The Brevity of Life and How Jesus handled two tragic incidents in the Bible!
ACTION POINT: Read Luke 12 and Luke 13:1-5!
The massive earthquake which just hit parts of Japan will resurrect several strains of discussion, not just among the educational secular elite and intelligentsia, but even among Christians, about “How can a Good God allow this to happen”?
In fact this question and its assorted versions have been used by atheists, secularists and those who hate the God of the Book (which is what the word “BIBLE” means). It has been so since ancient times, but blaming God for natural tragedies and illnesses have been increasing in its boldness in the past 300 years.
Anyone who has watched the Tsunami just wipe out houses, cars and ships in its wake during the current tragedy in Japan, would be stunned at the ferocity and sheer power of nature. A twenty foot plus wall of water, advancing at up to 560 mph, is a scary thing to watch, even from thousands of miles away in the safety of the Midwestern United States!
This brings a little mentioned incident in the Gospel of Luke. Here is Luke 13: 1-5 (NLT) “About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered?
THE TOWER OF SILOAM
Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” (Bold emphasis mine)
Two things were reported to Jesus by most likely His disciples or one of the many curious hangers-on, who turned against Him in John 6:66! One was that Governor Pilate was killing people from the same region Jesus grew up in! At the first look, some may say Jesus acted very non-chalantly to that news. He did not. He came to teach. Before one can form the proper biblical view of these hard verses, PLEASE READ CHAPTER 12.
My knowledge of Christ shows me that Christ is more interested in the eternal soul of a person than anything else on the earth – IF it comes down to such a thing. The Galileans were killed and persecuted in the Temple for obeying the Laws of the Torah (or the ancient Jewish Law). Jesus would know if their faith was strong enough and had already judged them according the Plumbline of Father Abraham!
He had the same reaction to the news about the 18 who died at the Pool of Siloam! The Lord showed His Hand when He said “YOU TOO WOULD PERISH – UNLESS YOU REPENT”!!!
Both these situations recall what Jesus Himself said in Mark 1:15 "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Emphasis mine.
Repentance is a topic for another day. To remain in focus here, Jesus actually revealed that both the Galileans killed by Pilate AND the 18 killed in the Pool accident did NOT make it into heaven! He said they perished…”unless YOU REPENT, you WILL PERISH TOO!!”
This is the first instance in the Bible of Jesus Himself saying who is already in hell! The good news is GOD DOES NOT WANT ANYONE to perish….and that means NOONE! NONE!! ZERO! ZIP! NADA! NAUGHT!
“The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” says 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT). There it is! Those same words – “perish” and “repent”!! I think if this were me, I would get it by now…and that is – God is trying to tell me something!
So at first glance, it will seem like a harsh reaction from the loving Jesus (to the Galilean slayings and the tragic Siloam accident). It would seem contrary to the Sunday message we all hear about from “tickle-your-ears” preachers. To understand His reaction here, please let us back up to Luke 12. Before I publish the entire chapter of Luke here (for the most part), I must say WHY I am doing this, and then let the Word of God get on the platform and speak for itself while I get out of the way!!!
CONSIDER THESE THREE THINGS
First, how can an atheist/agnostic/deist/doubter (for they are all the same) blaspheme or criticize Holy God as Absolute, Absolutely uncaring and even Absolutely Judgmental, WHEN THEY DO NOT BELIEVE HE EXISTS! There are only two types of people in this world – those who believe and those who do not. Under the terms of logic, those who make absolute statements like this about God, and then say there is no such things as Absolute Truth are guilty of doublespeak! They themselves have just made an Absolute Statement contradicting themselves!
Therefore, they have lost their case and credibility!
Secondly, men of all tribes, tongues and races in the Developed World – from China to Chihuahua (Mexico); from Tokyo to Thailand; from Rome to Romania; from London to Lima; from Spain to Siberia; from Maine to Madagascar and from New York City to New Zealand –have heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For centuries, since the Moravians sent out their first missionaries to the West Indies, men and women have risked their physical lives in the service of Almighty God to fulfill the Great Commission and take the Good News to the Ends of the Earth!
(Here is the Great Commission Matthew 28:19-20 NLT) “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”)
For some reason, modern man (like those before) thinks he has time to “make things right” with God because repenting and getting his/her life in order now would step on their lifestyle and what they envision as their right to a good life here on planet earth. By so doing, they have bought the very first lie from the devil – and he exists – when he told Eve in Genesis 3:4 “surely, you will not die”!!!
If you look at the obituaries in any local newspaper in any state or province of this world, you will see an increasing number of young adults or even teenagers, who have been called “home” in the prime of their lives or in the midst of their opulent busy ‘lifestyles’. From the descriptions of their lives and loves, it becomes obvious they did not have a relationship with God or were even professing salvation in Christ!
God is no respecter of persons. He gives us the same opportunities to be saved, sanctified and made right (justified) before Him. Yet modern deceived people keep putting it off, not believing it or worse – not wanting to even HEAR Him talk.
So, finally, when a tragedy happens, such as horrible earthquakes in Chile or Christchurch, New Zealand or Japan, God (through His missionaries in the flesh or on TV/Radio etc) has already given each of us, a chance to repent and be saved! Therefore when the force of Natural occurrences destroys an entire village or city, it is just simply His Timing.
Luke 12 (NLT) will be presented as written. Especially read the last section called “JESUS CAUSES DIVISION”!! It immediately precedes the news Jesus got, which I mentioned above about the Tower of Siloam falling on and killing 18 people (because Chapter 13 begins …”About that time…”
This entire passage is not one of those! Luke 12 is plain and gives a warning to anyone – Christian or not – who has incorrect notions and beliefs about the Son of God and what He is saying to us in these last days. Please do not ignore it!
IN OTHER WORDS – BE READY!!
BE READY! WE KNOW NOT THE TIME OR THE HOUR WE WILL BE CALLED OUT OF THIS LIFE!
WHY WAIT? WHY LINGER? IS THE NEXT FOOTBALL GAME THAT IMPORTANT? IS THAT ADULTEROUS AFFAIR THAT PLEASURABLE? IS THAT BOTTLE OF WHISKEY THAT IMPORTANT? IS THAT BUSINESS TRIP ALL THERE IS? WHAT IS IT?
DON’T YOU KNOW YOU CAN BE STANDING BEFORE GOD IN THE NEXT FIVE SECONDS?
WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?!!!!
CLICK HERE TO READ LUKE 12 (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)