Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by GMC
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”Luke 13:1-5
“They got what they deserved.” Disparaging judgments passed through the crowd, chattering about the unfortunate Galileans. Jesus, however, turned the judgment back on them.
“But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!“
Shattering the notion that “calamity befalls the unrighteous” (Job 31:3), Jesus warned the living to return to the Lord (metanoēte, “repent” and “be transformed in mind and heart”). Any day could be their last.
At the heart of the crowd’s idle chatter lay a distorted metaphysic: an atomistic conception of humanity. Unsympathetic finger pointing and judgmentalism manifest an illusion of separatism. In reality, all persons are one in adam (humankind). When God drew Eve from the side of Adam, the basis for the law, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” emerged. The neighbor is none other than one’s own body.
Christ, the second Adam born of Mary, did not separate himself from sinners, but became one without sin. Instead of criticizing the calamities of others from the sidelines or gloating that they “deserved it,” Jesus bore their sin upon the cross unto death. In utterly reversing the fractured individualism of the Fall, he gathered people of every nation to himself.
Biblical personalism, rooted in the person and work of Christ, recognizes humanity as both one and many. “We, though many, are one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5). Thus, the suffering of one is the suffering of all. Out of this vision, Paul exhorts, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). With excruciating compassion, the Son of God embraced a criminal’s death in perfect solidarity with the perishing.
Self and Other are so closely entwined:
The suff’ring of one wounds all humankind.