Scripture Luke 13:1-5
At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”
- Jesus is speaking about two specific, contemporary events: one a human-enacted atrocity and the other (apparently) an accident
- “Worse sinners” and “worse offenders” – are they the same thing?
- Unless you repent — you will perish just as they did. What does he mean
Sometimes Jesus is hard to understand. This passage is one of those times for me. On the one hand, Jesus seems to say that events, both human and natural. are not a good indicator of the sinfulness of those who are caught up in them. And then he says “if you don’t repent you will perish as they did.’ Huh?
Reading the whole chapter and thinking about his words here, I don’t think he means that those listening are being punished because he isn’t saying the others were too.
Perhaps he means that repentance is what makes life and death make sense? Not from our perspective but God’s. The only way to live fully and die peacefully is if our entire life is oriented toward God? The fact that Jesus goes on to talk about the kingdom makes me wonder.
Regardless it is true that life’s difficulties often – ok always – turn me back to Christ or draw me nearer to him. Whether my life is cut short or I live decades more, I want my face and life and future to be turned toward Jesus and his kingdom.
Lord of Life, all will perish and all will suffer regardless of what they deserve or don’t. You are the constant, the one to whom our turning matters. Help me to see today through your eyes and not to see through my tendency to judge or evaluate. Amen.