As we go through the Gospel of Luke, today we start chapter 13. Jesus is ministering to a crowd when He’s asked a question. It’s the type of question still asked today when tragedy strikes.
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the 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.”
Luke 13:1-3 NIV
This is one of those timeless questions. When some kind of catastrophe strikes, we want to know why. Why were all these people killed or injured? Were they bad people? Was God sending His judgment upon them?
I’m glad that Jesus dealt with this the way He did. He makes it clear that they didn’t die because they were bad people. It just happened because Pilate, the governor, was evil.
That’s something that we have a hard time dealing with. There are evil people in power, right now, all over the earth. They cause wars, oppress people groups, and terrorize the innocent. The question many people ask is; why didn’t God stop them?
Here’s the problem in a nutshell. On one hand, God loves all people with an unfathomable Love that we could never understand. On the other side, He created humanity with the ability of self-choice.
When someone in power chooses to start a war that kills thousands of innocent people, that was their choice. For God to stop them from making that choice, would be taking away that choice. In his perfection, God can’t do that.
Let me put it into perspective. Most people would have wanted God to stop Hitler from starting WWII. However, most people involved in adultery would not want God stopping them, even though it could destroy their family. Most people would not want God to stop them from getting drunk on the weekend.
If God took away free choice from Hitler, then He would have to take it away from everybody. We don’t want that. We only want God to intervene on what we think are important matters. There are other wrongs that we want the Lord to keep His hands off.
The fact is that God has given humanity free choice. We have to live with that, even if some of the choices we make cause deep suffering. Our response should be to reach out to Christ for the cure to this dilemma.
There was another question that was on their hearts.
“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 13:4-5 NIV
Another problem we have is the matter of natural disasters. Many people call them “acts of God”. Let me tell you straight up, God has nothing to do with tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, or even COVID.
Yes, I know there are Christians who say that God sent these disasters to a certain region because He was judging them. That’s totally unscriptural. We’re now living in a time of grace. Judgment is being reserved for the end.
We have to realize that we’re in a spiritual war right now. Satan, the enemy, is becoming more and more desperate as he sees the end approaching. In his hatred of humanity, he’s shooting out volleys of his “flaming arrows” (Ephesians 6:16).
During ancient warfare, the archers weren’t aiming at any particular person. They would simply send up a cloud of arrows knowing that most of them would hit somebody. That’s what the enemy is doing now with these natural disasters.
That’s why it’s so important to keep our faith up and healthy in these last days. Remember, faith is a shield against the effects of these attacks. Our faith will allow us to continue to stand in Christ in spite of a direct hit from one of these arrows.
Question: How do you keep your faith strong during these days?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi