”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.” Luke 13.1-5
I wonder what it would have been like to walk and talk with Jesus during his days on earth in Israel. Was he always serious? Was he always teaching? How often did he laugh or just shoot-the-bull? How did Jesus carry the weight of humanity while among the people? What was he like just to be around?
In this passage, Jesus is still teaching. He’s “on stage.” He has a crowd and is answering questions, teaching about repentance, and making a point about repenting or perishing. He offers two examples of those who perished — 1) those Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship making their sacrifices. Jesus makes the point they weren’t killed because they were worse than anyone else, all are sinners. Also, he 2) refers to 18 people who died when a tower fell on them at the Pool of Siloam. This is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible but was news of the day. Jesus asked, were these people “more guilty than all others living in Jerusalem?” “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
These two examples are not unrelated. They are the cause and effect of living in a broken and sinful society. The world God made was good, perfect and beautiful. But Adam and Eve sinned, destroying the relationship between God and humanity forever. Our sin nature continues to cause bad things to happen to good people.
The point Jesus is making is that all people are susceptible to bad things happening. When my friend Pastor Matt Netzer suddenly died in a one car accident last January, was that justified? He was a good, godly man with a strong solid family and a church. Why did he have to die? What was the point, the purpose that resulted in so much pain of so many left behind?
We read on the news daily of tragic things that are happening. The only thing that is inevitable is death. This is why Jesu give apparently two random examples of people dying and then follows it up with the deeply applicable statement, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Does Jesus mean that if we repent, we won’t die? Yes, eternally speaking. Jesus understood the fragility of this life and the reality of the life to come. This life is but a blur, a breeze upon the wind, a moment in time. But the life that endures is life eternal with God in heaven for all who repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (See more verses on eternal life — https://dailyverses.net/eternal-life.)
We therefore have an obligation— to first, repent and believe. And second, to spread the news and share the message of the Cross of Christ. If this life is so tenuous that it can be taken away with a single act of violence, an accident or a fluke, we must take this news to the world.
What are you waiting for? Believe and follow Jesus. Then become his disciple and carry forth the Great Commission to the ends of the earth.
”O Lord God, you are good. I praise you. Thank you for loving me and for allowing me to walk in your ways. Thank you for the cross of Christ, for your suffering, death and resurrection. For the power of salvation and for the life to come. Come now Lord, fill us Holy Spirit with your love, help us know the One who died so that all might live. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen