Luk 13:1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
Luk 13:2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?
Luk 13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Luk 13:4 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?
Luk 13:5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
As those who attend our church can attest, I have spent a lot of time over the last two years plus dealing with suffering and how a Christian handles adversity and calamity. We are all now living in such a time of trial and we want to be sure to redeem the time and act, think and communicate as Christians who have been commissioned to go into the world and preach the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
We have used the above passage to show what Jesus emphasized during times of calamity and what these people needed to focus on. I notice that he doesn’t tell them that they should quit going into towers and he doesn’t tell them that God loves them and that they are safe in his arms, etc. These things might be true and at times good to think about but I find it telling what Jesus does say.
I hear a lot about “social distancing”; in fact it seems that is almost all people are talking about. I hope that it is helping; I imagine no one will know until all this is over what was worthwhile and what was not. But by all means do whatever you think is helpful to keep well. I would point out that the only reason any of us can stay at home and perhaps not be exposed to the virus is because millions voluntarily go out and risk exposure so that we can have food and electricity and water, etc. If they didn’t do this, none of us could sit in our houses with some measure of safety; so I am thankful that they are not staying at home. You cannot quarantine 330,000,000 people. So staying at home is a chance for some to be able to limit their exposure but it comes at the expense of others. Just something to keep in mind because I hear even Christians telling everyone to stay home and even saying that they are killing people if they don’t. Maybe there are other things we need to focus on which brings me back to the passage above.
We have talked recently about the trumpet, warning judgments of Revelation. They are given as a warning to those living to repent because judgment is coming and it will be too late to repent then. The fact is that a lot of people are going to die from this and already have. No doubt a lot of those who have died knew all about social distancing because that is the politically correct thing to talk about. Everyone is happy for you to tell them how to stay alive. But I wonder how many of those who have died or who are going to die had anyone tell them that they need to repent of their sins and get right with God through Jesus Christ? In other words how many were prepared for death? I am not saying there is anything wrong with talking about social distancing but Jesus knew that everyone is going to die eventually and so in times like this we need to tell people how to be prepared for death first.
How many parents have gone over and over with lost children or other family and friends, about how to stay safe but have never even considered that their most pressing concern is to be confronted with their sinfulness and its remedy? I suspect a lot of Christians have said and written a lot about how to stay safe but have lost family members that they have not said a word to about being prepared for death. The proper response from the Church to calamity is to repent, even while we are discussing social distancing. I was able to talk about these things with a man yesterday and the need to be ready to meet the Lord. It would be easy to just talk about socially acceptable things but that is not people’s most pressing need.
All this was reinforced to me yesterday as I read about the reception the “My Pillow Guy” got when he would dare encourage people to read their Bibles and pray; which was hardly confrontational. It reminds us that this world does not want to hear that there is a God that they will answer to; let alone their sin and judgment. But that is precisely what we need to be speaking about.
So as we communicate to others, let us redeem the time and perhaps see people brought into the Kingdom of God.