Luke 13: 1-5
tragedy. Though the illustrations center around this time, the truths of the
message can be adapted for other situations. The truths are unchanging.
September 11, 2001. It was a day that Americans will never forget. It was a day that changed our way of life forever, a day that destroyed our sense of invincibility. When the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and the walls of the Pentagon fell to the ground, citizens feared what would become of their great country. Thoughts turned to religion and to the Bible. How could a loving God let this happen? How can Christians continue to worship a God who presides over such destruction and catastrophe?
Churches opened their doors Tuesday evening for prayer and meditation. Attendance was much higher the next Sunday because of those seeking answers. Many found ministers preaching psychology and liberal doctrines that give no answers and no comfort. Their "feel-good" religion would not work in this situation.. While mankind struggles to understand, the Bible itself has answers to our questions. I direct you to Luke 13:1-5. This passage seems on the surface to be a "hard" saying in the midst of tragedy. But if you examine this text in its entirety, I believe you will come away with a sense of God's message to us today in the face of our current circumstances.
Why had this happened to these Jews? Were they not the people of God? Why had God not protected them? You will notice in verse two that Jesus never condemned nor praised these Galilaeans. Human suffering goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was not God that brought sin into the world, but Satan along with Adam and Eve. I realize that this is a fairy tale to many today, but it contains the answer to the question of human suffering.
God made humans perfect and without sin. But He gave them a free will. Eve, then Adam exercised their wills to do evil, as has every man and woman since them. We are all sinners! Human suffering is a result of sin. Each of us have exercised our wills to sin and dishonor God. Romans 3:23 says,"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" and Romans 3:10 tells us "There is none righteous, no, not one." We want to categorize sin. We want to make some sin okay, ---the sin that doesn't hurt others. But other sins are of a more evil variety. The events of 9/11/01 are put into this category.
But sin is not judged by how much innocent people suffer, sin is judged on the basis of God's own decree. It is the Word of God which categorizes sin, and God's view of sin is different from modern day Americans! What is Christ's answer to them? Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? Jesus asks the crowd how they categorize the tragedy. Then He gives God's view: I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. This had to surprise the hearers. Jesus had taken the emphasis of of the tragedy and onto the hearers themselves! Human suffering is a direct result of sin, whereof all of us are partakers. God did not create the world to be a stage for man's sin and suffering. He made the world and humankind to glorify and honor Him. Yet we choose sin everyday, whether it is the sin of hating our neighbor, lying to a superior, cheating on our spouse, abusing innocent children, our cursing using God's name. Its all sin, and we are all sinners.
To ask if God
cares is to be ignorant of Scripture. We know that God cares because
of the suffering of Christ. The Bible speaks prophetically of the
sufferings of Christ from Psalm 69:
We also know that Christ Himself cared for the sufferings of those with whom He came in contact. He never met an infirmed person that He did not heal completely. The blind, the leper, the woman with the issue of blood all were recipients of His compassion. The Bible tells us in Psalm 86:15 "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth."
Thirdly, we know that God cares because of His compassion for His New Testament people. He invites us to cast our cares upon Him, "for he careth for you." He tells us in Hebrews 4:15: " For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
These people supposed that God was somehow beholden to the Galilaeans because they were carrying out the perceived instructions of God. Jesus compares their fate to that of the victims of the tower accident in another town.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with
all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
We can see here how the emphasis of Jesus is not on the manner of death. His emphasis is much deeper. The hearers of Christ in this passage have made suppositions based on their own experiences and their own reasoning. We will see in the next point how those suppositions can be inaccurate.
Our nation is our sanctuary, our place of safety. The recent terrorist attack has jarred our feeling of safety. Our homes and workplaces have always been places of safety. Now we are not so sure anymore. Many people in other nations have lived in fear for all their lives, never sure of their safety from day to day. But America has been immune from such fear. Until now.
Except ye repent...
Just as we have placed out trust in our nation for our physical safety,
Jesus tells us that we must put our trust in Him for our spiritual safety.
Each of the victims in our passage and every victim of America's terrorist
attack went out to meet God ---whether ready or not! Repentance
is changing our mind about ourselves and God. We are NOT good or
righteous. We are as sinful as those who drove the jets into the
side of the building, according to the Word of God. God is holy,
righteous, worthy of honor and glory! He is our Maker, and He is
the One who holds our lives in His hand. It is time that Americans
recognized Him for Who He is!
The gist of His comments to them may seem harsh to us today. But Christ reminds His hearers that our concern should be with the living, not the dead. And our concern should be spiritual salvation, as well as physical safety. Jesus spoke more in His earhly ministry about Hell than He did about Heaven. As Christians, we must renew our resolve to be effective witnesses and show the world what Christ can do for men's hearts.
If you do not
know Christ in personal salvation, please hear His words in this passage
that we have examined. He is concerned about you! He does not
want any to perish. Believe on Him! Trust Him now!
Back to Index Page