Sermon 14 March

This reading is a disturbing reading. There are two events mentioned. The first was Pilate’s killing some people from Galilee and defiling the sacrifice. The second was eighteen people killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them.

From Jesus’ response we could say that the issue was about the type of people those Galileans and eighteen were. There was a belief in Israel, that a persons physical disabilities, and the bad events of life, were God’s punishment on the person for their sins. Jesus uses these events to point out that it was not their sins that caused them to die. It was not God’s punishment, but unless they repent, they will meet a worse fate.

Jesus then moves on to give a parable about a fig tree not bearing fruit, and an owner calling the gardener to remove it. The Gardener fights for the fig tree to have one more year, and he will work to make it productive.

Jesus calls out the doom for those who do not turn (repent) from their sin, and the fate of the tree should it fail to bear fruit, is a message of doom, but his parable has a glint of hope.

The focus is meant to be on repentance and this is important. Knowing we sin and that God forgives is not repentance. Repentance is the acknowledging of what that sin means, regretting it, and wanting to change. If we do not regret our actions, and do not turn away, we are not repentant, and there is no forgiveness where there is no need.

In the parable, those who sin but do not turn and change are like the fig tree. God is the owner and in God’s Kingdom all are fruitful. Jesus is the Gardener and offers everyone a second chance to be fruitful.

God wants us to be everything God created us to be, but we are not. We are the product of this world, and God wants us so much that God sent Jesus to give us a reason to change, when we don’t want to change.

Repentance is not about carrying a burden, but wanting to be rid of it, and to become what God sees.