Summary: Karma doesn’t determine our future lives, but Repentance will

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The Problem of KARMA

Gladstone Baptist Church – 11/2/07 am

Karma doesn’t apply to the Calamities of life OOPS

I don’t know how many of you have ever watched the show My Name is Earl. I’ve watched it a couple of times and I am not condoning or supporting everything in it, but I’ve gotten a laugh out of some of the situations Earl finds himself in. It is a show about a bit of a drop kick called Earl, who thinks that all the bad luck of life is coming his way because of Karma. In short, his life sucks because of all the bad things he has done in the past. Karma is after him and to escape from its clutches, he has to undo the bad he’s done. So he makes a huge list of all the things he has done wrong and embarks on a journey to appease karma. And so begins the wacky ride of My Name is Earl. Here is the Show Intro where Earl explains why he is doing what he is doing …

Sounds a bit crazy doesn’t it. Karma and all that. I mean it’s okay for Earl – He’s a bit of an odd ball. But would you be surprised if I heard that the Jews believed this same thing - Though they would not have used the term Karma. Open up your bibles with me to Luke 13. Jesus has just been talking to the crowd about being ready for his second coming, for his judgment and some in the crowd turn to him and tell him some horrific news.

13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 ”‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

It seems that some Galileans had gone down to Jerusalem for some reason and while they were there, they went to offer sacrifices to God. Galileans were renowned as a bit of revolutionary group – In Jn 1:45, Nathaniel doubted that any good could come out of Galilee. In Jn 7:52 the Jewish leaders were of the opinion that Galilee could never produce someone worthy enough to be a prophet. Jesus was held in suspicion because he was a Galilean and as were this group who’d gone to Jerusalem.

We don’t know any more details than what is in this passage, but somehow, this group of Jesus’ countrymen had upset Pilate – the Roman Governor in Jerusalem. Pilate was a ruthless man and was quick to squash any sort of rebellion. He apparently had these Galileans murdered as they were taking a sacrifice to the temple. To any Jew, such a heavy handed action from their Roman overlords would have made them angry, but that it was done while these men were on their way to the temple to offer sacrifices would have been disgusting.

But their anger wasn’t why this matter was brought up with Jesus. The underlying assumption being made here by the Jews was that the Galileans who died and suffered must have deserved it. They must have sinned somehow. The Jews you see believed in Karma just like Earl does. Oh – they wouldn’t have used this term, but they understood the concept. People who suffer must have sinned and their suffering is part of God’s punishment.

In John 9:1 we see this was a belief that even Jesus’ disciples held. This is what we read in John 9:1-3

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

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