Jesus Explains Government (And God’s Overrules All)

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Luke 13:1-5 (KJV) There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 13:6-9 (KJV) 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. 7 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? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Luke 13:18-22 (KJV) Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. 20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. 22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

Luke 13:31-35 (KJV) The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. 32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. 33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

We have just had our 2016 Presidential Election, and there were winners and losers. Some are upset that their candidate did not get into office. But I want to assure each and every Child of God that Our Father is still in control. It doesn’t matter who is in control in the White House, the Congress, or the Supreme Court. God is still in control. His Government – the Kingdom of God – will in the end prevail.

We have political unrest today, but the people had political unrest when our Lord Jesus walked the earth. If you were to put a heading to summarize what is taught in Luke chapter 13, the heading would read “Jesus Explains Government”. That’s what chapter 13 is all about. It’s about government, the dissatisfaction of the people with their government, and the fact that God is above all governing powers. Israel was an occupied nation. They had fallen to Rome.

Israel’s“King” Herod was not of the line of David, but was an Idumean (born in Edom) of the lineage not of Jacob but of Esau. Esau, as you remember, sold his heritage for a pot of lintel stew (Genesis 25:30). No child of Edom should have sat on David’s Throne, but Israel was conquered and Herod was made King by Rome. Though a “cousin” to Israelites, Herod was not an Israelite. The Roman Emperor Tiberius assigned Pontius Pilate to be Governor of Israel.

God’s people were upset. They wanted Jesus to come and overthrow Rome and restore the line of David.

But God is in control.

1 It Is God Who Establishes Governments. Some disciples told Jesus about something terrible that happened. They said:

Luke 13:1 (KJV) There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

If there were a newspaper this event would have made headlines. I can see it now. You’re having coffee one morning and open your copy of the Jerusalem Independent or the Holy Cow Times and read the front page headlines,

Followers of Judas Gaulonites
Murdered At Church By Rome!

The truth is that the followers of Judas Gaulonites believed that there was no government but their god’s government. They refused to submit to Roman authority, refused to pay taxes, and were constantly seeking means by which they could overthrow the current Law of the land. They were not law abiding citizens but insurrectionists, anarchists, zealots who would do whatever they could to destroy the hated government. On one holy day when Israel was making sacrifices agents of Pilate followed these revolutionaries into the Temple and executed them by the sword as enemies of the state. Their blood flowed in the same area where animals were sacrificed in the Temple.

People came running to Jesus. “Jesus, did you hear what Pilate did? He murdered these GALILEANS while making sacrifices in the Temple. Jesus, aren’t YOU a GALILEAN? Didn’t you grow up in Nazareth? Pilate murdered your people in your Temple! What are we going to do about it?” Oh, I can see their faces now! Here is Jesus, a Person Who has healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. Here is a Man from God. Surely He will join us in our cause and help overthrow the Government.

Then Jesus shocked them. He didn’t come back with a “let’s get them!” or a “God is on your side” speech. Jesus said:

Luke 13:2-5 (ESV) Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

God does not call His people to be anarchists, to arrange themselves in armed uprising against the government. Jesus calls us to repentance. The word repent means to stop trying to do things your way and to come to Christ, doing things and living life HIS Way. God is in control of all things. God either DECREES or ALLOWS all things according to His Eternal Purpose.

God establishes governments. The Bible is clear on this. The Apostle Paul, imprisoned for his faith and headed to almost certain death to Rome, wrote:

Romans 13:1-6 (ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

God establishes governments. The Bible says

Proverbs 21:1 (ESV) The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever he will.

God sets up kings and deposes kings. It is God Who is in control! If you are a Christ Follower you hold duel citizenship. You are a Citizen of the Kingdom of God, but you are also a Citizen of the nation where you reside. You are to speak with boldness the Gospel of Christ, the Glorious Hope of salvation. But you are never to refuse to pay taxes or to support your government in all ways that do not stand against the Kingdom of God.

God is in control. Honor God, and, insofar as your government does not demean God’s Kingdom, honor your government.

When Jesus was about to go to the Cross the Governor Pilate wondered why Jesus wasn’t more deferential to him. Pilate had many times had people before him fell to their knees, begging for their lives. Pilate asked Jesus in John 19:10 (and I paraphrase here),

Why don’t you grovel before me, Jesus?
Don’t You know I have the power to let You go?

Jesus told Pilate

You have NO AUTHORITY over Me at all,
UNLESS it had been GIVEN to YOU from ABOVE!

God is in control. It is God’s Will that Christ go to Cross for us, to die for our sins, to rise again for our salvation. Pilate wasn’t calling the shots here – the Father was. Pilate wasn’t in control – Jesus was! He could have but spoke a word and the Father would have sent twelve thousand angels (John 12:49).

Jesus wasn’t made to go to that Cross. He laid down His life.

The Father gave His Son. He laid down His life.

Unless you repent, you will ALL likewise PERISH! God is control of the powers that be. God is in control of every event. This is why Jesus mentions the Tower of Siloam. Little is known about this, but the Pool of Siloam was where people who were sick came to be healed. Jesus met a blind man at the Pool of Siloam. The Bible tells us that

John 9:6-7 (ESV) {Jesus} spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

Siloam was believed to be a sacred place, and a tower on the wall round about the city overlooked Siloam. One day that tower fell, and 18 sick people were killed under it’s rubble. Why? Why did this happen?

I have no idea.
I have no idea why sick people seeking relief would be killed by a falling Tower.
I have no idea, but I do know this.
God is in control.
And unless you repent, you will all likewise perish!

2 It Is God Who Claims Our First Allegiance. Jesus said to the Jews who came to Him “Unless you REPENT you shall ALL likewise perish”. God sustains a government for the protection of His people. Rather than tell these followers how bad Rome was Jesus spoke a parable of the Fig Tree. The Fig Tree, by the way, is a reference to Israel. His listeners – Jews – would have been familiar with the witness of the Prophet Jeremiah who in Jeremiah 24 referred to Israel as a Fig Tree. Jesus told these people who wanted Him to lead an armed revolt against Rome:

Luke 13:6-9 (KJV) 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. 7 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? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

The Fig Tree is a reference to Israel. Israel was in Roman bondage because, though she was to be populated with those who love the Lord, they ceased loving the Lord. Not everyone. There were many who looked for the coming Messiah.

Simeon looked for the “Consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25)
Anna the Prophetess looked for the “Redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38)
Nicodemus sought Jesus by night (John 3)
Eleven common men followed the Lord, fishermen and tax collectors

There were many who followed Christ when He walked the earth, and many who heard His Gospel. But there were many more who were only outwardly religious, showy but ignorant of God. For three years Jesus looked for fruit from the Fig Tree. He came first for the Children of Abraham, the Israelites. But everywhere He looked He saw fruitlessness.

The Owner of the Fig Tree – God Almighty – saw no fruit from Israel. His people were fruitless.

Cut it down! Why cumbereth it the ground?

Beloved, God’s Church is America has become in many places much like ancient Israel. It is Church in Name Only, just as Israel was God’s People in Name Only.

The Way of Christ is to bear fruit.
The Fig Tree – The People of God – Are To Bear Fruit.

I am not talking of earning your salvation. Salvation is not a thing earned, but it is a gift bestowed. But if you are a Child of God then God indwells you. And, like the Fig Tree, you are His, and He expects you to be fruitful. The Christian way of life is not meant to be easy. Salvation is free, but it is neither cheap nor easy. It is hard to be light in the midst of darkness. But have you ever considered,

You cannot see the stars nor the moon while the day is lit by the sun.
You can only see those points of light in the deepest and darkest of nights.

Jesus said in His parable that the owner of the fig tree said “Cut it down”. But the Gardener told the Owner:

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

The nation Israel rejected Christ and was fruitless. But God gave Israel a little more time. Many Israelites came to Christ, but many more resisted and fought against the Gospel. At one point after Christ’s resurrection and ascension into Heaven the High Priest and the Rulers of Israel told the Disciples:

Acts 5:28-32 (ESV)…. “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

The Christian way of life is to be the Light of Christ, to shine for Him and to tell others of Him. The Christian Way of life is to love. Not to be terrorists. Not to kill and to steal. Our way is the way of Love, the way that Christ has taught us.

Israel rejected Christ, so God allowed Rome to destroy Israel in 70 AD. The Temple was destroyed, the people scattered. Why? Because the Fig Tree was fruitless. Jesus is not done with Israel. He will one day redeem His Israel, praise His Holy Name.

3 We Are To Keep Our Eyes Of Faith On God’s Kingdom. We are to repent and follow the Lord. His Kingdom cannot be defeated. Jesus said:

Luke 13:18-21 (KJV) Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. 20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

The Kingdom is a tiny mustard seed. Jesus said a man cast it into his garden. There was no working of the ground. The Gospel message is just shared. A tiny word. A loving act in Christ’s name. That seed will grow. God makes the seed grow. Not us, but God. As it seed grows, it makes a great tree.

And a bunch of strange birds rest in that Gospel!

You don’t think you’re strange? You are. Who does God call to His Kingdom?

1 Corinthians 1:26-30 (ESV)  For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

You are a strange and peculiar people. But you are, if you have received Christ and Lord and Savior, a loved people, a cherished people, the Light of the World, a loving people, a kingdom of God’s Children. Look unto Him.

Do not be afraid of governments. Fear God, love one another, be good citizens, but stand in the Gospel.

The Bible tells us that several Pharisees came to Jesus saying:

Luke 13:31 (KJV) The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.

and Jesus shivered in His sandals! No, not at all. How did Jesus reply?

Luke 13:32-33 (KJV) … Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. 33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

Jesus knew that He would not be hindered by any government until His mission was fulfilled. Let me tell you, brothers and sisters, as long as we follow our Lord and seek to honor Him we will be all right.

God is in control.

God’s Church is the independent conscience of the Nation. We are to continue to speak His truth in love, trusting that the mustard seed we sow will bear fruit. Stephen Witmer wrote:

Herod, the ruler over Galilee, had already locked John the Baptist in prison and lopped off his head (Matthew 14:3–12). Now he has heard about Jesus and apparently has a desire to kill him, possibly because he believed it was John back from the dead. Herod is powerful and paranoid (Matthew 14:1–2), as well as selfish and erratic in his behavior. This is no idle threat. And yet, this passage records no hint of fear on Jesus’s part. Jesus’s strongest emotions don’t even involve Herod, whom he seems to dismiss and quickly forget. Herod is actively seeking his life, but Jesus isn’t fazed.”

Why? Because God is in control.
So set your eyes on Jesus.
Continue to speak the truth in love.
Be uncompromising about sin.
Be focused and comforted by the Sovereignty of God.

Rest in Him. Rest in His Promise that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord, to them who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28-32).

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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