Friday, 10 December 2010

LUKE (Chapter 13) The purification of the holy place in order to come to “the end of all flesh” (Part 2)


The rejection of unrepentant Judaism – until the time of the end.

The majority of the Jews and their leaders in Jesus' time lived an unrepentant life.
Luke 13 verse 1-5: "There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the (other) Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all (other) men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Here the Lord reproached the Jews in His days for their un-repentance... Not only the Galileans, that were slain by the sword of Pilate, but all Galileans were sinners. Not only were those inhabitants of Jerusalem, who were buried by the fallen tower of Siloam, sinners, but all inhabitants were! This does not mean, that the Jews of Jesus' days were not religious. They most certainly were! But their religious practices and actions came from their (sinful) flesh; they did everything by following their self-will. And, even if the works of the flesh seem right in the eyes of men, they are always diametrically opposed (and thus contrary) to God's will. For God wants us to turn to Him with all our heart (and soul), so that we may be open to His works of grace; that we come to the true purification and sanctification of our life and inner being. If this is a spiritual truth today, in the days when Jesus walked on the earth and lived among men, it was exactly the same! We must therefore be willing to be delivered from our self-will! For this self-will is always at war with the will of God; even if sometimes, superficially, it seems to agree with God's will (Romans 8:5-8)!

A life without sincere repentance is unfruitful for God's Kingdom.
Luke 13 verse 6-9: "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. 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? 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."
In above text God the Father is pictured as the owner of a vineyard, and that vineyard is the world. And in that world He had planted a fig-tree, and that fig-tree is God's symbol (of the twelve tribes) of Israel. The dresser of the vineyard here is the symbol for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The three years that the owner (i.e. God the Father) waited for the fruit of the fig-tree (i.e. Israel), are an indication of God's offer of grace to Israel. In the Old Covenant time this happened through the shed blood of sacrificial animals; and in the light of the New Testament it is an indication of God's offer of grace (in the first place to the Jews – see Note 1 on page 3) in and through the sacrifice on the cross (and the shed blood) of the Lamb of God. All bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to the perfect Lamb, and thus the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, He was to spend three days and three nights "in the heart of the earth", when He fulfilled that offering (see Matthew 12:40).
Our conversion and our belief in God's perfect sacrifice and in the omnipotence of Jesus, His Son, is a necessity for God, and the only way to bring about a NEW LIFE of spiritual fertility within us (and to develop it). His works of grace had to do that for the Jews in those days, and must do it for us also today. However, this is only possible when there is a sincere longing in us to surrender all self-will to Jesus Christ; a desire to be completely delivered from our self-will. Just as Jesus Christ was killed on the cross (and had to be killed) for our sins, so too must we covet (and pray for) this process of the cross in our thinking, heart and life, whereby we express the will that we too are prepared to completely die to our old and sinful ego, to our sinful "flesh". When the Lord sees this sincere desire in us, then it shall be done in our life, so that all thoughts and desires, all our actions and walk, etc. which are not according to His will and pleasing, be de-stroyed, over and over again.
The fig-tree (type of a religious Jew) bore no fruit, but only leaves. And leaves only serve the life of the tree itself; but fruit serves the reproduction, and serves the life of others. A religion according to one’s own view therefore is always ego-centric, and will always seeks one's own advantage and honor, even if this is often hidden under beautiful show moti-vations. It is only the love of God, planted in the purified heart of man, which brings forth eternal fruit.
We also see from this parable, that our Savior is very patient, and that His sole purpose is to grant us grace (still). That therefore was the reason the dresser of the vineyard (type of the Lord Jesus Christ) requested another year's respite of the owner (type of God the Father). He wanted to give extra care to the tree (type of the religious Jew) by digging around the tree, and fertilizing it. As you can see, we have a wonderful (and very gracious) High Priest, Who prays and intercedes for us with God, and Who wishes to bring us to repentance by allowing trials in our life, and Who wishes to put His pre-cious Word in our heart. These trials and this Word of God must convict us of our un-repentance, and of our self-willed attitude; they are to cause us to repent and surrender to Him, that He cleanse us of all dead works, and of all sinful thoughts and desires.
We see the same patience with regard to the Jews of those days in Israel. The judgment of God did not follow immediately after the rejection and crucifixion of the Son of man. God waited approximately another forty years, and during that period the Gospel of His grace was proclaimed among the Jews. It was only around the year 70 B.C. that God's judgment was fulfilled over this nation. Then the city of Jerusalem was burned down by the Roman armies, and many were killed by the sword. The survivors were exiled from their country... and were scattered over the whole earth!

The Pharisee, the false laborer, came into being by the unrepentant life of the Jews at the time.
Luke 13 verse 10-17: "And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 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. 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. 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. 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 the line) of Abraham, whom satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years (already), be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? 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."
We see a woman, who, because of a decease in the muscles, had become very crooked, and had been bent down for eighteen years already, and was not able to straighten herself. It is the same with sin within us. It can bind us in such a way, that we cannot but sin. The same way the drunkard is driven to his strong liquor; the junkie to his needle; the whore-hopper to the whores; the adulterer (and thus married man) to his mistresses; the gambler to the gambling house! It (sin) then has become such in that life, that one cannot do without it anymore (and often does not want to either). How far a person who follows (likes to follow) his own will, in whichever way of life, can be driven away from the (complete) freedom of sin and bondages we (can) have in Jesus Christ, our Savior. Therefore, beloved, it is important that we obey Him in all things! Let us therefore seek Jesus at all times, that He, through our faith in His sacrifice on the cross, make it possible for us to – in and by Him – be completely free from every sin and every bondage. He will deliver us from all bondages, just as He did that for that woman on that Sabbath. It was Sabbath, when Jesus delivered her. The same way we, too, will be (completely) delivered by Jesus, when we are and remain in that Sabbath of faith – by the which are meant the rest in faith and the subjection wherein we expect everything from Him – because by His death on the cross He brought about eternal redemption from all works of darkness for us (Hebrews 9:12).
Just as Jewry by its un-repentance brought forth Pharisees, so you and I will be hypocrites in all labor for Jesus if we do not repent to the depth of our heart (and soul) in order to (be able to) receive from Him all the necessary works of grace in our heart and life. The Pharisees occupied themselves, zealously, with useless religious acts, whereby they eventually ruined themselves more and more, because these religious acts had nothing to do with (the service and subjection to) the LIVING God; with the result that they were kept in bondage of (the power of) sin. The Pharisees were, and continued to be, money grabbers and were desirous of the honor (and appreciation) of people! You can see how dangerous a religion can be when one follows (or likes to follow) one's self-will; for one only deceives oneself!

CLICK HERE if you want to read this study (Chapter 13) – that is to long for the Blog.

By E. van den Worm