1 Samuel 27-29 Luke 13:1-22
“What about those eighteen people who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were more sinful than all the others who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you. But unless you change your hearts and lives, you will all be destroyed too!” (Luke 13:4-5 NCV)
They had come to Jesus with a warning note about some worshipers in Galilee that Pilate had massacred. He’d killed them in the middle of their sacrifices and the blood of the worshipers mixed with the blood of the sacrifices. The question lingered about how bad these people must have been that God allowed Pilate to do this. Jesus reminded them of another disaster in Siloam. As He did so, He asked a question that must have caused those who’d approached Jesus to think. “Were they bigger sinners than the people living in Jerusalem?” These questioners were likely trying to get Jesus to agree with their belief that disasters were a sign of judgment from God and that those who suffered deserved it. Jesus replied with a message they didn’t want to hear. They were no worse than anyone in Jerusalem and unless you get right with God, judgment is coming to you, too.
We like to play the comparison game. It takes the form of “I’m not so bad. Look at that person over there,” as we point to someone who’s worse than we are – at least in our own eyes. We treat life like God’s a college professor who grades everything on the curve. We know we’re not perfect, but we’re a lot better than those other people. Or so we think. And that’s why God should let us into His Kingdom. Then, these words of Jesus disabuse us of that notion and we realize that God grades on a strict Pass/Fail system. The passing grade is perfection. 100%. And we ain’t there. No one’s there. Paul, in the book of Romans, recognized this dilemma as he cried out, “Oh wretched man that I am, who can deliver me from this body of death?” In the next breath, he answers his own question by pointing out that we can give thanks to God because He rescued us through Jesus. God’s standard is perfection. We can seek to achieve it ourselves or we can let Jesus take care of things for us. Since no one has ever achieved perfection, other than Jesus, the wise thing to do is repent of our sins and throw ourselves on the mercy of Jesus so that we can have eternal life in God’s Kingdom. That’s the only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which means that we all get there the same way. We don’t need to compare ourselves to others; we need to share God’s mercy with them.
Lord, the comparison game can be a lot of fun. I can find people that I think I’m better than and look down on them while trying to convince You I should be with You. Remind me each day that while my sins may be different, I’m not perfect and I need Your grace to enter Your kingdom. Humble me and use me to share Your love and grace with others.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.