Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? ~Luke 13:4
Luke 13:1-5 addresses the question, “Are all tragedies the judgment of God?” Perhaps you, like I, have considered a tragic calamity such as an accident, natural disaster, disease breakout, or other unexpected, unfortunate event as the judgment of God upon people. We may have thought, “This most likely is God’s judgment or justice on this person or people because of sin.” While this might be true in a few situations, it is wrong to conclude that this is a fact each and every time. Jesus took two events that were well-known tragedies during His day to show the Jews that these events should prick our conscience and cause us to search our heart for sin.
We see the predicament.
There were two well-known events that Jesus addressed. The first had to do with a number of unsuspecting Galileans who were protesting Pontius Pilate’s killing by his soldiers who were in disguise. The second dealt with eighteen people who perished when a tower they were in collapsed and fell on them. Both events were horrible events that shook everyone up. Bad things happen to everyone. Job incurred a substantial loss in one day when he lost his hirelings, his herds, his heirs, his houses, and then, his health. Joseph was an innocent man who spent two years in an Egyptian prison. Bad things can happen to all of us.
We see the presumption.
In the first event, Jesus asked, “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans?” In the second event, He asked, “Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?” The Jews presumed that these men who died in both cases must have done some evil or sin that brought the judgment of God on them. It is wrong for us to play God and pass judgment that every tragic situation is the judgment of God. The friends of Job presumed that Job must have greatly sinned against God when, in fact, God was showing how faithful His servant was. We must be cautious not to incorrectly judge others.
We see the principle.
"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Jesus used these events to teach a powerful principle. Instead of questioning, “Why did these people die?” we should be questioning ourselves and asking, “Why does God allow me to still live?” Jesus was teaching us that the greater application is not “What about them?” but “What about me?” All tragic events should make us pause, consider our accountability to God, and, with a contrite heart, repent of our sins. We are no better than anyone else, and we should be conscious of being repentant about sin in our life. It could be that we have tolerated sin in our life that God is trying to help us to see and confess to Him for His forgiveness.
We see the practice.
There is one more thought. "What if I am the person being unfairly judged?" This happened to Paul on the island of Melita. As he was placing some wood on a bonfire, a venomous viper came out of the flame and latched its fangs in his hand. The people of that island quickly presumed that Paul was a criminal and was receiving punishment. Paul’s response to the viper and his critics was to shake off the viper into the flame. When he did so, these people saw that he was unhurt, and they changed their minds about him. If you are a victim of harsh criticism, shake it off! If you are being unfairly judged, shake it off! Let God vindicate you, but make sure that you shake it off.
Have a repentant God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Acts 9-10