Luke 13: 1-9 – Call to Repentance


This section (Lk 13: 1-9) is peculiar to Luke and is derived from his own source (‘L’). Some people report to Jesus about the Galileans who where murdered by the Roman prefect Pilate (Lk 13: 1). It is possible that the report is concerned with a recent occurrence of how Pilate had, through his soldiers, executed a few Galilean pilgrims while they were in the act of slaughtering the sacrificial animals presumably in the temple of Jerusalem. This particular incident is not otherwise recorded in secular or Biblical texts. But Pilate’s suppression of any revolt and his atrocities on Jews are well documented especially in the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus. In the story we are not told about the motive of Jesus’ informants. Jesus insists that the victims of the deliberate murder must not be regarded as greater sinners than other Galileans. He does not share the popular belief that disasters and suffering are the result of past sins (cf. Job 4: 7; Jn 9: 2-3). Rather, he interprets their sudden death only as a salutary warning to his listeners to undertake timely repentance and reform. The punch line of the episode is emphatically repeated twice: “but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13: 3, 5).

Now Jesus himself introduces another incident, the accidental death of eighteen Jerusalemites by a falling tower (Lk 13: 4). The reference is to a tower in the old wall of ancient Jerusalem, which was near the pool if Siloam. Jesus again affirms that these eighteen in no way were worse sinners than other Jerusalemites. Jesus merely wants the people to learn a lesson from these incidents before it is too late. They must repent and accept the word of salvation that he brings. Death may come upon anyone suddenly (cf. Lk 12: 20).

The parable of the fig tree in Luke 13: 6-9 once again renews the plea for repentance by showing the critical nature of the hour in which Jesus’ contemporaries live. Like the fig tree which is given a final chance or period of grace to bear fruits, so Israel must respond to Jesus’ call to repentance and timely reform. The period of his call is the last hour, the last chance before God’s judgement (over Israel). If not, there will be a fateful end.

In the context of the preceding verses of Luke 13: 1-5, any stubbornness from the part of Jesus’ contemporaries will be ‘punished.’ For inactive and unproductive Israel will be guilty of a ‘greater sin.’


  1. Thank you Sharon, I thought it strange that you would think that any part of Scripture was just the thoughts of man and not inspired by God but of course man can make Translation errors but not to deceive like the Cults do, Jesus/God of course will show us these as He leads us into all understanding as we are empowered by The Holy Spirit.

    I appreciate though that tools are helpful as long as they don’t become our confirmation and not God’s Truth , thanks again Sharon for the explanation.

    Christian Love Anne

    • Hi again Sharon , I’m sure you seek the Lord’s guidance in all you do and I very much appreciate your affirmation on my Power Point and Gods of course but what I was hoping was, if you could explain how you put them on your Blog, I have never seen this done before, it’s a very thoughtful and kind why to encourage others.

      Christian Love – Anne

  2. Hi Sharon, thank you for this very detailed account and yes, when we come to heart repentance we are forgiven and then perfected in Love. I have often said that if I was alive in Paul’s time he could never have claimed to be the worst of sinners but until we all see ourselves as this , we have not come to True heart repentance. If we break just one of God’s commandment it is as if we have broken them all and no one who has ever lived on earth except Jesus Christ can claim they have never sinned we have all fallen short of the Glory of God, we all need the free gift of Salvation in Christ Jesus, to say we don’t and have not sinned is calling God a liar.

    But there are some that are mentioned in Scripture that were more righteous in their actions such as Job, Mary, Zacharias, John and his wife Elizabeth etc We can’t earn Salvation but we will show we have it.

    God tells us that all Scripture is inspired by Him not just parts, so perhaps I misunderstood your meaning Sharon in your statement below….

    This section (Lk 13: 1-9) is peculiar to Luke and is derived from his own source (‘L’)

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne.

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