“Were worse sinners … because they suffered in this way?”
In reading Luke 13 today we pondered the challenging conversation Jesus had with “some present” about the cause of recent tragedies. Jesus challenged the conclusions some had drawn about the cause of these events? In particular, he asked, when a tower fell down and killed eighteen people was because they
“were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?” (verse 2).
Jesus answers his own question,
“No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (verse 3).
We have seen some terrible events in recent years: there have been many extreme weather events causing fires and floods, also awesome earthquakes and tsunami’s leading to much damage and loss of life. We have also seen in past the use of human inventions of greatly destructive power used to destroy other humans in great numbers – and tragedies of plane crashes, some with many passengers.
Now atheists have scoffingly said over the years that if there really is a loving God he would do something to stop such tragedies. This is the cynicism of the scoffer who is devoid of understanding the nature of the God revealed in the Bible.
The comment of Jesus we read today is significant:
“do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (verse 5).
Most did not repent and Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed forty years later. History was repeating itself from more than 600 years before. At that time Ezekiel had written,
“Repent and turn away from all your transgressions lest your iniquity be your ruin … make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! … I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn and live” (18:30-32).
The message is the same today! Indeed it is more urgent today than ever before as it is increasingly clear to diligent Bible readers we are reaching the climax of human history.
How long before that climax is reached we do not know, but there is to
“be a time of trouble such as has never been … and none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:1,10).
God’s word is the only source of that wisdom, let us be among the “wise” who “understand”. The time left to “make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit” is nearly over.