Jesus was questioned by a group of people regarding two tragedies (Lk 13:1-5). Not so unlike our world today, people tended to believe that if something bad happened to someone, the person must have somehow brought it upon themselves. Jesus’ response was not what they expected. He first tells the crowd that the people who died were not the worst of sinners…basically they weren’t killed because they were evil. Jesus’ reply reflects his out-of-this-world-thinking because he always focused on the eternal. His concern is that people do and will perish. He warns them that they must repent in order to be saved. He is speaking of eternal life. He calls all people to repent and to turn from their ways, go a new direction, a direction that focuses on God’s kingdom.

Scriptures
Jn 10:10, 15:5,19; Lk 13:1-5, 7-9; Mk 1:15; 2 Pe 3:9; Phil 4:13; Acts 3:19-20

Verse
“No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” (Lk 13:5)

Thought
After Jesus warns the people, he tells a parable about a fig tree (which represents us). The tree has been barren for three years and the vineyard owner wants to cut it down. The gardener pleads with the owner to give the tree one more chance, one more year. The gardener promises to give the tree special care and if there is still no fruit in the fourth year, he will concede that the tree needs to be cut down. The owner agrees. This story depicts God’s patience with us. It is not his will that any should perish, but that all would repent. However, we are foolish to risk the time we’ve been given thinking that we can repent when the time is right for us…after we sow our wild oats, when we have more time, when conditions are favorable. We do not know when the window of opportunity will close. Repentance is required to receive Jesus Christ as Lord, and repentance is a way of life for the believer. We are on a journey. We try and fail and try again. In Acts 3:19-20 Peter talks about forgiveness and refreshment. It’s an ongoing process until we reach our heavenly home. Don’t allow life to pass you by without embracing the fullness of life that is offered in Jesus Christ. Repent and focus on God’s kingdom.

Questions
Have you repented of your sins and made Jesus Lord of your life? Are you walking toward God which means walking in a different direction from the things of this world? Since you accepted Jesus what are some things you’ve had to turn away from? How difficult was that process? Did you have to turn away from some of your relationships? Today what things draw your attention away from God’s kingdom? What do you need to do to re-focus on God’s kingdom?

Response
Repent and receive Jesus if you have not done so already. If you have given your life to Christ, assess your focus and determine what things or relationships are pulling you away from God’s kingdom. Repent. Ask God for help. Begin taking steps to turn away from the things that are hurting your relationship with Jesus. Turn around and walk in a new direction—focus on God.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and patience. I so often lose my focus and have to repent and once again head toward you. Thank you for holding the door open and for forgiving me time and time again. Refresh me with the peaceful power of your presence. You and you alone give life eternal, and I know that eternal life begins now as I seek you and focus on your kingdom. I can do all things through the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.