Summary: This message was delivered the Sunday following the New York City World Trade Center tragedy.
Title: ?Why?? Scripture: Lk 13: 1-5
Type: Special Occasion ? Sept. 11, 2001 Bombing Where: GNBC 9-16-01
Intro: On Tuesday morning I was reading the Cedar Rapids Gaz., and drinking my coffee when came upon an interesting editorial for the day. Bill Ferguson, columnist for the Warner Robins (GA) Daily Sun, wrote a tongue-in-cheek editorial entitled: America Needs a Distraction?w/o Bill Clinton we?re too Focused on our Own Troubles. Before I had finished reading the paper I received two calls, simultaneously, telling me that we had gotten more of a distraction than Mr. Ferguson could have ever wanted or dreamed of happening in even his worse nightmare. And I suppose, one of the first questions that popped into the minds of millions who witnessed this event was: ?Why?? ?Why does this sort of thing happen?? ?Where is God in the midst of this tragedy?? ?What should be my response to this type of event??
Prop: This morning we will attempt to answer these three questions surrounding the Trade Center and Pentagon tragedies.
BG: 1. As bg to message want to look at time when Jesus was asked to make sense of two awful events. 2. Even in such a time period as then, people were as concerned then as today as to why evil events take place and what our response to these should be.
Prop: So again, this morning, let us examine three significant questions surrounding such an awful event.
I. Why Does Such an Evil Event Take Place? (Lk.13:1-5)
A. Evil and suffering are realities in life. (Christian Science doesn?t offer hope ??all in mind?
1. Tragedies, although not to this same level of magnitude, are nothing new in the history of man?s fallen race
Illust- In this account Jesus was asked the similar question of ?Why?? When faced with two separate incidents. These stories could have been in the local papers at that time period, as fresh in their experience as New York and Washington is in ours. In one instance Rom. Military gov., Pilate, had sent soldiers into temple to kill a group of Jews from Galilee, suspected as insurrectionists. Result was outrage! Pagan Romans trample on all that was holy in entering and defiling temple. Second, Jesus tells account of another tower, tower in Siloam that fell killing 18 men..
2. Jesus teaches His followers two important lessons in this passage.
a. 1st: Don?t be surprised when this type of thing happens. This is the natural result of living in a fallen world. Adam?s sin in Gen. 3 was no small event, it was a Catastrophe! All death entered into the world as a result of that one act of rebellion. (Could happen always)
b. Don?t assume those who suffer in such events are worse individuals than you or me. v.3-4 Jews of Christ time believed that when bad things happened was result of sin in that individual?s life. ? response to sickness or catastrophe. Sometimes there aren?t easy answers and sometimes the good (relatively speaking) die along with those we assume to be evil.
B. What Other Reasons are there for this Specific type of Event taking place?
1. Worldviews are in conflict and all religions don?t basically teach the same things!
a. Obviously it is wrong to say that all Muslims are guilty of such actions. The vast majority of Muslims are decent people, love family, attempt to get along w/neighbors. Also, those who call selves ?Christians? have been guilty of great acts of treachery. Yet, the world has been awakened to the ugly face of Islam. What we experience, others have lived with for thirty years in Sudan, in Indonesia, and other lands around the globe.
b. The official position of Islam is that her martyrs go directly to heaven:
The Prophet said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah?s cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah?s cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause." (Sahih Bukhari 1.35, also Sahih Bukhari 4.386) It is therefore not difficult to understand why some extremist Muslims (eg. the Hamas) were willing to die for their terrorist acts. Jesus said:] `` Not everyone who says to me, ?Lord, Lord,? will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven??
2. Need to realize: Our Nation is not Innocent in the Face of God, and He could certainly have allowed such an event (God is either omnipotent or not, if is, then has to allow)