Christmas to Calvary — December 13


Repent or Perish

Now at the same time some had come to tell him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And he answered and said to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were sinners worse than all the Galileans, because they suffered these things? No, I tell you, but unless you repent you will all perish as well! Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them—do you think that they were sinners worse than all the people who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!”

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

And he told this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. So he said to the gardener, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and did not find any. Cut it down! Why should it even exhaust the soil?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put manure on it. And if indeed it produces fruit in the coming year, so much the better, but if not, you can cut it down.’”

A Woman with a Disabling Spirit Healed

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, a woman was there who had a spirit that had disabled her for eighteen years, and she was bent over and not able to straighten herself up completely. And when he saw her, Jesus summoned her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability!” And he placed his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, answered and said to the crowd, “There are six days on which it is necessary to work. Therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the day of the Sabbath!” But the Lord answered and said to him, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you untie his ox or his donkey from the feeding trough on the Sabbath and lead it away to water it? And this woman, who is a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound eighteen long years—is it not necessary that she be released from this bond on the day of the Sabbath?” And when he said these things, all those who opposed him were humiliated, and the whole crowd was rejoicing at all the splendid things that were being done by him.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Therefore he said, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his own garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky nested in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast

And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and hid in three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

The Narrow Door

And he was going throughout towns and villages, teaching and making his journey toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, are there only a few who are saved?” And he said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able to, when once the master of the house has gotten up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ And he will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from!’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets!’ And he will reply, saying to you, ‘I do not know where you are from! Go away from me, all you evildoers!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown outside! And they will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

The Lament over Jerusalem

At that same hour some Pharisees came up and said to him, “Go out and depart from here, because Herod wants to kill you!” And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I am expelling demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete my work.’ Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to be on the way today and tomorrow and on the next day, because it is not possible for a prophet to perish outside Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How many times I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house has been left to you! And I tell you, you will never see me until the time will come when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Questions for Reflection:

  • When was the last time you spoke to someone about Jesus? How did it go?

  • When you hear the phrase “hard to reach”, who comes to mind? Who are the “hard to reach” in today’s chapter? How does your answer compare to Luke’s?

  • Why do you think people tend to regard the poor as “hard to reach” and not the wealthy?

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