The Christian Adventure......

Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Luke 13:1-5 (Daily Verse and Comment)

  Luke 13:1-5

(1) There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. (2) And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all otherGalileans, because they suffered such things? (3) I tell you, no; 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 sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? (5) I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." 
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Jesus perceived their thoughts, and even though they did not directly ask a question, Luke says He "answered them." It suggests that He took their unstated assertion—that those who died must have been particularly sinful—and countered it with the truth. In both of His examples, Christ plainly says that those who died were not worse sinners. In both of the examples, He also redirects the focus back to the individual and the individual's relationship with God and away from the speculation about why it happened to those specific people.

Notice that Christ does not deny that sin was involved in some way. In fact, He clearly implies that sin wasinvolved in the examples He gave, because both times He said to repentRepentance is only necessary when there is sin.

Proverbs 26:2 says that the "curse causeless does not come." God has a cause, a reason, for the calamities He causes or allows. It is safe to say that the basic reason for a disaster is sin—somewhere. But we need to be careful about deciding which sin or whose sin was the cause. In Luke 13, Christ's response was to get his listeners' focus off the details of the immediate calamity and on to each listener's personal standing with God. The details that we should be concerned with are those of our own walk with God.

Mankind has a tremendous propensity to resolve problems in his mind by assigning blame. Once we have placed the blame, we can go about our lives without having to delve any deeper. However, because of our inclination toward self-centeredness, we frequently focus on the wrong things.

As an example, if one were to ask the average man on the street about the causes of September 11, 2001, the answer would probably be about Osama bin Laden, al Qaida, and/or Islamic terrorism. We have placed those events in a box and labeled it, "Not our fault." Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson found out quickly that America does not want to contemplate its own culpability, or its own sinfulness, as the reason God allowed that calamity. It is far easier to place the blame on terrorism than to think that God may have been displeased with us and the rampant immorality in this "Christian" nation.

Our human nature shies away from accepting blame. It is easier to wrap our minds around cataclysmic events if we can assign the blame far from ourselves.

Christ's response in Luke 13 teaches us not to get caught up in the sordid details of the tragedy, but to look to our own houses and our own standing before God. Just as September 11 should have been a wake-up call for the nation to check itself, any calamity should cause us to evaluate our own ways. Given that these events were allowed by God to get our attention, the conclusion is that our attention has been on the wrong things. Our attention has been drawn away from God, and so God allowed this jolt so that we might consider our ways and make sure we are, in fact, following Him.

Calamities, if properly responded to, should initiate an examination of our relationship with God. It should prompt us to gauge how clearly we see Him and help us to identify where we are falling short. Our response should not be one of finger-pointing or presuming that we know the sum of God's thoughts and have searched out all of His ways. Our response should be to evaluate our own houses and consider our own ways. It is only when we recognize our spiritual needs that we will take steps to have them filled (Matthew 5:6).

— David C. Grabbe

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