Luke 13:1-9 Journey to the Resurrection: Repent or Perish

Luke 13:1-9

Journey to the Resurrection: Repent or Perish


Remember Luke’s Purpose 

Luke 1:1-4

The Life of Repentance 

Luke 12

Chapter 12-13:9 are one setting, one teaching, the same crowd.

Luke 13:1 reminds us that the crowd asking Jesus about some tragedies (Pilate mixing the blood of some poor Galileans with their sacrifices and the Siloam tower falling on and killing some) have been listening to him teach everything in chapter 12.

So, chapter 13:1-9 is not isolated from chapter 12. In fact chapter 12 feeds what Jesus, knowing all things, is about to address in chapter 13:1-9.

Before we get to the conclusion of this teaching, which 13:1-9 is, let’s see the beginning of Jesus’ teaching and what he has to say.

I would argue Jesus, knowing what is coming in the crowd’s questions, shows them what a life of repentance looks like so that he can point them to what he just said as the point of reference.

10 Characteristics of a person who follows Jesus, according to Jesus:

1. Awareness of false teaching (leaven = teaching) 12:1-3

2. Bravery in the face of the gospel’s enemies 12:4-7

3. Public delight in Jesus 12:8-12

4. Being rich toward God 12:13-21

5. Trusts in God absolutely 12:22-34

6. Ready for the King to return at any time 12:35-41

7. A faithful and wise manager of Jesus’ resources 12:42-48

8. At peace with God and at odds with the world 12:49-53

9. Able to discern the times 12:54-56

10. Settles the account of the soul with God before they perish 12:57-59

The leaders and the people have believed lies dressed up as truths

Luke 13:1-5

You read and hear me say things like “values of the world dressed up in a Christian t-shirt.”

That language is my way of saying what Jesus said in Matthew 15:1-9 when Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 in condemning the fact that they had made doctrines out of the teachings of men.

The ruling parties had taken the command to honor father and mother and voided it by creating a law that said children could take what they should use to assist their parents and give it as a gift to God, they called it “corban”. That sound spiritual. Heck it’s even quite noble to give offerings to God, but when we nullify God’s word for the sake of spiritual and noble sounding other things we are actually in rebellion. Thus the values of the world dressed up in a Christian t-shirt.

This has been the way of the curse ever since the Garden. 

“I can be like God knowing good and evil.” If you say this with the right tone is sounds sweet and innocent and like a sincere worshipper. It’s just the Serpent’s thinking. It’s rebellion.

Idolatry couched in “God” language. World values dressed up in Christian t-shirts. Lies dressed up like truths.

Jesus is confronting one such lie, value of the world system dressed up in the Christian t-shirt of the day, dressed up like a truth in Luke 12-13:1-9.

The Lie: Never mind what it looks like to follow you (notice that the people don’t ask anything regarding what really matters re: what Jesus just taught them), Jesus, tell us about how sinful these poor redneck Galilean souls were who just got jacked up by Pilate or how sinful those employees of Herod were that the tower of Siloam fell on. Tell us the dirt on their personal sins. 

In other words, hardship, death, destruction, suffering and physical disabilities are the result of personal sin and God’s way of punishing the guilty party. This was a theological error long entrenched in the culture (See John 9; Job’s friend’s counsel; Luke 13:1-9). Good dirt. Enquiring minds want to know, right?

1. Remember Colossians 2:8 and the source of human traditions that get dressed up like truths!

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

2. Remember, demons are good teachers!  1 Timothy 4:1-2

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.”

3. Lies dressed up like truths are designed to distract from the point.

The point Jesus is making, clear from Luke 12, is what his followers look like.

The Satanic distraction is the wondering if those tragically killed were getting what they deserved, and wondering exactly how worse the victim’s sin was than their own.

4. The people had believed a lie dressed in theological language and had believed hard things were a sign of God’s punishment.

Jesus addresses their thinking:

“…do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?” 13:2

“…do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?” 13:4

5. The fact is that hard things were/are reminders and grace to the living that all are going to die, either “tragically” or naturally and, the point is, they must repent or suffer eternal punishment.

“No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

This is the point of the seemingly out of place instruction about settling with your accuser on the way to court (12:57-59).

It’s allegorical, parable to illustrate the point that unless one repents, they will perish.

The people were so focused on the tragic nature of the victim’s deaths and the supposed sin that brought it about so as to not focus on the eternal location of the victims after death. 

Jesus emphasizes the eternal location of the living and their opportunity to repent and affect their eternal location after death and the necessity and opportunity for the living to evaluate their status!

The Real Issue: Repent, Be a Follower of Jesus

Luke 13:6-9

This is the “Big Idea” of the text.

Repentance (metanoeo: meta – in the midst / together with: noeo – understand / discern / perceive with thought: in the midst to understand, thus to change course, to turn)

To repent and have faith is to have the Spirit awaken one to life by giving them faith (Ephesians 2:1-9) and to then act on that new faith by turning from the rebellion and the lies of the rebellion and world system and following Jesus in the manner he taught them in Luke 12. Repentance looks like Luke 12!

So that there would be no confusion about what Jesus just taught, he told an agricultural parable to make the point (13:6-9).

There are two ways to understand Jesus’ instruction in 13:1-9.

1. Repentance of the Christian as killing the leftover sinful nature

Romans 8:13 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Repentance is not a one and done. Repentance is the constant attitude and action of the transformed / transforming follower of Jesus.

2. Repentance of the unbelieving rebel leading to salvation by grace through repentance and faith in Jesus thus making a life of continual repentance possible

Both are in play.

Repentance and faith is how we get into the kingdom. (bad subject verb agreement on purpose)

Repentance and faith is the fruit of having been born new / reborn / born again (John 3:1-15, v. 5 referencing Ezek. 36:25-27) into the kingdom.

Let’s let John Bunyan preach verse 6-9 as taken from Kent Hughes’ work on “Luke”. By the way, Bunyan preaches to both the repentance of the Christian as the fruit of salvation and the unbelieving rebel who Jesus will seek out to save because the Father has given the sinner to him. 

“And he told this parable:“A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground? ’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”

The great puritan John Bunyan…saw the caretaker’s promise to ‘dig around it’ (the fig tree) indicated that its root structure was perhaps earthbound. Bunyan addressed the tree in one of his sermons: ‘Barren fig tree! See how the Lord Jesus, by these very words, suggesteth the cause of thy fruitless soul. The things of this world lie too close to thy heart; the death with its things has bound up thy roots; thou art an earth-bound soul.’ Then Bunyan has Jesus, the Vinedresser, address the owner – the Father: ‘Lord, I will loosen his roots; I will dig up this earth, I will lay his roots bare. My hand shall be upon him by sickness, by disappointments, by cross providences. I will dig about him until he stands shaking and tottering, until he be ready to fall. Thus, I say, deals the Lord Jesus oftentimes with the barren professor; He diggeth about him, he smitteth one blow at his heart, another blow at his lusts, a third at his pleasures, a fourth at his comforts, another at his self-conceitedness; thus he diggeth about him. This is the way to take bad earth from the roots, and to loosen his roots from the earth. Barren fig tree! See here the care, the love, the labor, and way, which the Lord Jesus, the Dresser of the vineyard, is fair to take with thee, if haply thou mayest be made fruitful.”

One must repent. But the judgment of God is not seen in the tragic or natural death of people. All dying is a gracious reminder that the living have one more opportunity to settle with the Father on the way to the judgment lest we be thrown into prison and will not get out until the last penny is paid. By the way, that is an irreparable situation. One is locked up. They can’t earn. They can’t pay. 

No, if we are alive and shaken by life, it’s the gracious work of the Vinedresser to shake us free of the curse lest we be eternal victims of the fall. 


1. I trust that the Holy Spirit will address you as to salvation or producing the fruit of salvation.

2. We will take the Lord’s Supper together in a moment.

3. If you have trusted Jesus and repented of the rebellion and daily repentance is your desire` and effort then come to the table, take the elements, return and we’ll eat and drink together in a moment.

4. If you have trusted Jesus and repented and repentance for sin is needed as the Spirit has made you aware, then seek repentance as you need to in personal examination, prayer, or confession to the Lord, or confession to a trusted friend, and seeking accountability with a trusted friend then come to the table, take the elements, return and we’ll eat together in a moment.

5. If you have tasted the awakening work of the Spirit and have faith and want to repent and follow Jesus, you may see a pastor in the back and they will pray with you, counsel you and help you as you begin the journey of following Jesus.

6. Come to the table as conscience and the Spirit dictate. We’ll eat and drink together in a moment.

7. After we eat and drink, we’ll respond in worship. All are alive, thus Jesus has been good. We will celebrate and enjoy the grace of God.

Live Like a Narnian

In this video, Joe Rigney does a marvelous job of unpacking some discipleship principles gleaned from Narnia.

If you’ve been around me long enough you’ve heard some Narnian tales. I love those children’s books, and I still read them. I’m reading “The Silver Chair” now.

The allegorical work done by one of my heroes, C.S. Lewis, is unparalleled in my opinion.

I think I’m Puddleglum.

This will be the best 43:43 you spend all week. I promise.

Some Barriers to Discipleship

Some Barriers to Discipleship

In my bible reading for the day, my New Testament passage was Luke 14. The chapter ends with King Jesus expounding on the cost of discipleship. The Lord says that those who follow him must take up their cross and renounce everything else to be his disciple.

That’s a heavy cost. However, that usually does not get proclaimed at the average evangelistic appeal. We usually emphasize a gospel of salvation. Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of salvation focuses on rescue from hell. The gospel of the kingdom focuses on salvation to fulfill the creation mandate in the Great Commission. Check it out. If you don’t believe me, read the gospels. See what the inspired authors say Jesus preached. Jesus preached about the good news of his rule come to take back all that was lost at the fall and the breaking of the curse. No doubt that includes the rescue of rebels, but those rebels are rescued to be set on the task of subduing every domain of society to bring it under the rule of Jesus (See Ephesians 1:7-10).

If we focus on the gospel of salvation rather than the gospel of the kingdom we get people who want Jesus for heaven but refuse to take up crosses or renounce everything.

The kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field that when a man finds it he sells everything and buys that field because the treasure is better. The treasure is the rule of Christ over all things. One who is rescued by the good news desires the kingdom not what he has accumulated, therefore, he will sell it all to have the rule of Jesus because Jesus is better.

We say that disciples “hear” and “obey” Jesus. He who hears these words and does them is a wise man who built his house on the rock. Nothing could tear that house down because it was founded on Jesus’ kingdom. To hear Jesus and obey Jesus requires that we take up crosses and renounce everything else that is not kingdom.

Here are a few obstacles I’ve noticed to discipleship in our town.

1. Biblical Literacy

Quite honestly, I have Muslim friends who I love to dialogue with about the bible, Jesus, Christian theology versus Islamic theology. I want them to believe the good news of Jesus. They want me to convert to Islam. It’s mutual respect and mutual desire for the other to believe. By the way, that’s why we like freedom. We have the opportunity to discuss our faith in the public square so that disciples can be made without fear.

Here is what I notice. My Muslim friends know the gospels better than many who say they are disciples of Jesus. How can this be?

Many Protestants have forgotten one of the great advances of the Reformation and that is the bible in the language of the people so they can read it and they can exercise their priesthood. Christians just don’t read their bibles consistently enough to make the connections and have the truths impact their thinking and acting. This is a barrier to discipleship.

2. Discernment

Many people who say they are disciples simply cannot discern truth from error. Of course this is spiritual warfare. Heck, many even doubt there is such a thing. They are more naturalists than Christians.

The bible affirms that Satan comes disguised as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15). This text flat out implies that Satanic deception comes in the form of false teachers. Satan is a teacher. Satan is a false theologian. Satan brought false theological ideas wrapped in cultural and physical temptations to the Lord Jesus in his wilderness experience. It is no different for us who follow Jesus.

It is sad that many who profess to be disciples have incorporated cultural norms as truths and dressed them in Christian garb to their deception.

The lack of Holy Spirit discernment (see John 14-16) is deadly. It’s like one’s immune system failing to work. Without Holy Spirit dependence we are going to have the cancer of lies invade and kill our souls. We have to recapture the role of the Holy Spirit in our theology in the circles I run in. Many in my tribe are afraid of the Spirit and have neatly constructed walls to keep any manifestation of the Spirit at bay. That’s not good. Jesus said it was to our advantage that he go away and send Holy Spirit to counsel, indwell, lead and remind. We must recapture the transcendent and supernatural evident in the great awakenings and in the church global if we are to grow in our discipleship. It’s messy, but that’s why we have the Manual to sort it out.

3. Child-like Faith

I will often have people ask me why I believe the things I believe and try to put me into categories like “Calvinist” or “Reformed Charismatic” or “Not a real church” (because are not swimming in debt for an unnecessary building).

I have taken to responding with the question (first rule of apologetics: question the questioner): why don’t you believe “x” or “y” since it’s clearly written in the bible? That’s not to shame or disgrace anyone. It’s truly my question. Why not believe something that is clearly proclaimed in Scripture? Why must I reason myself out of what is clearly written?

Reason and logic are tools of the kingdom. But when they become tools to work our way out of simply taking the plain meaning of texts then we have abused reason and logic. No doubt there are hard texts and genres of biblical writing that are harder to exegete. That’s why we teach people how to study the bible. But some things are clear. They are just contrary to the curse and fallen man’s desire for himself to be God.

People were always tripping over Jesus’ teaching. It’s not because Jesus was unclear. It’s because they were unregenerate.

We must be good with what the bible teaches, properly understand it and then apply it’s implications to our methods.

That leads us to number 4.

4. Advance to understand that what one incorporates as foundational doctrines does really affect your practice

Finally, folks must begin to realize that if one really believes something it has to affect your practice. If we say we believe the “Great Commission” but never place our skin in the global game, then we don’t believe Jesus really said to do that.

We’ve created the non-existent line between belief and action. Belief is action biblically. There is no such thing as real knowledge divorced from action. If one says they believe that disciples should be made globally but spend all of the budget on padding ministry for comfortable evangelicals, then they don’t really believe disciples should be made globally.

We have to grow beyond doing church the way we think it should be done to doing it consistently with the foundational doctrines of the faith. This takes hard thinking, hard planning, hard restructuring, career changes, financial obligation, relationships shifting, etc.

The call is to follow Jesus. That’s being a disciple. Following Jesus. Simple yet so challenging.

Luke 9:28-36 Journey to the Resurrection, The Transfiguration

Luke 9:28-36

Journey to the Resurrection: Luke 9:28-36 The Transfiguration


Remember Luke’s purpose: Luke 1:1-4 

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

Luke 9:28-36 is a “come and see glory” passage. 

It is not the type of text where there is much “go do these three things”.

This is, however, the type of text where we simply feast our souls on the majesty and glory of Jesus.

Sometimes we don’t need things to do other than stand in awe and worship. I would argue seeing glory will do more for mobilizing “doing” than telling people to go “do”.

So, the invitation this morning is to “come and see”, “feast your soul on the finest of fare.”

Why not liberally spread the account of the transfiguration? The prophetic word is better than the experience. 2 Peter 1:16-19

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Be careful looking for signs and experiences when we have the living and active, sharper than a two edged sword of the word (Hebrews 4:12).

Don’t miss the supernatural word looking for a sign. Jesus said that was characteristic of an evil generation. (Luke 11:29-32)

The “Big Idea” is: Jesus is the eternal Son, the glory of God the Father, so listen to him (obey him)

The Old Testament Parallels are too thick to deal with in our short time.

The Banner Over The Big Idea: God’s “glory” returns, as we see Jesus’ appearance changed and the cloud of glory descends on the mountain 9:29, 34 

In order to see the significance of verses 29 and 34 we have to go back to the Old Testament so we can pick up on the parallels.

1. The cloud and the fire after Egypt in the wilderness Exodus 16:10

  • The cloud of glory descends to meet with Moses
  • The cloud leads by day and fire by night

2. Moses in the presence of God’s glory Exodus 24:15-18; 33:17-23

– The cloud and the fire and the glory are one and the same.

3. The tabernacle and the cloud Exodus 40:34-38

– The tabernacle is assembled and the cloud of glory fills it and the holiness is so thick Moses can’t go in!

4. The temple and the cloud 1 Kings 8:10-11

– The ark is brought in and the cloud of glory fills the temple and the holiness and glory is so thick the priests can’t stand to do their job. They literally can’t stand up.

5. Glory departing Ezekiel 8-10

– Due to the idolatry of the elders, the women weeping for Tammuz, and the men with their backs to the temple, facing east worshiping the sun, the Glory of the Lord leaves the temple.

– But hope abounds as in the next chapter (11:14-20) the promise is that although the Lord will send them away, he will be present and bring his people back and remove their hearts of stone and give them a heart of flesh (regeneration).

6. Jesus, the glory returning Luke 2:13, 14; John 1:14

We come to the New Testament and the writers make it a point to connect Jesus with/as the God of glory in the Old Testament.

“Glory to God in the highest…”; Why? Because the Savior, Christ the Lord, Immanuel, has come.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

1. Jesus is “Immanuel”, God with us Matthew 1:23

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.”

2. Jesus is the glory of God Hebrews 1:1-3

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

3. Jesus is the cloud and fire that led the people Jude 5

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”


4. Jesus is the one who met Moses on the mountain and wrote on the tablets and made Moses’ face glow.

5. Jesus is the one who descended in the tabernacle.

6. Jesus is the one who filled the temple.

7. Jesus is the one who left during Ezekiel’s day.

8. Jesus is the one now come to redeem, restore and expand his rule.


Jesus’ transfiguration is not isolated from the other texts 9:28

Jesus has just heard them confess who he is and he has taught some hard things:

1. Peter confesses to Jesus’ identity

2. Jesus foretells of his death and resurrection

3. Jesus tells them they must be willing to take up their cross and follow in his footsteps

This makes the transfiguration a key moment in the lives of those who witness it and those who will hear their testimony. There are hard times coming, and they needed to know and bear witness to the fact that Jesus is glorious. He is who we know him to be.

These men would be inspired authors of the prophetic word! They needed to see this for the sake of the mission.

Jesus’ “exodus” is the topic of discussion 9:30-31

The topic of discussion with Jesus, Moses and Elijah is Jesus’ “exodus”.

The cross is the event that the first “exodus” is pointing to in salvation history.

1. The people are “passed over” through the sacrifice of a perfect lamb without blemish

2. The people are led out of bondage to freely belong to and worship the Lord Jesus

3. The people are to inherit a kingdom where the Lord reigns over them as king


1. Jesus is our passover lamb 1 Corinthians 5:7

2. Jesus takes us from our dead state and adopts us as his that we may worship him without hindrance Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 8

3. Jesus has transferred us from the domain of darkness into the kingdom as heirs with him of the whole creation Colossians 1:13; Matthew 5:5

Moses and Elijah show us God is not the God of the dead, but of the living 9:30

Why Moses and Elijah? Lot’s of possible reasons, but we’d be guessing. For whatever reason, these two are here alive and conversing with the Lord Jesus.

This is big considering Jesus just told them they would have to take up a cross too.

Mark 12:18-27 tells us about an encounter where Jesus gets asked a conundrum question, by people who don’t believe there is a resurrection, if in fact a resurrection took place when brothers tried to raise up children for previously deceased brothers regarding whose wife the girl would be. Confusing. Yes.

So, Jesus takes advantage of the opportunity to point out their lack of knowledge of the Scriptures and their failure to know the power of God (v. 24) by pointing out that God told Moses he was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who are in fact, alive and well, thus the reason there will be a resurrection. The dead are not really dead. Their bodies finally broke down all the way, but they are alive and he is their God and they will be raised to a new body one day.

Jesus does answer their question. There will be no marriage in the eternal kingdom. So, no worries on whose wife she’ll be. Jesus addressed the bigger issue. Resurrection.

Jesus just blew up those Sadducees.





Moses and Elijah are not dead!

The Father gives information and instruction regarding the glorious Jesus  9:34, 35

Jesus is the Son. Listen to him.

Listen is the bible’s way of saying, “obey him.”

To obey Jesus is to worship Jesus.

Jesus confronts the demonic opposition to his kingdom after coming down from revealing himself to Peter, James and John 9:37-43a

“A man begged Jesus to look at his demon-possessed son, whom the other disciples had been unable to help. In stark contrast with the disciples, only Jesus could help the boy—just as He is the only One who can help the world.”

1. The glory of God come to redeem is THE help and hope of the world.


Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

Why We Cherish the Doctrine of God’s Providence

I just had lunch with a friend who needed to hear that where they are is not merely the result of the deeds of other people nor the result of their failure in any way. Rather, as Psalm 105:16-22 affirms, the Lord sent him in a new direction for good and redemptive purposes.

No doubt, Joseph, who the Psalmist writes about, could not see this in the middle of the hardships, but he came to see it. Therefore, he said, under inspiration, Genesis 50:20, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good…” Even when evil people do bad things to us, our good Father is at work to will and work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

For those of us who have received hard things at the hands of other people, the doctrine of God’s providence is the healing agent that keeps us upright. If the Scriptures affirmed that I was left up to the whims of people or Satan, I’d be a basket case. Job reminds us that Satan even has to get permission to assault us. We are not left to the hands and decisions of people alone. Mysterious, yet healing truth. Romans 8:28 is clear that God works all things together for our good. It’s God at work, not merely the evil hands of evil people. Good Father takes what is meant for evil and works it for the good of his people.

Here is an example of this truth applied from Monty Williams, who just lost his wife in a car accident. Monty is an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Give this video a watch.