Chapter 13 - Mustard Seeds all Over the Place!
Chapter 13 begins with Jesus telling his followers that they must repent. After hearing their reports of Pilot killing Galilean worshipers who were making sacrifices and mixing their own blood with their sacrifices, Jesus warned that those people had perished like we all would perish if we don’t repent. Jesus mentions the fall of the Tower of Siloam on 18 workers. They were crushed and perished. Jesus indicated again that we all would perish that way if we don’t repent. However, Christ made the point that these people who were killed were not worse sinners than anyone else. Those two incidents are only mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, although history tells us that thousands of people in groups were killed during the rule of Pilot. Pilot was brutal. These two incidents tell us that horrible things happen to people for no reason at all … and not because they have done anything to deserve being killed. God doesn’t cause tragic situations out of spite.
Then we read the parable of the fig tree, which is described again later in this Gospel. At this point, the fig tree is used to depict the Kingdom of God. The tree is not in good shape, but the person caring for it asks for more time to fertilize it and eventually give it one more year to get healthy. The followers of Jesus were given more time to ’get it together”!
Jesus has mercy on a woman who has been sick for 18 years with something that prevents her from standing straight. He heals her on the sabbath and that makes the people talk. No work on the sabbath, not even healing. Jesus talks back to them and reminds them that they take care of themselves on the sabbath. If they need to chase a cow and secure it, they do it. That word hypocrite comes up again!
When I was a little girl, a nice gift to receive was a necklace with a little glass ball pendant and inside the ball was a mustard seed. Jesus talks of the mustard seed. They Kingdom of God is like that seed. Plant it; it grows; the birds pick up more seeds and spread them all over.
It is in this chapter that the word leaven is used again but in a positive way. The mustard seed and the leavening in bread expand just like the Jesus movement is going to expand.
Jesus continues to teach in the towns, but He was making his way to Jerusalem for His final days and He knows it. Pharisees approach him and tell him to get out because Herod wants to kill him.
Having said that life is short and when we are of an age of accountability, we need to get right and ready for our next life … My take-away from this chapter pertains to the horrible events referenced at the beginning. Tragedies happen every day.
Sometimes I think we might be living in the times of Pilate again. Our 24/7 news coverage … on television and through social media … keeps us informed of all the devastating things that happen. But when we look back through recent history, there have been Pilates ruling over and over again. God doesn’t cause these horrible things to happen, but I hope God continues to help us deal with them.
I like to prepare chicken for holiday meals. Check out this link for one of my favorites ways to prepare it. You can also just search “chicken” on my blog for lots of chicken recipes. Enjoy!