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.”
It’s a lot easier to shake our heads in disgust than it is to bow our heads in shame. In other words, we’re more than willing to get out our metaphorical magnifying glass to see the sins of the people around us better. But we’re not nearly as willing to subject ourselves to the same scrutiny. Things weren’t all that different in Jesus’ day. Especially when disaster struck, it was common reasoning that the victims had committed some sin to make God mad. And the worse the disaster, the angrier God must have been.
Our Bible reading for today tells us about some sort of altercation at or near the temple in Jerusalem and the blood of the worshipers ended up being mixed with the sacrifices they were bringing. Judging by Jesus’ no-nonsense response, one wonders if maybe the conversation included a question that reflected the popular thought at the time. “Who sinned? Whose sin caused this to happen?”
Jesus puts those thoughts to bed right away. “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.” Do you see what happened? Jesus took the magnifying glass out of their hands and got them to look in the mirror instead.
It might be hard to hear, but we depend on Jesus to lead us away from the false security that comes from dwelling on the sins of others and lead us to a place where we can see our own desperate need. Only there, crushed and broken by the mountain of God’s law can we marvel at the mercy that the Redeemer from Heaven shows us in putting us back together in the promises of God. That’s where we find true security, the kind that lasts forever.
Holy Spirit, deliver me in mercy from the temptation to focus on the sins of others. Lead me to see my own need, and to rejoice in the security found in Christ Jesus. Amen.