“About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. 2 “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? 3 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. 4 And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5 No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” Lk 13:1-5.
Imagine the scenario above in our modern day setting. A preacher is preaching in one of the churches, let’s imagine in Maiduguri, Borno State in Nigeria. A member just checked his phone and saw Breaking News “Boko Haram just murdered some people in a nearby church”, out of fear he sends note to the preaching pastor about the event. The pastor reads it and says to the congregation- “I just heard the following news. “Listen those who were just murdered have not committed any sin you and I have not committed. But I tell you if you don’t repent you will likewise perish”
Let us imagine another scenario in Toronto similar to the one above. Again the pastor is preaching and a member gets breaking news on his phone – “ 3000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ontario today and 200 fatalities!” He sends a note to his pastor on the pulpit. Pastor reads the note to the congregation, then goes on to say: You and I are not better than all these people who died of COVID-19 today, but I tell you , if you don’t repent you will likewise perish!
That is exactly what happened in Jesus days. That is how he warned the people against perishing and gave a follow up story. “Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ 8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down” Lk 13:6-7.
Jesus by that story is telling you that He is the one pleading for the father not to come yet so that you will have a chance to repent.
Remember at that time he was yet to die for humanity. But more than 2000 years ago he died on the cross and resurrected. He has given humanity over 2000 years for them not to be cut down “ not to perish likewise” Sadly many are not listening. 2.04 million people died of COVID-19 in the year 2020. 96 million were diagnosed. 52 million recovered. Jesus is saying you are not better than any of those 2 million and if you don’t repent you will also perished in that manner.
What does it mean to perish ? Grammatically it means to become destroyed or ruined. Die or be destroyed through violence, earthquake etc. Spiritually it means to live in eternity in hell with Satan. To miss paradise, mansion with Jesus.To loose communication with God on earth. To perish is to live in a place where the fire never quenches. Perhaps you think it is not real, a pastor friend called me yesterday from USA that God showed him my mansion and he himself was jealous! I pray to reigned with Jesus eternally.
Run baby Run- Was written by Nicky Cruz, a drug addict, the story of how he ran from perishing. You need to run.
Jesus’ plan is not for you to perish . But you have to make the decision not to perish. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Pet 3:9
Urgent steps to take.
1. Don’t be casual about spiritual matters. It is the body that dies and decays. The spirit transitions. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Heb 9:27. People are too casual about spiritual issues and they become casualties of eternity. That you are going to church, you are a church pastor, bishop, worker, paying tithe and offering does not mean you are saved. Ask yourself a honest question if I die today will I make heaven if not it is tantamount to perishing.
2. Run to Jesus now. Like Zaccheus the tax collector, find a sycamore tree to climb to locate Jesus. Zaccheus could have said I am short that is why I could not see him. While there’s a will, he looked for a way out. That you were born in a none Christian home or nation, nobody preached to you, you don’t understand why Jesus is the only way, whatever your reasons, drop them, otherwise you will likewise perish. Lk 19:1-10. Find your way to Jesus!
3. Confess and forsake your sins. As they say, there is no point for the corpse to hide from the person who will wash it. “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” Lk 19:8. So many are in church they have confessed their sins at several altar calls but they are still wallowing in those sins. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy” Prov 28:13. Zaccheus said “ I even make restitution.” Have you? Are you that remorseful in your confession. Some people constantly make weekly confession, give me a break- forsake that sin once and for all! When David committed adultery and God reprimanded him he never went that route anymore. Stay away from filthiness of sin to avoid perishing. Be born again and stay born again!
4. Sustain and Maintain your salvation. Grow yourself in the word of God by constantly reading, studying, meditating and applying scripture to your life like Jesus did when Satan wanted him to perish. Lk 4 . Pray constantly. Join a Bible believing church and serve God with your talent, energy, resources, money and time. Go out and recruit those who are perishing. That is the way not to perish!
PERISH is a strong word. Jesus says repent so that you will not perish. He means assess the way you are living your life now, if it will lead you to perish in one way or the other then make a U-turn. Change your ways. He says if your right eye will make you to perish plug it off. It is that serious. Any relationship, lifestyle, life pursuit that will lead you to perish avoid it at all cost. But friend make amends today, tomorrow may be too late all those “breaking news” are silent warnings for you to take urgent steps so that you will not likewise perish!
I pray that you and I will not perish in Jesus’ name.
Year 2021 my year to discover and recover.
O taste and see that the Lord is good.(Psalm 34:8). I have tasted and found that the Lord is good. I do testify that the Lord is good.Join me to taste him.