Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'”
Mercy is not getting what we deserve and Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Most, if not all of Jesus’ Parables, were about Grace – including the Gospel here. Even the most Devout people in our world do not deserve God’s Mercy and there isn’t a single person in the world who deserves God’s Grace. Grace is a Gift from God freely-given to all those who are willing to repent to Him and ask for His Mercy. But, Mercy comes first; Grace comes second. Sure, God can give Grace to whoever He chooses to at any time. But, to risk not asking Him for His Mercy is being cavalier with our potential resting place(s) with Him and our Loved Ones in Eternity. Consider the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18: 9-14. The Pharisee “assumes” his Righteousness and Place in Eternity and doesn’t ask for It while the Tax Collector says, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus concludes this Parable by saying, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Humility is another Gift to those who embrace it. So, in a Spirit of Humility (and without the fanfare of a public confession) let us quietly call upon the Lord in our Hearts, confess our sins and need for His Mercy, and accept the Greatest Gift any of us will ever receive – God’s Grace.