Summary: We struggle to try and understand that good and bad things occur without regard to persons, be they good and devout or be they back-sliders or heathen.
March 24, 2019
There are many parallels in today’s reading with the message that I shared November 17, 2017, entitled Judgment Day is Coming. If you are inclined, you can research that message at: Sermon Central.com by clicking on the button for contributors and then submitting my name. From there you will have access to all of the messages that I have presented over the past couple of years. OR, you can send me a request via of email and I will happily send you a copy.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer [b]Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46
Today’s gospel reading comes to us from Luke 13:1-9
“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had [a]mingled with their sacrifices. 2 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? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 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? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
“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. 7 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 [b]use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 [c]And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
Do you now or have you ever been going through a really tough time? Do you just not understand why you have to endure so much? We all experience times in our lives that just do not seem fair at all. I don’t think that I am alone in this thinking.
It is natural to try and figure out some reason; some mistake; maybe some grievous sin. Isn’t it? In Jesus day, the old-timers of Jewish following believed that misfortunes were the result of man’s misdeeds.
Jesus was then and is now making it plain and simple. We can no more earn goodness and mercy than we can earn misfortune. That doesn’t make sense at face value, does it? Of course, we can take chances and face consequences. Yes, we can make good choices and reap the benefits thereof. What we cannot do is have ultimate control over good and bad that befalls mankind – from out-of-the-blue, so to speak.