Luke 13: 2 – 3 “And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
The Ethiopian Airline crash was very personal to us. Fortunately, we did not know of anyone on that plane, but were very familiar with the area where it crashed. The place is called Bishoftu, and for many years was the location of a missionary retreat. There is a large lake there that is peaceful and beautiful. We went there on many occasions just to get away.
We have also taken that flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya in order to make connection with an international flight. Our first thoughts went out to the large missionary population in Ethiopia who might have been on that flight but as far as we know, there were none. We have many Ethiopian friends who could have been on that flight. However, 157 people lost their lives –of that number there were 8 Americans, 18 Canadians, and a total of 35 different nationalities. The loss of life is sad regardless of where they come from.
In our text, Jesus addresses the question of catastrophes such as this. Apparently, there was the belief that people who suffered such tragedies had to be great sinners. He asked the question, “Do you think they were greater sinners than others?” but answered the question by saying, “No, but if you don’t repent, you will all perish.” Certainly tragedies of any kind are a reminder that life is short, and death can come at any time! We would all do well to be prepared.
The Daily Bread in one of its daily devotions told the fable of a man who made an agreement with the Grim Reaper. He said that he would gladly go if he would only warn him. A few years passed, and one evening the man was thinking about all of his possessions and how pleased he was with his life. Suddenly, the Grim Reaper tapped him on the shoulder and told him that it was time to go. The man protested and said that the agreement was that he would warn him before he came to take him. The Grim Reaper told him to look in the mirror at his bald head and wrinkled face. Then he reminded him that his hearing was bad as well as his eyesight. He told him that he had sent many warnings, but he had not listened! (February 29, 1991)
Have you received any reminders lately that life is short, but death is sure?