There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5
In today’s verses Jesus is teaching a crowd that seems pretty smug about how good they are. They have compared themselves to some Galileans who Pilate had killed evidently during their sacrifices to God and also to eighteen people in Siloam who had been killed when a tower fell over. These people must have been very bad, else why would God have let these things happen to them Of course the crowd must be very good because God had spared them.
Does that attitude sound familiar today? It should because we are just like that crown Jesus was teaching. We look at other’s sins and say to ourselves “look how bad they are, I am so glad I am not like them.” When Katrina devastated New Orleans many were quick to see the hurricane as God’s divine judgment on New Orleans. When my family visited New Orleans this past summer the French Quarter, what most think of when they think of sin in New Orleans, was remarkable intact. The French Quarter suffered the least damage from Katrina than any other part of the city. Now if God was trying to get rid of the sinful parts of New Orleans I think His aim would have been better.
It is human nature to want a reason for the bad things that happen to us or to others. But we are too quick to either blame God or blame those who were hurt or killed. Did God send a hurricane to devastate New Orleans? Somehow I doubt it. Did He allow Katrina to happen, yes He did. Hurricanes are a natural part of the world God created. In the big scheme of things they are beneficial. They stir up the atmosphere and the oceans distributing heat. God did not command us to build a city at the mouth of the Mississippi and at or below sea level. That was our idea.
I just do not see God sitting in heaven looking at those of us who He might smite. God’s judgment will come for each of us. However that Judgment is for the end of the age when all will be judged. Some will be judged based solely on their own works. Those who chose to follow Jesus will be judged not on our works but on Jesus’ works. That is why we need to repent and accept God’s freely given grace. Then we will not perish but have eternal life.
Have a blessed day,