Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. (Luke 13:1)Jesus is speaking of an event where Pontius Pilate killed 18 people from Galilea while they were making offerings to the Supreme Being. This is why their blood was "mixed" with their sacrifices.
And those who reported this to Jesus wanted to understand why this happened - how could God allow this to happen? Were they sinners and God was punishing them?
A change of heart
Jesus responds by requesting they focus on their own spiritual lives - and not worry about others'.
So why is Jesus speaking of their repenting? And what does he mean by "perish"?
The word "repent" here has been misunderstood by many - especially those who have used it as a tool to get people to join their sect.
The word is translated from the Greek word μετανοέω (metanoeō), which means, "to change one's mind."
But Jesus is speaking of a deeper change. Jesus is requesting his students -and each of us - to have a change of heart. A change of consciousness.
Does this mean joining a certain church or sect? Nope. A person can walk into any type of church or temple, and pledge their allegiance to anything without having a change of heart.
What type of change of heart is Jesus referring to?
He is speaking of changing from a consciousness where I am the most important person to having a consciousness where the Supreme Being is the most important person in my life.
This is different from having a change of mind. A person can change their mind about something without having a change of consciousness. The mind, in fact, is merely a bank of memories based on sensory perceptions. It is not the same as changing ones self - ones direction in life and one's motivations.
Consider the limitations of the mind for a moment.
The reality is that the Supreme Being is beyond the comprehension of our minds. This is a very important element when we consider how many of us will put ourselves into a position of questioning or judging God - and assuming we can properly assess whether or not God is fair - or even whether He exists or not.
The mind is a recording device. It takes in the sensory impulses brought to the brain from the various sense organs - including the eyes, the ears, the sense of touch, the sense of smell, the sexual sense, the sense of digestion and evacuation and so forth. These sensory organs are each - in their own way - limited in scope.
For example, our eyes can only see for a few miles in the distance, and can only see when there is enough light to reflect off of objects (made of molecules) that reflect light. Thus the eyes cannot see many elements that do not reflect light. And the eyes can only see certain frequencies. The eyes cannot see radio waves, for example. The eyes also cannot see small things - such as bacteria. The eyes can also not see the matter of space - only those objects that send light to us. This is why black holes are such a mystery - because we cannot see them.
The other senses are just as limited - and even more so. The ears can only hear certain frequencies. Dogs can hear better than we can.
These limitations of the senses, in turn, create limitations in our mind. Yes, our mind can deduce logic and investigate things and make hypotheses. But without sensual confirmation, we have no way of confirming whether those hypotheses are correct.
This, of course, leads to speculation. The mind is full of speculative ideas - about who we are and God's existence and our role in the universe and so forth. But because the Supreme Being does not appear before our physical senses - such speculation is useless. It has no value.
And therefore, all those speculative theories about God put forth by so many new age gurus and new sect ministers who create their own religions and speculate about heaven and God - are also useless. Why? Because those theories are coming from their mind - a recording device of limited information.
One who has a change of heart of the type Jesus speaks of - a change of consciousness - and accepts the omniscient existence of the Supreme Being - takes another path. This is the path of surrendering our mind. It is basically giving up our feeling that the mind is capable of figuring out God and figuring out our position in the universe through mental speculation.
In other words, to come to know someone who is unknowable from the senses and the mind, one can only take one logical course of action - to ask that such a person reveal themselves to us. It means giving up one's confidence - and relinquishing it to another.
This is the path of devotion.
It is making the assumption that if the Supreme Being is truly omniscient, He has the power - and we don't. If He wants me to know Him, He will reveal Himself to me.
This is the descending process - as opposed to the ascending process. The descending process - the process of devotion - is accepting that knowledge about God will descend from the Supreme Being and His representatives, rather than come from my own limited mental speculation.
Such a descending process also means accepting that the Supreme Being is ultimately a person - a person who wants me to come to know Him and have a relationship with Him.
This is, in fact, the purpose of Jesus' appearance in this world. Jesus came here to introduce the Supreme Being to us. He confirmed this repeatedly, with statements such as:
[Jesus praying to God]"Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." (John 17:3)
"Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:23-24)So we find from Jesus' own words that he was sent by the Supreme Being to introduce Him to us.
Why would God send someone else besides Himself to reveal Himself to us?
This is where devotion and relationships come in. The Supreme Being doesn't just want to reveal Himself to everyone - especially those who want to ignore Him. He could easily reveal Himself at any point - He could appear in the sky and prove His existence at any time if He wanted.
But God has nothing to prove and does not want to prove His existence to those who'd rather He didn't exist. The Supreme Being created us to love Him and serve Him - but only if we choose to. In order to love, it must be voluntary.
God gives us the freedom to reject Him
Therefore, He gives us the freedom to reject Him - even giving us the ability to deny His existence.
This is the purpose of the physical world and these temporary physical bodies. We are not these physical bodies. We are occupying these bodies much as an astronaut might occupy a spaceship.
Those who rejected the Supreme Being were put into this physical world to allow us to be away from Him. This world allows us to ignore His existence.
But He still loves us and still wants us to come home to Him - but only if we want to. We must choose this out of our own free will. We must freely accept the teachings of His messenger Jesus. Without such a choice - there would be no possibility of love.
This relates directly to the question of how Galileans who were worshiping could be murdered, as well as another question some ask: "Why did God allow Jesus to be crucified?"
It wasn't that God condoned Jesus being crucified - or condoned the Galileans being slaughtered. Rather, in order to give us the freedom to love Him and return home to Him or not, each person has to to be given the choice to either accept the Supreme Being. Each person, therefore, has the freedom to reject Jesus and his teachings - or in the case of Pilate, the Romans and the Jewish high priests - be able to condemn Jesus and persecute his body and the bodies of the Galileans.
Jesus was not killed
This is an important point. Those who murdered Jesus' body did not murder the person Jesus, but only his temporary physical body. He, in fact, proved that he continued to live even though his body was murdered:
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matt. 27:50)
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)Thus we know that Jesus' body may have died, but his spirit - his spirit-person - left the body and continued to live. We know this because he returned to continue to teach his disciples - in a form they initially didn't recognize. Why did he return? To let them know there is life after death. To let them know that they would also live after the body died - and they weren't the physical body either.
Just as none of us are these physical bodies. We are each individual spirit-persons, temporarily occupying a physical body.
But this doesn't mean we don't have forms or relationships beyond the physical world. We don't just float up into space like a bunch of gas. We each have a spiritual form and we each have spiritual relationships - which we are now forgetful of.
And this is why God sends His representative to re-introduce Him to us. Because he wants to show us how to love Him. He wants to show us how we can commit ourselves to the Supreme Being - and come to love Him and give Him our life.
Teaching by example
In other words, Jesus was illustrating how to love the Supreme Being, so that we might also learn to love the Supreme Being:
"I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me." (John 14:30-31)The metaphorical "prince of this world" is the rejection of the Supreme Being - making those who reject the Supreme Being members. The "prince" illustrates our choice - do we choose God or do we choose to reject God and thus embrace the "prince of this world"?
Making such a decision - to commit ourselves to the Supreme Being - or begin the path toward committing ourselves - and coming to know and love the Supreme Being - is the change of heart - "repentance" - that Jesus is speaking of.
Certainly, this is not an instant thing. Real change that comes from within sometimes takes time. But it only takes a moment to decide that we want to work towards making this change.
If we don't make this decision - as Jesus states, we will "perish." The word "perish" is being translated from the Greek word, ἀπόλλυμι (apollymi) - which doesn't necessarily mean that the physical body dies as one might assume. It can also mean, according to the lexicon, "to be lost."
Yes, if we do not make a decision to turn to the Supreme Being - and begin the journey home to Him - we will truly be lost. We will have no direction in life. We will remain empty within, with no compass and no bearing.
We might be focused on fame, the family of this body, or many other worldly things in this life. But all of these things are lost at the time of death of our body. They are all temporary, and thus we will be lost with them at the time of death - unless we follow Jesus' instructions and make the decision to return home to our Eternal Best Friend.