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Christian Response to Tragedy

The Christian Response to Tragedy – Luke 13:1-5

Illus: Wedgewood killings –Sept.15, 1999. An attack in a sacred setting.

    Jesus was interrupted. Brought up incident where TYRANTS KILL. Pilate ordered stop of sacrifices and mingled the blood of worshipers with blood of sacrifices. Did Jesus recognize a connection between sin and calamity? (see Job 4:7; 8:4,20). Remember Jesus’ experience in John 9:2.  Jesus did not have much to say about politics or good vs. evil. He did say that tragedy is not reserved for the worst people—you can draw no equation between disaster and deserving. Everyone had better repent!

   Jesus brought up how TOWERS FALL—a natural evil. 18 people killed as result of construction event. This was sudden, unforeseen, and unexplainable. People were considering the connection between calamity and iniquity. Could this tower fall be an act of God? Falling randomly on “innocent” people? Jesus applied the same judgment: Everyone had better repent!

   Tyrants kill, towers fall, cancer comes. Disasters take no particular aim at wickedness. Because of sin, we have disasters. Twice Jesus could have stated that tragedy was God’s avenging answer—but He said, “I tell you, NO! Unless YOU repent, YOU will all likewise perish.” He is saying, “Unless you turn your life around, tragedy is coming to you.”

Several Principles:

  1. The Manner of Our Death Is Unimportant. We are bothered by seeming injustice of “mass death.” We do not choose the manner or the time: God is in charge. Let’s live til He calls.

  2. Tragedies Should Shock and Warn Us. Pilate killed worshippers: repent! 18 die when a tower falls—repent! God reminds us, when tragedies happen, that life is precious. Any calamity is a preview of the kind of violent destruction that can occur at any time. The significance of any tragedy is not with reference to the victim but to the living. The victims are gone: if saved, they fulfilled their purpose in life; if lost, they had opportunities and rejected. The goal is for man to repent: to leave the broad road that leads to destruction; go through strait gate to life. Tragedies should shock us into self examination and prepare for eternity.

  3. We Must Repent BEFORE Tragedy Comes. Unrepentant people perish twice! Do you think those worshippers realize this was the last time they went to church? We must repent before disaster comes. Death will be quick! Amos 4:12 – “Prepare to meet your God.” All are in danger of sudden destruction. No one is guaranteed time to prepare. Every calamity is a divine call and warning to escape perishing. God has made a way of escape through repentance.

Illus:   Homer Martinez in a revival in West Virginia. On Monday Night, he had a big children’s emphasis and many came forward. Tuesday Night he had a big youth emphasis and many came forward. Parents at school complained: didn’t want kids “forced” into any religion. Pastor cautioned Homer. On Thursday a boiler exploded at school, causing a fire. 12 children were killed and many were seriously injured. Hospitals were full. On Friday, the church was flooded with calls and visitors—all wanted to know: “Was my child one of those who went forward to be saved on Monday?”  All wanted to know if their child had been prepared to go out into eternity.

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