Thursday, July 10, 2014

Repent! Or Perish?

"Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Reading this is troublesome for me because on the surface it seems that Jesus is contradicting himself, or at least the picture of a nice, forgiving man who wants us all to know that God love us. But taken in context, we find that the contradiction lies in us, not Him.

The same Jesus who said this also told people he had healed their sins were forgiven. Once his disciples, assuming that there was a direct correlation between sin and suffering, asked if a man born blind or his parents had sinned. The Lord's answer was neither, but "that the works of God might be displayed in him." We find that Jesus does not adhere to formulas and calculations, but always to glorify His Father.

Jesus told the woman caught in adultery "go and sin no more." It is clear He does not condone wrong action. However it is also clear that Jesus was more concerned with the sinful nature in humans that in the specific acts that resulted in that nature.

The people speaking to
Jesus when He pronounced this warning were asking him for a response to a rumor about a heinous act, one they surely believed showed how horrible the authorities were. Supposedly Pilate had mixed the blood of people he'd killed with sacrifices. Remember that those who watched Jesus were looking for a Messiah who would be an military leader against the Romans and who would restore Israel as the world power.

The people questioning Jesus did not get what they hoped for. They might have wanted
The Lord to focus on the injustice; however, He countered that the sins of others (Pilate or those who were murdered) did not negate the truth of their own sinfulness.

A minister may tell you that the word repent means to turn around. But the way most people react to the word, one would think its meaning is, "Stop doing whatever it is you are doing that I don't like that I'm sure displeases God, and then you will be okay."

Injustice happens, and along the way we may well suffer unfairly at the hands of another. But pointing our finger at the sins of others seems a good way to block the finger of God from touching and healing us.

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