1. Around this time, Jesus was informed that Pilate had had some people from Galilee executed as they were offering sacrifices in the Temple. There was a lot of rumor and innuendo swirling around the incident...it wasn't clear what had actually happened, but for some reason he had mixed their own blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. Whatever the case, there seemed to be some sentiment among those who heard about it that those who were killed had it coming to them.
2. “Do you honestly think that those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “In your self-righteous opinion, is that why they suffered like this?
3. Absolutely not! First of all, you need to be much more concerned about your own need for a paradigm shift...about your own sins...about your own relationship with God.
4. But what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? That was just a random thing that happened...they weren't killed for any particular reason on their part, as far as anyone knows. Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem?
5. Certainly not...and I say again that, unless you change the way that you think about things like this, you are going to bring destruction upon yourselves.”
6. Then He told them this illustration: "A certain man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and one day he went to look for fruit on it, but didn't find any.
7. So he said to the man who was responsible for taking care of the vineyard, 'Look...I've been coming to inspect fruit on this fig tree for three years now, and haven't ever found any. I think it's time to cut it down! Why should it use up the good soil?'
8. The man replied, 'Sir, please leave it alone for one more year...in the meantime, I'll dig around it and fertilize it.
9. If next year it finally bears fruit, fine! If not, then I'll personally cut it down.'"
10. On a particular Sabbath, Jesus was teaching and ministering in one of the local synagogues.
11. There was a woman there that day who was completely bent over with crippling arthritis, and she had been that way for eighteen years.
12. When Jesus saw her, He called her up in front of the crowd and said to her, "Ma'am, I announce to you that today you are set free from your infirmity!"
13. Then He placed His hands on her, and immediately she straightened right up and began to praise God.
14. Furious that Jesus had once again healed on the Sabbath, the leader of the synagogue said to the people, "You know, there are six whole days for work in a week...come and be healed on one of those days...not on the sacred Sabbath!"
15. But Jesus openly rebuked him in front of his congregation, saying, "You hypocritical phonies! You all do your menial tasks on the 'sacred' Sabbath, don't you? You untie your ox or donkey from its stall, and lead it out to give it water, without giving it a thought.
16. So should not this sweet lady...this daughter of Abraham, who has been cursed with devilish arthritis for eighteen long years...be set free on the Sabbath day from the condition that bound her?"
17. When he said these confrontational words, His usual opponents were clearly and openly humiliated. But His audience saw Him as a hero that day...a champion of the people who cared about them more than about proper protocol on the Sabbath...and they were delighted with all the wonderful things He was doing.