Have you ever noticed that Jesus was a master at answering a question with a question? Sometimes, people came to Jesus with legitimate questions for which they were seeking answers, and other times they came trying to entrap Him.
In this passage, we see a similar situation. Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem and a seemingly innocent question is presented to Him in response to a situation where Pilate had Jews killed. Would Jesus support Pilate and infuriate the Jews, or would He condemn Pilot and set the leader against him before he even got close to the city? News of this would certainly reach Jerusalem long before he ever set foot in the city. His response would certainly set the tone of his entrance to the city. How would He respond?
Jesus asks a question that strikes to the heart of the problem and then answers the question he asked. Does punishment on sinners only come from God? He likens it to workers killed in an accident in Jerusalem. Does every accident point to sin on the part of those involved? He cautioned his ‘questioners’ not to equate great suffering with great sin. We should not be like Job’s friends, who all wrongly attributed the suffering he was going through as some form a punishment from God for sins he committed. Jesus then used the opportunity to call his hearers to repentance.
In other words, we should not spend our time concerning ourselves with the sins and transgressions of others: who deserves suffering, who does not, who is a ‘bigger’ sinner than someone else (or ourselves). Instead of playing that comparison game, let’s just focus our time and attention on the state of our own lives.
Take some time today to examine your own heart and life for where you are falling short and ask God for forgiveness for past failures and strength and resolve for the future.