Luke 13:1-5 – Tragedy, not Punishment

Time in the Scriptures

Pray:  Ask for grace towards others, and wisdom regarding yourself.

Read: Luke 13:1-5

Today’s questions are less open-ended, as Jesus’ teaching is clear and crucial.

Several years ago on Pentecost, a raging windstorm swept through mid-Michigan. Trees fell across roads and power lines and flattened a few houses in our little town. A parishioner asked “What is God punishing us for?”

A common assumption in Jesus’ day (and in ours) is that disasters are punishments sent by God in response to specific sins. What does Jesus think of this idea? 

A friend from Ohio once told me “Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to obey the rules any more.” What might Jesus have said about this idea?

When you see people suffering, do you assume that their suffering is their own fault? For example, why don’t poor people get a job? Why don’t sick people exercise and eat right?

Is there a difference between blaming people for their suffering and thinking that God sends disasters as punishment?

When things are going well for you, do you assume that means that you’re on the right track with God? You’re well off because you saved and tithed, or your health is good because God is with you?

Is there a difference between recognizing the benefits of a healthy and obedient lifestyle, and false pride?

Jesus warns that, without repentance, we will “perish” just as those who died from disaster. Consider what kind of “perishing” he might mean, and how to strengthen your resolve for repentance.

Intercessory Prayer

Pray for people suffering from tragedy.

Caring through Action

Help those in tragic circumstances – giving to a relief organization is one simple way to do so.

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