Journal Luke 13 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: There were some present at that very time who told (Jesus) about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
And (Jesus) answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Or those 18 on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5
Observation: There are examples of human suffering, abuse, and wanton evil. What do I suppose is the motivation of the people bringing this up?
Do I think of or consider that God or the devil or divine punishment is behind it?
Do I engage with people who talk about it?
Analysis: I have been around people who want to talk about justice, balances, etc.
Thinking about natural calamities, I remember the talk around Katrina and New Orleans: NOLA was “obviously” judged by God, just like Sodom or Gomorrah.
Now I see I wasn’t far from a biblical example exposing my hypocrisy.
With these two examples that Jesus tackles and trying to imagine the conversations, perhaps they went like this:
- “Jesus, did you hear about what that bum Pilate did? Desecrated the weekly sacrifice, and how he did it? He killed these men, these righteous, peaceful, protesters and like a serial killer, performed a heinous act against God and man.
What do you think, Jesus?”
- Jesus offers another example: 18 people died in a structural collapse of a tower in Jerusalem. Did they deserve dying? Did they deserve dying more that another group of 18 people? Was this the Judgement of God or the task of the devil?
What do you think, Jesus?
For both the examples, Jesus replies (paraphrased): “Do you think that these folks deserve what happened to them? Is that what you want to hear? What are you fishing for?”
(Quoted) No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
What were these folks fishing for? What would I be fishing for? My guess? Physical evidence of superiority, or otherwise identified as self-righteousness.
Indwelling sin, the kind that the Gospel identifies and defines, is not the sin that I (we) want to define in ourselves. I want to identify individual sin, enumerate them, list them out and check those sins off one by one. I don’t want to deal with the category of SIN and acknowledge that I will never be victorious over sin completely: I need a Savior daily through all my days.
Paul wrote succinctly to the Church at Rome: “All have sinned. All have come short of the glory of God.” (Ro 3:23) While the tense in the sentence seems to be past tense, it is not. It is a possessive tense—everybody is in the category of sinners.
That is why I cannot claim in any way superiority over another. They need redemption. I need redemption. Daily. I need to acknowledge and confess my sin (specifically and categorically) and repent—just like Jesus said.
Prayer: Father, another clumsy posting. What Luke wrote is so familiar. The conversation around Katrina is only one example that came to mind.
Bring to my conscious the times pride of life rises and help me to mortify my pride—please don’t let me think because I follow you, I have gained some superiority of life.
Ricky Two Shoes