Over the last 48 hours I’ve found myself tearing up at random times as I’ve thought about those killed in Newtown, CT. I’ve overheard countless conversation of parents that are sad, tense and angry as they’ve thought “what if it was me”? Couple that with my mind trying to wrap itself around the 1,020 men, women and children that died in the recent typhoon in the Phillipines.
What do we do with it all?
If you’re anything like me your natural response is to ask why? But, after some reflection I’ve found that’s the wrong question. “Why” seeks answers to questions we’ll never have in this life.
So what’s the right question?
“Who.” Who will we turn to?
We find this counsel in Jesus’ words recorded by a man by the name of Luke, a physician and historian that recorded Jesus’ ministry. Here Jesus is responding to some follower’s questions about some hideous evil that took place and a freak accident where a tower fell and 18 people died.
“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 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? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)
Jesus ignores the “why” completly. He basically says, “Out of all this you need to focus on doing this one thing: repent.” (Repent means to turn your back on your sin and turn to God.)
Why repent? Answer: “….unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Jesus is talking about eternal death here. He’s talking about hell.
Jesus takes the current tragedy of that day and says that it should be like a neon sign for everyone else to repent and turn to God.
Sound callous and condemning? To us, ofcourse. All we think about is this current life. Jesus is thinking long term on our behalf.
If these words are a life line for how not to “perish”, they are the most loving gift.
We will mourn and grieve, as we should. However, let’s pray for more than healing.
Let’s pray for repentance.