“…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
– Luke 13:5
When Jesus was asked about human tragedy, do you suppose He had a calloused heart in the way He answered? Of course not! He was setting the minds right of those who were “leaning on their own understanding.” They assumed human tragedy was divine punishment, a vital mistake that Job’s friends made as well.
Those present with Jesus who shared the story of the Galileans “whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices,” were looking for Jesus to take sides. They were waiting to see if He was for Rome or if He would defend the Jews and accuse Pilate. It was political for them, as they hated the Romans. What a terrible thing it is when we attempt to make human tragedy into political arguments.
Judgment for sin in our lives is not always brought on swiftly or through catastrophic situations. And, our Lord was not baited into a political argument that really was not the heart of the issue. Jesus bypassed all of that and went straight to the real problem, sin. Not just sin in the lives of those that died in the scenario presented, but the sin of those who brought up the subject. Twice Jesus told them, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Sin places every human being on the same level because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The antidote is repentance! It is the changing of the mind and the inner person who has become consciously aware of their sins and now desires God’s favor. Jesus did not have a calloused heart in the way He answered. He answered this way out of love. Jesus Christ told the truth that unless there was repentance, judgment would come to all who do not believe in Him. That is the Gospel truth!
“In all of the New Testament, it appears more than fifty times. Hebrews lists it as an elementary doctrine of Christ, a foundation. How serious then is the condition of a processing church where repentance is missing from its elementary evangelism or church growth?”
– J. Edwin Orr