Luke 13:1-5 is an example of our Lord sweeping aside the agenda of those questioning Him to press a more important point. His questioners were trying to determine the connection between sin and disaster (Jewish worshippers killed by Pilate and a tower that fell upon construction workers, killing 18). They were wrestling with mystery: “Why did this happen?” Instead of the short-term answer they wanted, Jesus gave them a personal application: “Except you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
John’s Gospel presents us with (at least) four examples of the Lord Jesus Christ sweeping aside something less important and replacing it with something more important, relevant and long-term.
Legalism Swept Aside; John 5:17 Jesus Christ healed a man (verses 1-15). Because He did this on the Jewish Sabbath, the legalist “persecuted Him” (vs. 16). He responded that He would continue doing what God had called Him to do.
They were focused on their unbalanced view of the Sabbath; He was focused on the reality that He only had a short period to live and serve. They were protect-ing their power to control by setting the rules; He was focused on doing God’s will.
Mystery Swept Aside; John 9:3-5 Like the people in Luke 13, the disciples in John 9 were focused on providence, mystery and the origins of human calamity. “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” The Creative, awesome God-Man pointed out there was a third option – not his parents, not him, but this will call positive attention to God.
Then He focused their attention on something very important. Again, His application is I will continue to do what God has for me to do.
Sometimes a mystery (the unknown) clouds our lives. Instead of dwelling on it, stewing about it, or spending a lot of energy thinking about it, our Lord’s example here would be to focus on what we know to be God’s will and do it; continue doing what we are certain of (serving the Living God).
Danger Swept Aside; John 11:8-10 When warned that returning south to Judea for Lazarus would put Him in danger, He responded, “A man who walks (seems synonymous with works in the two examples cited in John) by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light.” He ignored danger to continue serving God.
Since He ignored physical danger, would He not expect His followers to at least ignore petty conflicts and honest disagreements. All of us can give into to such distractions.
Death Swept Aside; John 12:35 & 36 In verse 34, our Lord spoke of how He was going to die (crucifixion), a horrible way to die – long and painful. That conflicted with the current view of the Messiah. Assuming a person other than Jesus was involved, they asked, “Who is this Son of Man?” He could have explained Himself again. But He didn’t. He could have made a play for sympathy. He didn’t. It is almost blasphemy to suggest He could have played the Poor Me card. He didn’t.
What did He say? Again, He focused on the greater reality that time is short. “You are going to have the light just a little longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.
Conclusion: We only have a limited time to walk and work. Let’s not get distracted by legalism, mystery, danger or death. “The night is coming when no man can work.”