Ready to meet God?
Scripture reading for April 9th: Luke 13:1-22
“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 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. 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.” (Luke 13:1-5)
We sometimes have a tendency to make judgments about violent events or deadly natural disasters. It is easy to speculate that God punished the ones who died because of some hidden vile sin and they deserved it. Some came to Jesus with a report of some Galileans who had been slaughtered by Pilate as they were offering sacrifices. They were probably Jewish Zealots who had gone to Jerusalem to the temple and Pilate had them brutally slaughtered to eliminate the possibility of sedition. The common theology would have said that they suffered in this way because of God’s judgment! Jesus said this was not necessarily the case. The real need was for those now hearing Him to repent themselves!
Jesus then brought up another report of a collapsed tower that had fallen on workers and killed them. If these were Jewish workers, they were working for the Romans and the common judgment was that God punished them for their compromise with the pagan Roman government. Jesus said that this was also not the case. The people’s greatest concern should be for their own readiness to meet God.
Dying without repentance is the worst possible thing that can happen to anyone! God must judge them for their sins when they could have found forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus went on to warn them that they also must produce fruit in their lives. Like the story of the fig tree that had only taken up valuable space but produced no fruit, God is looking for fruit from each person and His people. His patience will run out and the tree without fruit will be cut down! It’s time to focus on our own hearts and quit judging others! Facing the Lord could happen at any time! I want to be ready!