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Do certain sins bring worse consequences?

Luke 13:1-5- “There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans who's blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, and Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them; do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

    There was an uproar at this time about Pilate murdering some Galileans. Most bible scholars believe that this event is referred to by Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews Book 18 Chapter 4. Therein, Josephus recaps story a that lists Samaritans instead of Galileans, but it is the only historical reference that exists outside of the Bible to this type of event. The point that was made to Jesus here in Luke 13 was that Pilate murdered these people who were attempting to worship- that is what is meant by the phrase “Who’s blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.”  

    To say that the event mentioned in Luke and the one described by Josephus is a stretch, but this argument has little bearing on the lesson that Jesus teaches through His response both to that tragedy and the next one He mentions. Some believe that the point the Lord is making is that no matter what... things happen. While that is true, I do not believe that is the point Jesus is making. It seems to me that the Lord meant for us to learn two things from these situations.

     First, when some major tragedy occurs, the natural inclination is to believe that the tragedy is a manifestation of God’s wrath on the the victims of that tragedy for their sin. Jesus discounts this notion in no uncertain terms. Jesus said to those to whom He was speaking that unless they repented they would likewise perish. Did He mean that Pilate would kill them too? No. He meant that if they didn’t turn to Him, the ONLY real and acceptable sacrifice to God that they would die in the midst of their sin. The people that Pilate killed were sacrificing- first of all they were sacrificing outside of the temple and second of all they were Galileans and that implies they were not priests, so they did not have the authority to sacrifice in the first place. Therefore those who knew the law and knew about the event thought that the people who were sacrificing were sinning and that God used Pilate to exact judgment. Jesus tells them that the “illegal” sacrifices were no worse of a sin than any sin that those talking with Him at that moment had committed. As well, if they tried to play the opposite hand and infer that any old sacrifice would appease God and therefore they shouldn’t suffer consequence because their “hearts were right”- Jesus shuts them down. Jesus unequivocally states that they were sinners in that He said- “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners…” To be a worse sinner, one must initially be a sinner! The point is they were in sin not because they were sacrificing illegally but because they were relying on their own sacrifices to earn God’s acceptance. Jesus was pointing out that the people talking to Him were missing the salvation boat too unless they repented of their own sin and accepted Christ as the Messiah and only acceptable sacrifice. 

    Furthermore, the second event that Jesus recounts is a tragic accident. The point He is making here is that the people who were crushed under the tower weren’t doing anything that was obviously sinful at the time of their deaths, yet He asks if they were “worse sinners”. Again, one must be a sinner first before being referred to as a “worse” sinner. Therefore Jesus was pointing out that the sin of Pilate’s victims and the sin of the fallen tower victims was the same sin- Not accepting Jesus as savior. I know this to be true because in John 8: 24 Jesus says to the Pharisees: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. Jesus is the only answer to sin….. The End!!!! 

    It is of course extremely important to understand that bad things happen to righteous people and scripture bears that out. Jesus lets us know that simply because sin is in the world, there is also death and destruction. When He heals the ‘Blind-from- birth” man in John 9, He states that neither the man, nor His parents had sinned. Yet, the word says in Romans 3 that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. For both of these statements to be true, it is imperative to understand that the parents of the blind man and the blind man had been absolved of their sin that year under the day of atonement rituals. Therefore, Jesus counted it as all righteousness. Thus, when He states that the Galileans and the victims of the tower of Siloam were not “worse sinners” He is simply referring to their unbelief in the atoning lamb of Jesus Christ because at that time -and now- God is not holding anyone accountable for their sin as long as they receive the atoning blood of the sacrificial lamb for themselves!!

As well, we as Christians, as saved people, as the “redeemed of the Lord” often see messages like this one for someone else. I present to you that it is in the moment that we, these righteousness of God humans, walk in sin and assume that the results-natural or otherwise- of that sin are what we get for sinning , then we engage in an antichrist mindset. When we sin and we receive some kind of consequence , we should make ourselves realize that Jesus counts us having never sinned and we must believe that especially in that moment. If we do not repent and receive what Jesus has done not only to wash away our sin but to take away the consequences of that sin, then we are inviting death in. The problem is that when we enact the cycle of sin-reap consequences- feel guilt and shame and so accept the consequences, the enemy gets wise to this and will continue to tempt us to sin so that he can bring and “consequences” he wants to! The godly way to respond to our own sin is immediate acknowledgement and repentance of the sin followed by face first worship of the Father for forgiveness and that we do not have to accept the guilt and shame or the wicked “consequences” that would destroy us. 



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