“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)
The Galileans were considered a wicked people by those from Judea. They were looked down upon to the point of the expression, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Apparently these Galileans were sacrificing in the Jerusalem Temple when, for some unknown reason, Pilate had his troops massacre them. Certainly they must have deserved what they got. Jesus did not agree. Jesus used the occasion to teach a lesson that everyone needs to know that their end can come suddenly in this life. Are we ready for the next one?
We still tend to connect suffering or even death with actions that a person may have taken. Maybe they were worse sinners than ourselves and deserved what they got. Jesus wants us to get beyond this kind of judgment to the judging of ourselves. All of us deserve the judgment of God.
All of us deserve to be massacred for our sinfulness. The point is that that will happen if we continue to trust ourselves over against God. Jesus makes it clear that we must turn away from trusting ourselves to trusting Him. In that, there is security amidst the uncertainly of this life, and security for eternity.
Heavenly Father, judgment comes too easily to our hearts and minds. We tend to lift ourselves up and put others down. Thank You for setting us straight. You are the Judge we need to be concerned about. You have judged us guilty and deserving of eternal separation from You.
Thanks to Your grace, You have paid the price to reunite us to You forever by the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Our trust is in You for our life and eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.