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"We Must Repent!"
"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish'" (Luke 13:1-5).
Many of us are reading about the devastating floods in India. Last night we prayed for the many who are affected and for the Lord to work through His people at this time. Anytime that we hear of a tragic accident or natural disaster we wonder why and we are again faced with the fragility and unpredictability of life. Of course every single day tens of thousands around the world deal with life altering tragedies leaving those who remain with many questions.
The portion of Scripture used in today's encouragement has long intrigued me. Jesus was informed regarding a contemporary tragedy that had made the news at the time. "Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices." Wicked, opportunistic Pilate (the same man who tried Jesus) had apparently ordered an attack on a group of Galileans while they were offering their religious sacrifices and mixed their blood with that of the sacrifices. Jesus was from Galilee and likely this was a form of persecution to those offering religious sacrifices.
Jesus responds with a spiritual lesson in the form of a question followed by an immediate answer to His own question. "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?" Jesus of course knew what was in the heart of the informers and it seems that they had a view of the tragedy that we may also tend to have. It essentially states, "The people who died were probably 'worse sinners', which led to their suffering." Jesus was very emphatic in answering His own question. "I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
He then goes on to offer His own perspective on another tragedy by referring to an accident in which a tower fell and killed eighteen. Again he went to the presumption held by many that surely those who died were "more guilty" than others living in Jerusalem at the time. (The converse wording is that those who didn't die surely must have been "more righteous" than those who did.) Again Jesus answers His own question by repeating, "I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
The emphasis of our Lord is the need for everyone to repent and, according to Jesus, all who do not repent will perish, "You too will all perish." Have you repented of your sins and turned to the Lord for His salvation? Tragedy may not come for you in a car crash, a natural disaster or terrorist attack but we must heed the words of Jesus. We are all going to die at some point (unless Jesus comes back first). "Unless you repent, you too will all perish". For, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment."
Here's a common prayer that expresses repentance to God and faith in the plan of salvation. I urge you to pray this prayer from your heart today.
Prayer of Repentance: "Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner and desire to turn to You in repentance as I ask You to forgive me of my sins. I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me. I place my faith in You and what You have done for me. I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow and serve You. Thank You for hearing my prayer."
Expressing ourselves to God in this way is how we all begin our new life as a Christian. Brooksyne and I have earnestly prayed as we prepared this message that everyone reading this will do so! And we would be very blessed and encouraged if those of you who have done so for the first time would let us know.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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