3rd SUNDAY of Lent, March 24. Repent!
Prepare to listen. Be still and hear these words of the Lord: Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. (Isaiah 55:3)
Read Luke 13:1-5
At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’
Believing that suffering is punishment for sin is common. Even Christians today claim the drought or fire or 9/11 is God’s punishment for sin and people should repent. The ‘some’ who reported to Jesus the story of the brutal tragedy perpetrated by Pilate on the Galileans believed, or at least wondered, whether the Galileans deserved it because of sin. Jesus rejected that belief and instead demanded that those who judged the suffering should repent. Do you think you’re any better, he asks, because it didn’t happen to you? No ways. Unless you repent you too could experience something similar. And in case they didn’t get it, Jesus referred to a story of a natural disaster asking the question again and giving the same answer. Repentance isn’t for someone else. It’s a practice for all God’s people because the essence of the gospel is repentance and forgiveness of sin (see Luke 24:47). The repeated calls to repentance during Lent make it an intrusive but necessary season. Repentance helps us order our lives and desires to be more in line with Christ’s.
Once again, reflect on your life and what you need to repent of and receive forgiveness for. Remember, the good news is repentance and forgiveness, which is freely given in Jesus.
Respond to Jesus in prayer
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’, and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)
Go and live obediently in the world taking responsibility for your own sin.
Reading the Bible has always been essential to followers of Jesus. I've been reading, studying, teaching and writing reflections on biblical texts for as long as I can remember. I invite you to read the Bible with me during the Lent and into Easter Sunday.