Skip to comments.The Time is Short
Posted on 02/19/2011 5:34:14 AM PST by RJR_fan
The phrase the present time is an obvious eschatological/prophetic reference. To what particular time did Jesus refer? And what was so special about it?
Note first, that Jesus specifically refers to this timethat is, His and His audiences timenot some time of judgment in the future. Whatever Hes talking about, it refers to the people he was talking to.
Second, this time is compared to a discernable event. Whatever they should have been aware of, it was as clear as storm clouds gathering in the west. When people see something like that, they reacttake actionaccordingly.
Third, this time was imminent. When weather changes are visible on the proper horizon, it means something is going to happen soon. Jesus is not speaking of something with the likelihood of a 1000-year storm. This time requires His audience to act now.
Fourth, this time was inevitable. It was, in fact, already there, for it was this time as opposed to that or another as we already noted. But also, signs in the weather are discerned to bring predictable changes, rain or heat: the sign is discerned, Jesus says, and so it happens (vv. 54, 55). The forecast comes to pass. So this time Jesus speaks of was something from which these hypocrites would have no choice but to face.
The people then immediately prove that they have eyes but see not, and ears but hear not. They do this by pretending they have indeed discerned the times: There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices (Luke 13:1). These people were up on current events. They knew the times! They knew that the evil Roman Empire was murdering innocent Jewsand defiling their religious rituals, too! Surely, to have deserved something so terrible, these hapless Galileans were the debtors Christ was talking about.
Jesus responded by leveling their playing field:
And he answered them, Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish (13:25).
Now we have reached one of the most interesting passages in the entire travelling narrative which began in Luke 9:51. Here we do not have a parable providing the substance of the lesson, but rather actual historical events.
Too many commentaries and preachers miss the point of Luke 13:15. They too often see this as Jesus unique response to the problem of evil (why do bad things happen to innocent people?). Is this Jesus theodicy? Forget about the events, repentance is all that matters. Is this the main point?
I admit, I saw the verse this way for many years until something finally clicked. In fact, it was this passage that inspired me to begin the exegetical project. Once I realized the eschatological meaning here, the whole section and all the parables immediately begged for preterist analysis. Considering the context in which this passage appears, its inclusion here does not have much at all to do with theodicy or the problem of evil. It has everything to do with Jesus lawsuit against Jerusalem.
Were Pilates Galilean victims worse sinners to deserve such a fate? Pointless question, except as rhetorical (the way Jesus used it). Hypocrites! You cant discern the timethe time of your visitation. You are all idolatrous, rebellious, faithless sinners. The time is now for repentance. If you dont repent (soon), youre all going to perish likewise.
The likewise here I believe should be taken very stronglyalmost literally. Even if not, the interpretation is strong anyway. Its almost as if Jesus is saying just like themin the same way you will perish. These people had no idea what they were setting themselves up for in bringing up Pilate and his ritual-defying murder. These very unbelieving Jews would indeed perish like those Galileanshaving their blood spilled by agents of Rome, having their temple rituals defiled. While I dont think Jesus by any means meant this as a specific revelation that Rome would be the factor in the coming judgment, it is certainly providentially foreshadowedand I am almost certain that His audience would have assumed as much, had they expected destruction at the hands of a foreign enemy (as in times past).