The Nation Must Repent
In Luke’s travel narrative, today’s Gospel on the Lord’s reminders on the need for all to repent (Luke 13:1-9), is part of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-19:27) in which he prepared his disciples for their role after his passion and death, at the same time continuing to teach his listeners about the in-break of the Kingdom of God to which all must respond. In the present pericope, Jesus’ teaching was occasioned by the calling of his attention to two incidents. The first refers to Pontius Pilate’s slaughter of Galileans whose blood he mingled with the sacrifice. This incident is not attested in other gospels nor in extra-biblical literature, although that Pilate could have done this is not out of his character. It is probable that these Galileans were pilgrims in Jerusalem . They were likely in the forecourt of the priests in the Temple , slaughtering their Passover lambs, when the soldiers of Pilate came to liquidate them. In contrast with this deliberate murder of Galileans was another incident, purely accidental, involving eighteen persons who were killed when the water reservoir of Siloam fell. Luke is probably referring to a tower that formed part of the old wall of ancient Jerusalem .