The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 13:1-5

Trinity IV

1. This account is found only in Lk., but the contents of these vss. is found in many places in the Bible. Only Lk. here tells us about Pilate shedding the blood. of these men and only Lk. tells us about the eighteen, on whom the tower of Siloam fell but the lesson is taught elsewhere.

2. When Job was suffering so much, his friends told him that he must have been guilty of some secret sin and that, therefore, God was punishing him. These friends were wrong. In Jn. 9 the disciples asked Jesus: "Who sinned, this man or his parents, because he was born blind?" Jesus answered that neither this man nor his parents sinned a special sin. God permitted this to happen so that God could restore this man's eye-sight for all to see.

3. We are like Job's friends and the disciples. When some calamity befalls a person, a community or a nation, we think: "God is punishing them for some sin." We try to play God. That is sin. And we think that if God is not punishing us we must be better than other people. That is sin.

4. Very likely some criminals fled to the Temple in Jerusalem and took refuge at the altar, thinking they would be safe. But the Governor, Pilate, sent his troops in and killed them right there in the Temple. Jesus asks: "Do you think these Galileans were more sinful than other Galileans because they suffered these things?" Jesus says: "Absolutely not! Unless you repent all of you will perish as did these men." Vs. 4 tells us about an occasion on which they were building the tower of Siloam in Jerusalem. It fell and killed 18 men. This was not done by a man, like Pilate, but happened with God's permission. Were these 18 more sinful than other people in Jerusalem? Absolutely not, says Jesus. "Unless you repent, all of you, you shall die in the same way."

5. What is Jesus saying? First of all, all of us are equally sinful. Rom. 3:23 reads "All have sinned and do now fall short of the expectations of God." Read Rom. 3:10-18. All of us deserve nothing but constant punishment and eternal death in hell. Secondly, we like to deny this and say that other people are more sinful than we are. Thirdly, we like to see other people punished. It gives us an opportunity to judge them and say that they deserve what they are getting. Read Lk. 21:25-28. In the history of the world there are all kinds of signs of the coming judgment: signs in the heavens, signs on earth, earthquakes, famines, wars, floods, murder, catastronhes. What does God want me to do? He wants me to repent, to confess my sins, to believe in His promises which forgive my sins for Jesus's sake. That is what Jesus means when He says: "Lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near." Every death, every misfortune among people, should cause me to repent.

6. Sometimes Christians suffer much while the people of this world have a good time. That is the subject of Ps. 73. David says he almost lost his faith when he saw the prosperity of the wicked. Death did not worry them. They were wealthy. They talked against God. They oppressed the poor. David felt that he was living a righteous life for nothing. But then, he says, he went into the sanctuary of God and began to understand. Read vss. 18-28. God was testing David. He wanted David to trust in God. Christians enter the kingdom of God through much tribulation. Acts 14:22. Jesus says in Mt. 5:11-12: "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

7. God does not promise that I will understand everything. But He has given me His Word which makes me wise unto salvation. Misfortunes of other people should cause me to repent and to prepare for death. And when He sends me misfortunes I must remember what Hebr. 12:6 says: "The Lord chastises him whom He loves and whips every son whom He receives." We confess: "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 13:1-5

Trinity IV



All human beings, because of their sinful nature, are spiritually blind, dead and enemies of God. They show this by their system of rewards and punishment. They say that God is punishing people when they suffer and rewarding them when they do good. They think they are better than other people when they do not suffer. Jesus talks about this in our text.


He thinks God is constantly paying people


He says that all have sinned and now come short of His expectations.


Every Sunday we say "Lord, have mercy on me!" Like the publican in the Temple we must always say: "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" Lk. 18:13. That is looking at it God's way.

This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.


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