In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus was told of Galileans whom Pilate had executed. Considering Jesus’ response, it seems the people expected Him to wax eloquent about how sinful the ones killed had been. That was why they suffered. At the same time, it seems the people also expected Him to say how innocent they must have been because nothing like that had happened to them.
However, Jesus said neither of those things. Rather, He turned this whole story around on the people. “Do you think 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.” The people who died were not worse offenders. They were all offenders. The death of some Galileans was not a reason for other Galileans to say, “Look at me, I must be better because that hasn’t happened to me.” Rather, Jesus claimed that was an occasion to say, “I better look at me, because if I don’t bring my life under God’s control, that will happen to me too.”
This story is on my mind because of Steve McNair’s murder on July 4. I know it has been several weeks, but the story has played on my mind, especially with the scandal surrounding it. One newspaper headlined the story with: “Steve McNair’s death brings other side of his life to light.” Apparently, this iconic football star with great connections in the community, a seemingly good marriage, and four children had some sin struggles. Ultimately, those sins killed him in a very literal and physical way.
Sadly, most people view this story the same way the Jews did the executed Galileans and the folks on whom the tower of Siloam fell. Some have expressed shock. No doubt, some have suggested all high profile people are “like that.” Some have expressed disappointment. But the attention has all been focused on this “other side” of his life.
If Jesus were here and we said, “Hey, did you hear Steve McNair was shot by a girl he was having an affair with?” I believe He would say to us, “Do you think McNair was a worse sinner than all other Tennesseans because he suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Here is the point. Sin kills. Your sins kill. Whether you think they are small or great, your sins will lead right to this same point. Perhaps not to be murdered by a girlfriend. But they will lead to your death, if not physically, at least spiritually. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 7:11 says, “For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.”
That is what sin does. That is what sin does to everyone. We sometimes like to make ourselves feel better when we can point to someone who has done worse or suffered worse consequences. But these stories should not cause us to be arrogant; they should humble us before God. For, unless we repent, we shall all likewise perish.