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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1079. Let death be your teacher (17/6/24)

Updated: Jun 17

This week in our Luke series, we are focussing on Luke 13:1-9. Today we see how death is to be our teacher. 

‘Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”’ (Luke 13:1-3)

Lesson: The death of others should inspire us to reflect on our death and whether we are ready to meet God in judgement. 

To listen to this devotional, follow the link below: 

It’s common for humans to deify or vilify those who are killed. For example, we see Hitler, in his bunker, surrounded by the destruction of Berlin, suffering mental torture as he takes his own life and we conclude that he’s a villain who is reaping what he has sown. Alternatively, we see Christians being killed for their faith and we hold them up as heroic martyrs. It’s interesting in today’s text that those who were talking to Jesus seem to be judging these people who were killed by Pilate, not as heroic martyrs, but as worse sinners. Why is this? Now, of course, there may be background that we don’t know, but, it seems to me, the way we think of others reflects how we think of ourselves. If we think of ourselves as superior and righteous, we tend to judge others harshly; however, those  who know themselves to be undeserving sinners saved by grace, view others with the love and grace that they have been shown. This is the kind of thinking that’s happening here. These people, at this time, were judging those who were so horrendously killed, as being worse sinners than themselves; they were concluding that their iniquity led to their judgement. 

Jesus challenges them to reflect on the killing of these people so as to ask not, “what had they done so wrong so as to come to such a fate?” Rather, they, were to be inspired to ask themselves, “Am I ready to meet God in death?”  

Recently, you will have heard of the death of Dr. Michael Mosley in Greece. For many, this has been perplexing and disturbing. How are we to respond? Firstly, this tragedy is to inspire us to ask, “Am I ready to meet God in death?” 

Of course, it’s good to study God’s sovereignty and how it relates to such events as these. It’s good to study how behaviour can attract blessing or judgement. However, more importantly, we must understand that we will “All perish unless [we all] repent.” All of us are sinners who will face death and judgement. As Paul tells us:

‘Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.’ (Romans 5:12) 

Jesus doesn’t define them as good people who were suffering at the hand of a tyrant; rather, He charges them, and all of us, as sinners in need of salvation - no, they are not worse sinners but they are sinners! They are not worse than us, they are the same as us! 


Do we understand that the terrible fate (the death) of these people will be our fate if we don’t seek forgiveness in Christ? Are we hiding behind our own self-righteousness? Are we feeling smug and that that we are not like ‘those people’? The death of others should inspire us to reflect on our death and whether we are ready to meet God in judgement;  as we read in Hebrews:

‘Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many…’ (Hebrews 9:27-28)


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message on Sunday was entitled, How to become a fruitful tree. In this section, we see how we are to become fruitful trees and help others to become fruitful trees through ‘digging and fertilising’. 

Please read Luke 13:1-9, and discuss: 

  • What would you say is the main message and application of  Luke 13:1-9? 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What is the shared lesson and application of the three parabolic stories of Pilate’s killings, the falling tower and the unfruitful tree? 

  • In what specific ways are you prone to self-righteousness and pride? 

  • Who is The Parable of the unfruitful tree aimed at? and why can’t it be, principally, about Christians (See 1 John 3:9-10, Luke 6:43-45)?

  • How is a Christian to apply this parable of the unfruitful tree?

  • SIV - How can ‘digging round the tree and fertilising it’ be applied to how we seek to bring people to Jesus?

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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