Summary: When bad things happen, people have unfisished business. Jesus turns to the religious and says that they do too.
Last Sunday we were at a day of celebration of ministry and we had many things to celebrate. But our world circumstances gave us another agenda. We talked about what the real “acts of God” are in today’s world. The acts that the living body of Christ does to reach a world for God with our prayers, our service and our finances.
I want to tell you that we raised $300 last week to help relieve the suffering along the coast, then Edna and Harold took the money to K-mart and they matched our donation dollar for dollar and $600 went to the effort.
That is great and I know that it will do some real good. It might pay for housing for a family for a month, of food for a couple of families for a month. Only time will tell as to the human cost from the storm.
Today is the anniversary of another tragedy. Completely different situation. Terrorist using commercial airliners as bombs with deadly success killed over 3000 people and injured and damaged untold others. Last week, I mentioned that I wondered when it would get back to normal. Perhaps, as I think about it, I don’t think I know what normal really is anymore. There are so many things that are different and I am not really wanting to complain. Because I now from recent history that that things need to be differed for our world to be safer.
An example would be airport security. When Renee and I went to Italy we experienced all kinds of new security going and coming. The lines were long just to check our bags. And when we went into and out of gate areas, we had to be scanned which included removing our shoes and walking sock footed through the metal and explosive detectors.
Perhaps, the thing that bothers me most is the fact that the shock of tragedy seems to be wearing off.
People are still being quoted on the news saying things like:
Well you know what New Orleans was like….
They had plenty of warning they should have gotten out….
People will easily agree and it seems logical.
This world is filled with sinners and stupid people. If terrorist attacks or the Katrina were God’s judgment then all of would have been facing judgment because, when God comes to judge not a one of us will be spared our time in front of our God.
The only question is, do we have unfinished business….
Where were you 4 years ago when the first plane hit the world trade center? I will bet that most adult Americans will recall for many years to come. Personally, I was at the tire store when I walked up to the counter and the manager told me that one of the towers was struck. Everyone in the place was standing and watching the screen when the second plane flashed on the screen and the news anchor reported a second impact.
Everybody in the World Trade Center had unfinished business. There letters to be typed and calls to return and banking to be done. In for 10000 people everything about that day became less important than life.
In our scripture today, we are reminded what Jesus has to say about sudden deaths. Jesus is reminded about a time when Pilot sent his solders into the temple to punish a group of Galileans that refused to pay their tribute to Caesar during Passover. They were murdered on the spot and as the text says. Their blood was mixed with their sanctifies as it probably occurred in the outer court where the sacrifices took place.
I would guess that they, the worshipers, had unfinished business. They were away from home and they never got a change to go back to their farms and community. They came all the way from Galilee to celebrate the Passover and a tyrant orders their deaths over paying a tax.
Then Jesus answers, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no!”
Perhaps Jesus is only talking about this exact situation and these exact people…..But, I don’t think so.
I believe that Jesus was describing a precedent that we can use just as well today. Were the people that died at the hands of terrorist worse sinners than everybody in New York, Spain, Oklahoma City, Rome Georgia, Iraq. Jesus says NO!
Then he adds, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Who is Jesus talking too in this exchange? In chapter 12, it describes a crowd so large that they are stepping on each other and there were his disciples. He starts speaking to the disciples and expands out to include the crown and even interacts with them.