The tornado tragedies in Oklahoma have once again brought to light the brevity of life and the finality of death. There will be many questions as to why this happened and why did innocent children have to die. We will have some speculate on this being an act of God bringing judgment upon the sinfulness of Oklahoma and/or America. We best tread cautiously on the last point.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was asked His opinion of a tragedy in Galilee and Jesus took the high road and avoided the obvious political trap being set for Him. Instead He asked His questioners a question, as was often His habit:
“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. 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 13:1-5)
As I mentioned, there will be many in the next few days (as there already are) speculating about the Oklahoma tragedy being God’s judgment on our sinfulness. Christ has shown in our passage that this is not always so. Warren Wiersbe explains:
“…He (Jesus) made it clear that human tragedies are not always divine punishments and that it is wrong for us ‘to play God’ and pass judgment. Job’s friends made this mistake when they said that Job’s afflictions were evidence that he was a sinner. If we take that approach to tragedy, then we will have a hard time explaining the sufferings of the Prophets and Apostles, and even of our Lord Himself.”
The important lesson being taught by our Lord is that death comes to all and the most important issue in death is our spiritual eternity. Statistics prove that one in one people die. However it is important to remember that although we all face spiritual death, we all do not experience it:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
In the midst of tragedy let us be reminded of our humanness and our sinfulness. We do not know what a day will bring or if it will be our last one on earth. What we can know is that if we repent as our Lord Jesus Christ exhorts us to, then we will not perish in Hell. That is the certainty of eternal life with Christ. In all the uncertainty that comes with tragedy we can be certain of the blessed hope of being in Heaven if we choose Christ while here on earth. Our old friend Matthew Henry sums up nicely our passage from Luke 13:
“On this account Christ founded a call to repentance. The same Jesus bids us repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, bids us repent, for otherwise we shall perish.”
In all the unknown we face today, that is some pretty clear teaching.
Repent of your sins or perish in Hell forever.
Choose wisely; you know not what today brings.
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers