READ: Nehemiah 12-13, Psalm 146, Luke 13, 1 John 5
Pilate evidently had a nasty side. In Luke 13:1-5 we are told that he slaughtered some worshipers at the temple and mixed their blood with the sacrifices they had brought to offer. Nasty. Jesus references this tragic event alongside the misfortune of the tower of Siloam falling upon and crushing 18 “innocent” bystanders. Jesus has a surprising twist on these two shocking occurrences: Those who suffered deserved what they received.
First John 5:16 reminds us that there is a sin leading to death and the corpus of Scripture clarifies that we have all committed it. Jesus’ troubling point is that we all deserve to have our blood mingled with our sacrifice (to be horribly and brutally killed) and we all deserve towers to fall on our head. The point in question is not why a good God allows bad things to happen to good people, the real question is why a good God allows good things (and restrains His own wrath) to happen to bad people. You and I are shockingly evil in God’s sight. Jesus goes on to tell us that unless we repent, we will likewise perish (Luke 13:3, 5).
Those that call us to repentance do us a tremendous favor. We have grown accustomed to being told we are not that bad, we are not heinous, filthy, and pungent before God. God’s people need modern Nehemiahs who will lovingly contend with us and curse us, strike some of us and pull out our hair, make us swear by God that we will not allow anything to defile us (see Neh. 13:25). How loving are they who declare the gate narrow. Those who preach a tolerant gospel hate our souls. There is no lasting love or concern in their message and we should not venerate those who do us so much damage.
A clear-eyed view of human nature calls for a lifestyle of repentance. It is not enough to have seasonal wrestling with our fallen-ness (though that is healthy and appropriate and it should happen minimally every time we remember the Lord’s death in communion), but we must live sorry for our sins, live thankful for the cleansing blood. Repentance literally means a turning from sin to Jesus, and we should live with turned hearts. Our hearts and minds should be daily, constantly turning from the sin that so easily entangles to the Savior who so completely frees. Moment by moment we should be repenting–turning to Jesus. Let us live a lifestyle of repentance–always conscious and sorry for our ugliness, always thankful and amazed at God’s generous mercy that beautifies the humble.