Nothing remains certain. Politics, economics, and even going to a parade all share the same level of insecurity these days in the minds of people around the globe. Many are left wondering why the world is experiencing such unrest. Why does it seem like the world is unraveling?
The answer, in one aspect, is incredibly simple: Everyone is a sinner and we live in a fallen world. But does that mean that there is no hope for having peace of mind? Are the only options to simply wring our hands or distract ourselves through amusement while the lunacy and tragedy is served to us daily? It is of great interest to me that a terrorist attack was brought to the attention of Jesus.
“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish’” (Luke 13:1-3).
Celebrants and worshippers had been murdered. This was a shocking and disturbing turn of events. And then Jesus asks a question,
“Do you think of all the people that were present that day, that only the ones most sinful died?” Jesus then brings up another tragic headline, one involving a natural disaster: “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? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5).
When Tragedy Befalls “Good” People
When that tower in Siloam collapsed, do you think that God waited until just the bad people were in its shadow before it fell? And then Jesus tells us one of the reasons why bad things happen to “good” people. Why some terrorist attacks and floods and famines take place.
“He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down’” (Luke 13:6-9).
God, in His providential love for the world “stirs it up,” “troubles the soil,” the shovel of grace intrudes and invades the lives of people to cause a reaction that might not otherwise occur—repentance unto life—the glorious fruit of confession.
For all who really know Jesus, they would quickly say, “Lord whatever it takes,” and then they would cringe and pray and hope that God’s grace would come into the lives of others softly for no one wants bombs in the market place.
We want everyone to be glad of heart but we know by experience that this will only happen through repentance.
So when we hear of bad news we know that God is in control of all things and that even tragedy has purpose. That somehow the bad is good.
To support this perspective let me remind us all of another headline: “Son of God Killed!”
That is the worst news ever but also the best news, The Good News, the gospel. The only innocent among us died a cruel and shameful death that we might live. He actually died in our place. He took the bomb, the flood, the bullet, the cross. He took what we all deserve upon Himself. That’s the story that we tell to the world around us. You want to talk disturbing? The most disturbing news of all time is that Jesus died at the hand of sinners, for sinners, so that they would not have to die but could live forever.
The questions left to those who heard Jesus speak of the truth that day and for all the people of the world in seeing or hearing about what seems to be another senseless tragedy or unfortunate occurrence is: will you consider your standing before God and admit that He has graciously got your attention?
Will you repent of your sins and join us who believe that God so loved, so loves the world?