Sunday, January 01, 2012

Suffering Doesn't Always Come From Judgment

Nobody is immune from suffering here but will you suffer the ultimate tragedy?

Luke 13:1-5 About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple.

2 “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? 3 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. 4 And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5 No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”

Ever since the beginning of time, man has supposed that if he did the right things that only good would come his way, if you do bad stuff or neglect to do good stuff then you will be punished. The book of Job is thought to be the oldest book of the Bible and in it we see that Job's friends used this logic on poor Job. We have all heard of ancient civilizations that offered sacrifices to the god's so that they will in favored by them, if you forget to sacrifice to the rain god and you will be going through a drought, that's the rationale they used. (Ecclesiastes 9:1)

In today's scripture we see that Jesus changed the direction of the conversation from a political tragedy, to a natural catastrophe. He told the crowds that in either situation the catastrophe didn't happen because the people were out of God's favor.

Instead of trying to determine a cause for the tragedies, Jesus tells them that they need to be ready for eternity, no matter what causes them to get there. The good news is that we don't have to die, Jesus said that there is a way to avoid death which is the ultimate in suffering.

"You will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God." 

Only repentance can change death from a tragic end into a bridge to a new life, we cannot avoid this tragedy by being good or being in the right family, just as descendants of Abraham didn't automatically have God's favor. (Luke 3:8) It isn't about who you are but instead it is about who he is and what he has done for us.

John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."
I am going to suffer in this world but thankfully I do not have to suffer the ultimate tragedy of death. Thank you Jesus for changing my final destination.