How should we understand?
Reading: Luke 13:1–9.
Additional reading: Job 42:1-17
Two thousand years ago in Israel, there were some bad things happening:
(2) It was when Pilate was the governor over Judea.
Pilate had done many bad things against the Jewish people.
We just read one example.
Plate also didn’t understand nor respect the Jewish religion.
So Pilate continually had done many things against their religion.
So, some Jewish people went to complain, risking their lives.
They requested Pilate to respect their religious tradition.
But then some Jewish people would not even go to Pilate and complain.
They feared that Pilate might kill them, too.
But then there were other people thought that God was punishing those Jewish victims through Pilate.
That was a situation in our gospel reading today.
They were thinking like the friends of Job, in the Old Testament.
Do you remember the story of Job and his friends?
(3) When some bad things happened to Job, his friends came.
But then they were saying to Job like this:
"Job, you must have done something really wrong.
You must have done something against God.
Think about what you have done.
Otherwise, God would 'punish' you like this.
Don’t you have any hidden sin that we don't know?
What did you do?
These friends blamed Job for the bad things happened to him.
They were judging him.
They were trying to explain why Job was wrong.
They tried to explain why Job was suffering.
They tried to find faults in him.
But Job didn’t do anything wrong against God.
Bad things just happened to him.
In fact, God was praising Job for his love toward God.
God was bragging about Job.
So at the end of the story of Job, God again blessed Job abundantly and asked those friends of Job to repent.
God was like:
“Job is much more righteous than you guys.”
But some people may think like the friends of Job.
In our gospel reading, we learn that some people were thinking like the friends of Job.
They blamed the Jewish victims.
Have you met these kind of people?
Some people may be thinking like that against themselves.
I mean when some bad things happened to them, they were like:
What have I done wrong?”
They may ask God:
“God, what have I done wrong?”
But then sometimes God may say:
You are just living in the very sinful and imperfect world.
But continually be faithful to me.
I will turn it all around.”
(3) In our text that there was an accident in Jerusalem.
In those days, there were many towers like this in Jerusalem.
But one of them fell down.
So eighteen people got killed.
Then again some people were like:
These people must have done something wrong in their lives.
There were a lot of people in Jerusalem.
But only they got killed.
God must have judged them.
They must have sinned against God.
These eighteen people must have done something really bad.
Otherwise, why would they die like that?
Why would God allow them to die like that?”
So they judged and blame the victims.
But here is what Jesus said to them.
(2) Jesus was like:
“You may think that you are better than them.
You may think that you are more righteous than them, because you are alive.
But you are not better.
You need to repent.
Otherwise, you will die like them.
I worry about you.
Otherwise, you will die in sin.
That is a very dangerous thing.
So review your life.
Look back at your own life.
What is your fruits in life?
What have you produced so far?
Are they good?
“What kind of fruits are you producing through your life?
Does God like your fruits?
Otherwise, repent and return to God.
Decide to change.
Return to God and allow God to save you.
I am here to help you.
I and God the father can help you to reshape your lives and transform your lives.
Then you will live forever with God.”
To this particular people, Jesus was asking them to repent.
What does “Repent” means?
You know what “repent” means, right?
It means to “turn around.”
It means to change:
It means to turn to God and follow God and allow God to change us.
Then we will never be the same again.
It is not the first time that Jesus asked them to repent.
John the Baptist and Jesus has been asking them to repent and turn to God.
Jesus asked them to change and follow God.
But they have not yet believed in him.
But only when they want to change, when they want to repent, Jesus can truly help.
If they want to believe in Jesus, Jesus can change them.
Jesus could help them to come closer to God.
So Jesus asked them again and again to repent and think again.
Jesus wanted them to think in the right way.
Why does Jesus want them to think in the right way?
Because this was important.
(3) If they think in the right way, they may even understand why Jesus had to die.
Otherwise, they looked at the cross of Jesus and said again:
“There are a lot of people in Israel.
Among many. many people, Jesus got into trouble and suffered and killed.
He must have done something wrong.
“Otherwise, why would he suffer like that?
God might have known his secret sin.
I wish Jesus have confessed what he had done before he died."
In this way, they may misinterpret the greatest thing ever happened in the history of the world.
Then they might blame and judge Jesus.
They might condemn Jesus only because Jesus was the victim.
(3)They may think like that even when Jesus died for them.
They may think like this when Jesus died for their sins.
When Jesus died to obtain their salvation.
When Jesus died for them so that they could live forever.
When Jesus worked hard to help them.
Jesus had done all the things in the right way.
Jesus lived the perfect and obedient life with God.
But in order to live the perfect life, Jesus knew Jesus had to suffer and die.
This is something too much great for us to understand.
So today, there are a lot of people who don’t understand why Jesus had to suffer and die.
They don’t find any meaning in his suffering.
So they ask:
Why did Jesus have to suffer to save people?
Why did Jesus have to suffer to remove my sins and my mistakes?
Wait, didn’t you say that Jesus is the Son of God?
Why did Jesus who is God suffer when he was on earth?
Why did God have to suffer to remove my wrongdoings?
Why did Jesus become the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?
You understand this, right?
But for many people, it is very difficult to understand.
So some people even scholars may still ask:
What is the meaning of the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Why is his death and resurrection the most important part of his ministry?
We may never fully understand with our minds.
But we will understand more and more and more.
We will understand more and more why even the Son of God suffered when he was on earth.
In the meantime, we accept it by faith.
But then when we come closer to God, we realize that God is most happy when the story of Jesus is heard.
God is still saying the story of Jesus is the most important.
Because this story has God’s powerful wisdom and secret.
I wonder how much we understand each part of Jesus’ life.
I wonder how much we study to understand the story of Jesus.
If we understand this, we can not help but to love God.
If we understand, we will bow down and worship God.
If we understand, we waste our lives for the glory of our Savior.
We will give everything to Jesus.
And if we understand, we will also understand about our lives.
If we understand, we understand why some people suffer even though they are very close to God.
If we understand the sufferings of Jesus, we may understand their suffering, too.
Then we may be even able to see Jesus in our own suffering.
We may be able to see Jesus suffered with us in order to stay with us.
The main purpose of the Bible is to understand Jesus.
How much do we understand Jesus and his story?
If we truly understand, we can restart our journey of faith again and again.
If we understand the ministry of Jesus, we will be part of God’s mission to the world, again and again.
I pray we understand and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, thank you for coming to us.
Thank you for teaching us to think and understand God.
Help us to understand why you have suffered.
Help us to pray for those who suffer for you.
Help us to comfort them, because we know you really love them.
We ask for the peace of this world, so that your story be shared with the world.
Thank you for staying with us forever.
In your name, we pray.