The Orlando shooting tragedy has filled the news headlines for many days now. Liberal minds argue over gun laws. The Obama administration continues to grant special treatment to Muslims by refusing to connect the tragedy to Islamic terrorism. And stupid pastors – no apologies, are calling the death of 49 precious human beings, most of them gay, the judgment of God.
Everyone seems to have an opinion. But what would Jesus say concerning such tragic events?
Interestingly, in His day the people spoke to Jesus about another tragedy of some Galileans who were put to death by Pilate, their blood being mingled with their sacrifices (Lk. 13:1-5). No explanation of the reason Pilate killed them is given. Naturally, as with the Orlando tragedy, people want to know why. Back in that day Jewish theology attributed these kinds of tragedies to God’s punishment for their sins. Much like, once again – and no apologies again, today’s stupid pastors.
Jesus did not fuss with them over their retribution theology. Instead, He transferred the meaning of the tragedy to the spiritual sphere and eternity. He points to the present urgent need of repentance (v. 2-3).
“Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’”
Then Jesus references another recent calamity where 18 workers perished in an accident. Rather than engaging in a theological or political debate or speculating on their guilt, Jesus once again uses their awful fate as an opportunity for the living to repent.
“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? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Friends, there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. These tragic events that are increasing in our land should remind us of the brevity of life and the fleeting nature of even our good times.
I’m afraid all the spin that the government, the talking pundits, and even, yes, one more time, stupid pastors, put on tragedies such as these is another subtle ploy of the devil to keep us from talking about what really matters – heaven, hell, and the afterlife.
How is it with your soul, friend? Have you repented of your sins? Are you right with God? Have you surrendered your life to the Lord Jesus Christ?
I end with a remarkable quote by J.C. Ryle:
“The subject of hell is always offensive to human nature. Men love to hear ‘smooth things,’ and to be told of peace, and not of danger. (Is. 30:10) But the subject is one that ought not to be kept back, if we desire to do good to souls. It is one that our Lord Jesus Christ brought forward frequently in His public teachings. That loving Savior, who spoke so graciously of the way to heaven, has also used the plainest language about the way to hell. Let us beware of being wise above that which is written, and more charitable than Scripture itself.”