On September 11, 2001, four airliners were hijacked by Islamo-fascist terrorists, and two of them were piloted into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing 2,479 people. Tragedies such as this ofen move people to reflect and ask questions like, “Where is God when bad things happen to good people?” or “What can we learn from a tragedy such as this?”
In Luke 13:4-5, Jesus says, “Or those eighteen on whom the tower of 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.”
What do we learn from a tragedy like the unexpected death of the eighteen in Siloam or the almost 2,500 in New York City? Are we to ask what sins did they commit to deserve such a horrible death? Are we to ask what national sins motivated God to punish the nation in such ways? Jesus takes the spotlight off the victims and the state of the nation and turns it one each and every one of us. What we are to remember in the event of the death of others is the fact that God is angry with sin and has decreed that the penalty for sin is death. But we are also called to remember that Godalso sent his Son, Jesus, to live a perfectly righteous life and earn eternal life, only to offer up himself to suffer the death penalty which sinners like all of us deserve, and to rise from the dead on the third day to declare that justification before God and eternal life has been purchased for all who trust Chrsit to save them from the wrath of God against their sin. This is where God is in tragedies such as this: he’s reminding us who survive that death is the result of sin; and the lesson we are to learn is that unless we turn from our sins to God who is angry with sin, and trust in Christ who died for sinners, we will die in our sins forever.
Examine your behavior in the light of the Ten Commandments, the holy Law of the holy God; have you kept each of these perfectly in thought, word and deed? If you are honest, you will recognize that you have not. This indicates that you are a sinner and you deserve to suffer the just wrath of the holy God and so you deserve to die. Now recall that the same just and holy God sent his Son, Jesus, to live a perfectloy righteous life, to keep God’s Law perfectly in thought, word and deed; then Jesus offered up himself to suffer the death that only sinners like you deserve so that God will give eternal life to sinners who turn from their sins and trust in Christ’s dath for sin.