The people of Jesus’ day seized upon some “breaking news,” a recent headline (Luke 13:1-5).
Everyone was talking about it – the way we talk about mindless mass shootings in our cities, small children slaughtered at the hands of their own parents, natural disasters snuffing out lives by the hundreds and thousands.
The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, probably wanted to make an example of some Galileans who were worshipping at the temple. Pilate had these men slaughtered as they worshipped and then, as in some creepy Stephen King novel, mingled their human blood with the blood of their animal sacrifices. Historians tell us that Pilate did stuff like this.
It’s obvious why these folks report this “breaking news” to Jesus. They want Him to comment on it, perhaps reinforce their hatred of Rome, get everyone stirred up. But Jesus does not denounce Pilate. He does not decry the corruption of the Roman forces of occupation. This would be stating the obvious. Nor does Jesus offer any opinion about the political views of the Galileans who died in the incident. He even adds another headline to the mix…about some guys who died in a construction accident in Siloam when a tower fell on them.
Jesus, as always goes to the heart of the matter. He says: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered these things? I tell you, no. But unless you repent, you will all perish too. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse sinners than all the people living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no. But unless you repent, you will all perish too.”
In the headlines of every passing year there are the deadlines of God’s grace. The headlines and the deadlines get personal.
You and I need this change of heart and mind, this thing called repentance.
You and I need have an absolute need for what Christ died to give us.
You and I want to live a new kind of life with hearts melted down by mercy.
You and I are going to die. You and I are going to meet God. You and I want to be forever with Him who loved us to the cemetery and back again.
We do not know if we have another year or hour. But God has graciously given each of us another chance. Who of us does not need it? Let us seize the day! What if the world saw us doing that? Wouldn’t that be a headline!