There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. – Luke 13:1-5
Following Jesus’ line of questioning here, let me ask a few questions:
Do you think the people of Haiti deserved the earthquake that killed over 300,000 people because their country is filled with corruption and voodoo?
Do you think AIDS victims deserve to die because they engage in illicit sexual activity?
Do you think drug addicts or alcoholics deserve to die from the consequences of their actions?
The answer, of course, is YES. They are sinners and they deserve to die.
But so do I, and so do you. I think it’s sad how we pick and choose which sins deserve death and which sins don’t. Is homosexuality worse than lying? Is practicing voodoo really worse than anger or lust or any of the other myriad of sins I commit on a regular basis?
Jesus’ point here is that we are all sinners, and all deserve to die. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” The only way we escape that death is through Him.
I love the image of the woman with the issue of blood touching the tassle of Jesus’ garment and being instantly healed. Notice how she acted afraid to admit that it was her? That’s because, under the Jewish law, to touch someone who is hemorrhaging like that would make Jesus unclean. But the Lord wasn’t worried about that. He is not corrupted by our uncleanness. Instead, our uncleanness is healed by His touch.
Perhaps if we stop looking for the reasons why people suffer, and quit looking for the sin in their life that’s to blame for their misfortune, we’d be more likely to get down in the pit with them and love them in spite of their sin.
You know, just like the God who did that for us.