Monday, July 9, 2018
Now there were some present at the time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Jesus calls his people to repent. Pilate may indeed have killed the Galileans because he feared they were rebelling against Rome. Those unfortunately killed by the tower of Siloam may have been working under Romans on an aqueduct. The Pharisees, who were opposed to using force to deal with Rome would have said that the Galileans deserved to die for rebelling. The Zealots, a group of anti-Roman terrorists, would have said the aqueduct workers deserved to die for cooperating with Rome. Jesus said neither the Galileans nor the workers should be blamed for their misfortune. But instead of blaming others, everyone should look to his or her own day of judgment.
Everyone will die. That is true of being human. If one dies from a horrible and tragic accident or miraculously survives is not a measure of righteousness. But everyone does not need to stay dead. Jesus has preached that those who believe in him will not perish but have eternal life. Thus rather than asking the question “Why?” with regard to suffering, we should ask the question “What?” What does this tragedy teach me? Our Lord’s answer is, Tragedies should teach us that since death and judgment are imminent, we need to be ready through true repentance. But the worst tragedy will be the final judgment which involves not only physical death, but also potentially spiritual death and eternal separation from God.
Lord Jesus keep my mind on you, allow me to clear my eyes and open my heart to you each moment of every day. Maintain in me the knowledge that I am a sinner and my life on earth is fragile. I ask you Jesus to hear my words of forgiveness, in my everlasting trust in you, and turning from my past and dedicating myself to the practice of repentance. Amen