There are some teachings of Jesus that get ignored because they don’t fit the narrative that is often portrayed. The kind, counter-cultural “hippy” Jesus is easy to go along with but unfortunately, that isn’t who He was. Sure, He was kind, gentle and gracious but He was also strong, blunt and controversial. We will read this week in chapter 13 one such occasion. Jesus is given the news of an atrocity where Pilot executed some Galileans as they were worshipping. Jesus, understanding the mindset of the day, used the situation to drive home an uncomfortable truth. The common thought was that if someone suffered it must be that they deserved it. Jesus addresses this error saying, “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. Luke 13:2-3 (NLT)
He goes even further to say that without repentance everyone will perish and be separated from God for eternity. This is tough, uncomfortable and necessary. We were created in God’s image and His desire is that we would trust and follow Him our whole lives – now and forever. The only way this will happen is if we choose to admit our sinful nature and ask for His forgiveness. There is no other way.
Instead of merely offering comfort or railing against Pilot’s atrocious behavior, Jesus uses the opportunity to drive home an essential truth. Pain and suffering are part of life. Brutal regimes will come and go. What matters most is where and on whom we have placed our trust and hope.
Our choices matter more than anything that happens to us. Whether we spend eternity with Christ or are separated from Him depends on what we decide in light of what God has offered.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18 (NLT)