Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners ...
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
In the Old Testament book of Job the lead character and his friends argued about the reasons for Job's hardships.. his friends blamed him.. Job asserted his innocence.. but at the heart of their cumulative thinking was the idea that someone was to blame for what happened.. and God was judging Job and his wife for some sin that they had committed. Though Job asserted his innocence he did not contest the basis of his friends claims. Job also believed that his hardship was God's judgment.. he just did not believe that he was guilty of a sin worthy of the judgment.
The moral of Job's story is that things are not always as they seem.. bad things happen to blameless people.. and it is foolish to blame God or invoke a theology of divine judgment when hard times come. I reject that kind of theology on a personal level and I also reject it for peoples hit by tragedies like earthquakes, tsunamis and other horrible events. The message contained in today's passage is that bad things happen to all sorts of people and that even so-called "good" people need to repent and be born of the Spirit to not perish when they die.
Help me Lord to not rush to judgment when bad things happen.