Did You Hear the News?

Bible Reading: Luke 13:1-5

Luke 13:1-5, “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 sin?  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.’”

Just as in our day, there was bad news in that day.  There was no newspaper to publish it, but the news of Pilate’s heinous act had spread.  Pilate mingled the blood of Galileans he killed with the sacrifices they had brought.  Though we are not given, the specific reason he killed them, it’s safe to assume they were involved in some kind of rebellion.  Pilate’s hold on that remote territory was tenuous and rebellious activity was met with horrendous brutality.  The event was reported to Jesus.  His response was other than what they might have expected.

On any given day, tragic things happen.  Recently, fifty-three illegal immigrants died tragically in the trailer of an overheated semi.  On Independence Day in Highland Park, a madman killed seven and injured dozens, indiscriminately firing his weapon into the crowd at a parade. Such stories rule the news.  Tragically, such events are commonplace in this sin-cursed world.

In Jesus’ response to the news of the Galileans, He spoke of another bad news situation.  A tower in Siloam fell and killed eighteen people.  It is interesting to consider what Jesus didn’t say or do regarding these two events.  He did not suggest the people rise in rebellion against Pilate for his wicked deed.  Nor did He suggest the institution of a “Building Codes” department to oversee the construction of new towers.  Not that He was oblivious to such matters, or uncaring, He had come to deal with a greater problem, a problem which underlies all of man’s problems and works to threaten our souls with infinite loss.

Jesus corrected a common erroneous assumption which supposes bad things happen to bad people.  So the people thought, but Jesus clarified the Galileans did not suffer because they were worse sinners than all the other Galileans and the eighteen did not die because they were worse offenders than all the other residents of Jerusalem.  Bad things happen in this world.  No one is exempt.  According to statistics, one out of one people die.  A person might die of natural causes, or he might die because of some tragedy, but—unless the rapture happens first—all will die sometime, somehow.

The Galileans were all sinners.  And so were the residents of Jerusalem.  So are we all (Romans 3:23).  The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  Because of sin, we are all doomed to perish, not just physically, but eternally.  Risks of physical harm and death are to be avoided, yet there is another kind of death of which is of far greater concern.  Jesus was warning his listeners of that death.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  He came to give His life to deal with sin that He might rescue the perishing.

Jesus called upon the people to repent.  They were lost in sin.  Their hearts were unbelieving.  Their eternal destiny hung in the balance.  Salvation was at hand.  There are no guarantees in this life—as was demonstrated in the two tragedies—but Jesus promises eternal life to those who place their faith in Him.  

“There is a lesson for us in the bad news we hear.  Sin is at the heart of all of man’s problems.  Jesus represents the sole solution.  We hear of lots of different kinds of tragedies in the news, but nothing is more tragic than the death unto a Christless eternity of an unrepentant sinner.  When you hear bad news, thank God for the good news of salvation in Christ!”

Jerry Conklin


We have heard the joyful sound:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to ev’ry land,
Climb the steeps and cross the waves;
Onward! ‘tis our Lord’s command;
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Waft it on the rolling tide:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Tell to sinners far and wide:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Sing, ye islands of the sea;
Echo back, ye ocean caves;
Earth shall keep her jubilee:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Sing above the battle strife:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
By His death and endless life:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Sing it softly through the gloom,
When the heart for mercy craves;
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Give the winds a mighty voice:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Let the nations now rejoice:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout salvation full and free,
Highest hills and deepest caves;
This our song of victory:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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