Summary: Where is God when bad things happen? Are people who die in calamities and atrocities just getting what they deserve? Let’s discuss time and chance, and God giving us one last chance to repent. Let’s look at what Jesus said in Luke 13:1-9.
Where is God when bad things happen? Are people who die in calamities and atrocities just getting what they deserve? Let’s discuss time and chance, and God giving us one last chance to repent. Let’s look at what Jesus said in Luke 13:1-9.
Unless You Repent
Luke 13:1-3 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Were the victims of recent mass shootings around the world being punished by God? In New Zealand it was Muslims. In other countries it was Christians. What about Christians who contract a serious illness and lose their homes to medical bills? Do Christians and non-Christians suffer alike in an evil world.
Are innocent victims of war worse people than us? Are massacres God’s punishment? Pilate massacred Galileans during worship. Was their worship insincere? Such judgmental questions annoy Jesus, because as He said, we will all perish unless we change our ways. The judgment of human governments do not constitute divine judgment.
Luke 13:4-5 Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Were the victims in recent accidents being punished by God? Those who died in a Jerusalem building collapse, were no worse or better than you and me. Unless we all repent we too will perish. We love to judge the fate of others, but Jesus reminds us to judge ourselves.
Luke 13:6-7 And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’
What do you do with a fruitless tree that is wasting garden space? What does God do with a believer that is showing no fruit of repentance or faith? This is first a warning to Israel as a nation, but then also to every Christian, faith without works is dead.
Luke 13:8-9 And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”
We can’t blame everything on time and chance. One day God will cut off the unrepentant. God gives space to repent. The parable of the fig tree shows that God’s leniency will not last forever. There is a certain urgency to repentance. So let’s repent, before it is too late.
“His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 136). Not every calamity is God’s punishment. Time and chance happen to everyone (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Not every loss is punishment and not every gain is a reward. Even when punishment is due, Jesus showed God’s preference to give us a second chance to repent.
Next time we hear of an atrocity, a major sickness or a natural disaster, let’s look upon those people with pity instead of judgment. Let’s also understand that we can’t blame time and chance for everything. God is giving us a little time to bear fruit. Let’s repent before it’s too late.
References: New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation; Wilkins, Michael J. Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.; Nolland, J. Vol. 35B: Word Biblical Commentary : Luke. 2002. Dallas: Word, Incorporated. 497.; R.T. France. NICNT. The Gospel of Matthew; William L. Lane. NICNT. The Gospel of Mark; Green, Joel B. NICNT. The Gospel of Luke; J. Ramsey Michaels. NICNT. The Gospel of John. Grand Rapids, Mich. W.B. Eerdmans. 2007; 1974; 1997; 2010.; Brian Stoffregen. Exegetical Notes. crossmarks.com/brian/