Luke 13:1-9 records the uncoated words of Jesus regarding the reality of calamity and its connection with the demands of the kingdom of God and destroyed the popular assumption that those who suffer are more evil than those who do not.
The murder of the Galileans as ordered by Pilate while they were worshipping at the temple and the 18 people that died when the tower of Siloam fell on them led Jesus to ask “Were they the worst sinners? In both circumstances, Jesus gave the demand of the kingdom of God: “Not at all! And you will perish too, unless you repent from your sins and turn to God.”
The Lord Jesus exposed the sins we commit during calamities:
(1) The Sin of Arrogant Opinions: where we, without restraint, are tempted to interpret and render judgment regarding any situation;
(2) The Sin of Superstition where we try to buy the favor of God by our religious briberies, hoping that God will be appeased. The early believers lived by faith, not by luck. Their Christianity was not allergic to suffering, ours is addicted to prosperity and power.
(3) The Sin of Assumption: or believing that no calamity will befall God’s people. Here Jesus would say No, Christianity is not a ticket of exemption but courage and grace to be a shining model of faith in times of calamities.
(4) The Sin of Comparison: Those who are not suffering now feel superior. This sin is subtly committed when we entertain comparison, not compassion, while we are aiding those who suffer.
The all-time offer of Christianity to repent from sin and turn to God is not a ticket of exemption. It’s the only way to get right with God! The promise is eternal life, not a safe life...the promise is the Presence of God with us...not a problem-free life...it’s a call to repent, not just be converted to another religion.
· The call to repentance is general. It’s for all!
· The call to repentance is specific. It’s for you!
· The call to repentance is not for later...it’s for today!
A timely closure for this message about calamity and Christianity is for us to take seriously the spiritual insights we should remember about repentance:
· Repentance comes from the spirit’s conviction
· Repentance is not forced on anyone, it is expressed by choice
· Repentance is authenticated by change
Ø Lord, thank you for your conviction...I see my opportunity to repent. Lord, have mercy on me a sinner. Amen
Ø Abba, thank you for respecting my choice. Help me choose to repent now. Lord, have mercy. Amen
Ø Abba, thank you for the grace of chance and the grace of change. May the fruit of repentance be seen in the transformation of my appetites, attitudes and my actions. Lord, by faith in Christ, I’m your beloved. Amen