers, we have the privilege of participating in that growth. Have you experienced the joy of sharing Jesus with someone and seeing God totally change his/her life? The seed you plant in someone’s life may be small, but you can count on the Holy Spirit to multiply your testimony and build upon it to reach many people. The man who shared the Lord with D.L. Moody was a shoe salesman who taught Sunday School. D.L. Moody became an evangelist used mightily to spread the Good News. Billy Graham traced his spiritual heritage to D.L. Moody and thus, to that shoe salesman. You may not know until you are with the Lord in Heaven how much He has multiplied your witness. Be faithful to share the love of Jesus!

Sunday, August 5, 2018


Daughter Delivered and
Hypocrite Humbled
LUKE 13:10-17

Luke 13:10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.

Susan: It was Jesus’s habit to be in a place of worship on the Sabbath.

Susie: As an itinerant rabbi, He was often asked to read and/or teach.

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Luke 13:11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

Susie: Although in artwork this woman is often depicted as elderly, the scripture does not hint at her age. Her inability to stand up straight was caused by Satan rather than agedness. She may have been a young or middle-aged woman, for all we know. We do know that she had been suffering in this manner for eighteen years.

Susan: She does not appear to be demon-possessed, completely controlled by an evil spirit. Rather, she seems to be a good woman oppressed, weighed down by spiritual evil authorized by Satan himself.

Luke 13:12-13 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

Susie: The woman did not ask to be healed. Instead, Jesus initiated contact with her by calling her over to Himself.

Susan: Unlike in cases of demon possession, she did not scream or resist Jesus in any way. At the moment Jesus said she was free and laid His hands on the woman, her back was made as straight as a yard stick.

Susie: The woman immediately broke out in praise of the Lord, joyously glorifying God.

Susan: In fact, just like the man who was born blind (John 9:3), God may have allowed her brokenness for the sole purpose of bringing glory to Himself through her healing. I hope I am one of those chosen to be a beacon of God’s glory to draw others to Him through my brokenness and not just despite my cerebral palsy. My desire is that I bring glory to God through every part of my journey.

Luke 13:14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

Susie: Note that the president of the synagogue does not rebuke Jesus directly. Instead, he tells the people they should not come to be healed on the Sabbath. As far as we know, this woman did not ask to be healed. She just showed up for the service.

Susan: Perhaps, inwardly, this ruler trembled at the possibility that Jesus might be who He claimed to be—God incarnate.

Susie: He also may have realized that even though rabbinic tradition considered healing on the Sabbath to be in violation of the command to rest and do no work, that was not in keeping with God’s desire that we do good.

Mark 3:4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Susan: However, his tradition was more important to him than a right relationship with God and people. Tradition is a poor substitute for relationship!

Luke 13:15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

Susie: The synagogue leader didn’t have the nerve to address Jesus directly, but Jesus had no problem calling him out as a hypocrite.

Susan: Jesus points out that the Jewish traditions allowed them to let their animals out for a drink on the Sabbath. That was commendable, but how much more should they desire that this woman, a daughter of Abraham, a member of their community, be freed to drink of God’s grace and be healed?!

Susie: This reminds me of people who are animal rights activists but support a woman’s “right” to choose abortion… better not open that can of worms!

Luke 13:17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

Susan: Jesus’s detractors were embarrassed to the nth degree because they knew the truth of His words whether or not they would admit it. The truth of His words cut to the quick.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Susie: While the leaders were humiliated, the other people in attendance at the synagogue that Sabbath day experienced true joy to see the glory of God on display in the healing of the woman.

Susan: The sincere worshippers in the synagogue had a “happylujah” party with this freed daughter of Abraham, celebrating the grace and glory of God she had experienced that morning.

Ponder this and apply it: Once again, we see that Jesus does not judge this woman because of her affliction. Even though he attributes it to a “spirit,” He does not blame the woman. Rather, He heals her, freeing her to glorify His Father. We need to see people through the merciful eyes of Jesus and pray for their needs rather than pondering the possibility that they somehow brought them upon themselves. Father, as the song implores, “Give me Your eyes!”

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


LUKE 13:6-9

Luke 13:6 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.

Susie: The nation of Israel is often represented by a vine or vineyard and sometimes as a fig tree. Jesus is now addressing not only individual responsibility and accountability but the response of Israel as a whole as well. 

Susan: The fig tree in this parable does not have any figs on it even though it must be mature enough to be expected to bear fruit.

Susie: Just as individual Christians are designed to bear fruit—both the “fruit of the Spirit” and the fruit of other lives led to Christ, the nation of Israel was to be fruitful by being a blessing to all nations. Instead, the Jewish nation had become exclusive. Rather than bringing other nations to the true God, they isolated themselves.

Susan: The Jews were arrogant toward outsiders rather than serving as a light to draw them to the one true God. God had intended them to be a blessing to the nations.

Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. . .

Luke 13:7 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?

Susie: Three years was enough time for the fig tree to reach maturity and bear fruit, but it was empty.

Susan: Therefore, the owner’s attitude is that the fig tree should not waste space in his garden. It should be cut down and something else planted in its place. However, the gardener had a different idea. The gardener, like our Lord, believed in second chances.

Luke 13:8-9 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.

Susie: The gardener proposes working with this fig tree a little longer. He plans to loosen the soil and place dung (fertilizer) around the roots. Then he will give it one more year in which to thrive and bear fruit.

Susan: Father God is the gardener. We learn in John chapter 15, that God tends His garden by selective pruning in order to increase production (Don’t I know this?!) Sometimes He does completely uproot and cast out those who have never taken root in Jesus. However, He is not hasty in doing this.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Ponder this and Apply it: You may have a friend or loved-one whose behavior makes it tempting to give up on them totally. However, as long as God leaves them on this earth, there is still a chance for them to turn to Him and allow Him to completely transform their lives. Continue to pray for them and, as the Lord leads, to share with them. This does not mean you should become their doormat, but that you should seek the Lord in your interactions and continue to be a reflection of His grace. Think back on the second chances the Lord has given you! Praise Him for His steadfast love and grace!

Sunday, July 29, 2018


LUKE 13:1-5

Susie: Luke’s gospel is the only one that records this episode in Jesus’s ministry. In the modern world, people tend to attribute tragedy to God having a lack of interest in the world below, being a harsh God, or there being no God at all. However, in the ancient world, people often thought tragedy was a direct judgment of their god or gods against evil or disobedient people. By bringing up the following incident, the people were indirectly asking Jesus if these Galileans were killed because of the judgment of God against them.

Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

Susie: There are no historical references to this exact violent, politically charged act outside of the Bible. However, there are numerous historical accounts of similar atrocities of Rome against its conquered peoples. It has been suggested that these people may have been Jewish zealots, seen as seditious by Rome, presenting sacrifices in the temple when Roman soldiers annihilated them.

Luke 13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

Susie: A more recent question might be, “Were the people who perished in the Twin Towers due to the work of terrorists worse than all the other New Yorkers?” I believe Jesus would answer, “Of course not!”

Susan: Neither did God target the Coptic Christians killed when their churches blew up due to suicide bomber attacks on Palm Sunday, 2017. Praise the Lord, the believers who were killed during worship were immediately ushered into God’s presence to remain joyfully with Him for eternity.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Susan: Jesus was making the point that for those that never repent and turn to Him, when life comes to an end on earth, it will be terrible and permanent. Each person is accountable to God and responsible for his or her own choice in responding to the gift of salvation offered by Jesus.

Susie: Jesus takes their thoughts away from whether or not these Galileans were being punished and re-focuses their attention on their own mortality. Death is certain (unless the Lord returns), and the question is whether or not we will be transported to the Lord’s side or condemned forever to be separated from Him in Hell.

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series at www.biblegateway.com

Mortality is evidence of the presence of sin in our world (Gen 3). More important than the timing or cause of death is this: only repentance can change death from a tragic end into a bridge to a new kind of life (Lk 3:8; 6:24-26; 10:13; 12:58-59; 15:7).

Luke 13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

Susie: Jesus raises another example in which the people were victims of some type of natural disaster rather than being attacked by others. A tower fell on them, but it was not deliberately taken down by an enemy.

Susan: The final death toll from Hurricane Katrina was 1,836, over half of which were senior citizens, grandmas and grandpas. (https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-hurricane-katrina) Was this tragedy a direct result of their sins? Of course not!

Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Susie: Again, Jesus turns the crowd’s attention back to the more important question of whether or not they are each prepared to face the day of their earthly death, whether it be sooner or later, tragedy or “natural causes.”

Susan: For those who never accept that they are sinners in need of God’s saving grace, those who never accept His free gift of salvation, whatever the manner of their death, it will be tragic. The tragedy is that they die without God. They will continue to exist eternally but totally devoid of vitality, joy, and peace, devoid of all that is good. Therefore, the moral of this passage is to choose Jesus and accept the extravagant gift of love and life that He freely offers to all who turn to Him in repentance, rejecting their old way of self-centeredness and being made new by the power of His Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Susie: The time to turn to Jesus is not “later”—after you get it together or have had all your “fun.” The time is NOW. Do not delay.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Ponder this and Apply it: When people are tempted to judge the victims of an attack or a natural disaster, we need to turn their attention to their own preparedness to “meet their Maker.” We cannot answer the question of why people die in horrible tragedies, but we MUST answer the question of whether or not each of us is prepared if such a thing happened in our own life. Are you prepared? If so, are your friends and loved ones certain they will enter eternity with the Father rather than suffering forever? Evaluate your own relationship with the Lord. Then, if you are securely prepared, be sure to share the good news of how to repent and be saved with everyone else!