LUKE 13:4-5: “Or those eighteen 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? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
OBSERVATION: Are you ever tempted to connect the dots in life? Something happens to someone and immediately our thoughts are – “Well, that is because they … (fill in the blanks). This is a temptation we all face. It is a natural response when we see someone do something and bare the consequence of their action. We can look at times in our lives when we did something and it produced a specific result. In fact, doesn’t the Bible clearly teach us that we will reap what we sow?
The answer to the questions and thoughts above are both “Yes” and “No”. It is true, we will reap what we sow. Yet, even though this is true, it does not mean that we can interpret the “cause” and “effect” of every event in life. We cannot simply look at the outward appearance of a person or event and draw a conclusion. This was the culture of the Jewish nation at the time of Jesus. For every “effect” they knew the “cause”. The 18 who died in the tragic accident when the tower in Siloam fell were no doubt the worse sinners in Jerusalem – Right? Jesus tells them emphatically – “No”!
Jesus’ point to those He was speaking to was – Repentance” is a call for ALL – not just those we have categorized as “sinners”. The Jew looked at the Gentile and the Samaritan with disgust and superiority. The Jew knew that they alone were the chosen people of God. If there was a call to repent it was for the Gentile and the Samaritan. They were the sinners! Jesus’ response was – We are all sinners! There is not a hierarchy of sin whereby some will fall under judgment and some will not. If there is no repentance, there is no forgiveness – for the Jew first and also for the Greek. When there is repentance and faith in Christ, there is salvation freely given – to the Jew first and also for the Greek. With God there is no respecter of persons!
I know I need this important reminder. I find I am tempted to judge and categorize “sinners”. I find myself separating people into different classes based on what they do and what they believe. All such classifications are wrong. Sin is sin. All sin leads to death. There is only one sacrifice for sin, and that is the perfect substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. There is only one victory over sin, and that is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is only one way to receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life, and that is repentance and faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ. There are no exceptions and there are no exclusions. There are no classes and there are no distinctions. Repentance and faith in Christ is the call to ALL! Repentance and faith in Christ is my call. Jesus’ made it abundantly clear – “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Lord, forgive me when I am tempted to judge others. Forgive me when I am tempted to judge myself. My call is not to judge but to repent. The call to repentance brings me to the realization that all I have, all I gain, is but a gift of Your Great Grace. It compels me to call others to this Great Grace. It fills my heart with mercy and compassion. It calls me to reach out to every sinner, including myself, and point them to the only one who can break the cycle and the penalty of all sin – Jesus Christ my Lord! May I always remember and practice this truth. In Jesus Name!