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Categorized | From the Pulpit


Pastor Richard Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

Some things never change: tragedies happen. Luke’s gospel records that during Jesus’ time on this earth, tragedies happened.  We read: “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:1-3 King James Version).

We have no other gospel account to refer to, so to take what we have, “Jesus answering,” would indicate that there was some question of “why, Jesus?” Similarly, even today, we try to make sense out of tragedy. For example, the September 19, 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City left 168 dead with hundreds more injured; also, the tragedy of 9/11, along with numerous mass shootings, which appear senseless. 

However, people still rise up to accusingly ask: “Where was God?” There are three truths we should begin with: 1) God is sovereign; 2) God is good, and 3) evil is present in the world. Basically, our thoughts (translate opinions) is that if God is good, such things wouldn’t happen.  

Human nature is quick to form an opinion, which can be one of the most dangerous things in life, unless it is formed by the word of God. We want to believe that old adage: “What goes around, comes around,” which is what appears to be the prevailing opinion in Luke’s writing.  It was a common belief at that time that good people have good things happening in their life, while these Galileans, were obviously sinful and this was God’s judgment on them. 

In an unexpected way, Jesus mentioned the Tower of Siloam that fell, killing 18 people, and questioning “… think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?” (Luke 13:4b KJV). In other words, do you think these also got what they deserved?

There is no simple explanation for why good and bad things happen to all people; the faulty part of our formed opinions is that we presume to judge God’s goodness. It’s easy to form an opinion or take a position that sin and sinners can be judged on a scale of one to ten; to draw a line to connect catastrophe with God’s judgment.  

This is essentially to judge God’s judgment, a liberty that we take at our own jeopardy.  Again, there are three truths we should begin with: 1) God is sovereign; 2) God is good, and 3) evil is present in the world. Peter writes, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2nd Peter 3:9 KJV).  

Jesus’ words “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” were spoken in love, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV). When we repent, we acknowledge we need a Savior, and tragedy can be a motivator to know God’s truth. God sent his Son, and men crucified him because of their sin-formed opinions; yet God still seeks to save the lost today. “Whosoever” is for all of us. 

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