What’s The Point?

“No, I tell you: but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” Luke 13:5 NRSV

MP900443601[1] You probably will not find this verse in any collection of Bible promises. It’s certainly not one of the feel good teachings of Jesus. Nor is it a verse that we would turn to for comfort and help in time of need.

Jesus’ call to repentance is actually a curious response. Jesus had just been told of an atrocity committed by Pilate against the Jews. Jesus used that news flash as an opportunity to teach. He began by asking, “Was this violence justified? Were these people so sinful that they actually got what they deserved?”

These are important questions. Jesus quickly answered his own questions. Surprisingly, he said, “No.” The shame and suffering endured by these Galileans was not because they deserved it. It was not in proportion to their sin.

Jesus immediately pointed out the real message this news brought. The real message was, death is the inevitable consequence of sin. Therefore, the only hope we have is to repent.

The Jews Jesus was talking to had been taught to try and follow the law, and to try and avoid wrongdoing. But Jesus wanted them to realize that the key was not trying to be good. The key was to confess and turn away from sin, while trusting the tender and forgiving mercy of God!

…the only hope we have is to repent.MP900313982[1]

As soon as Jesus pointed that out, he went to another recent news item.  Eighteen people had been killed when a tower collapsed. Jesus wanted to know if they were singled out to die because they had more sin than all the others living in Jerusalem at that time. Jesus’ answer was the same as before, “No.”

In the face of violence and disasters, death makes little sense. Even though we try and make sense out of tragic events, Jesus makes it clear that there are seldom easy answers.

MP900443027[1]Still, there is one response that makes sense. That is to recognize the harsh reality of death and to turn around, to accept the saving grace offered by Jesus Christ. Only then does death loose its sting. Only then do we become the recipients of life eternal!

So the point is not to wrestle with endless whys, or to be scared into being good. Jesus wants us to turn from sin, and to turn toward God. Jesus wants us to accept the forgiveness that he alone gives.

Throwing ourselves on the tender mercies of God is really the only response that makes sense!

Repent Blessing copy

Turn to God and Live!

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