Thursday, July 24, 2014

Luke 13:1-2 ESV: "There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?"
This is very interesting to me because there's an unrecorded question here in v1 that goes something like, "Jesus why did they die there?" Or perhaps, "Did God not care about the honor of His house that He would let them die there?" And Jesus answers what is really behind their question, I suspect, by cutting the heart of the matter and reading their minds. But it's not what I would have expected at all.
The Romans weren't known for their wild and unrestrained barbarism. That would be the Assyrians. Those guys would come in in their red capes, pile up the skulls of the infants they had slaughtered, and turn them into thrones to sit on. Those were the Ghengas Khan level bad guys. But the Romans? Not so much. If they came after you once they had conquered and pacified you it's generally because you deserved it. These Galilean men did something wicked to provoke Rome, like murder or thievery, and thought they could hide in the temple where the Romans were not supposed to go, and God surprised them here by dealing out justice.
Then Jesus asks a question, "And you think they were worse sinners?"
To which I would have answered "Yes of course they were! Look Jesus, as evil killers, they got what was coming to them. That's what happens when you sin like that."

But look what He says next, "No."
Oomph. Everything I thought was just upended, and then the worst part comes,  "I tell you, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
And just like that Jesus levels the ground. It doesn't matter if you have committed fewer sins than your neighbor, if you die and go to hell, it's cold comfort. In the greatest sense, all men are not more or less sinners than each other. The presence of hell is so horrid that it erases all the real differences.  Repent.

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