#9: JESUS INTERACTS WITH THOSE DISCUSSING THE NATIONAL NEWS
Spring - Summer, A. D. 29, Judea, not far from Jerusalem:
As Jesus and his disciples arrive into Judea, not far from the capital city, they come upon a group of people discussing the national news. Governor Pontius Pilate had done a horrible thing. He murdered some Jews from Galilee who came to make animal sacrifices and he mixed their blood with the sacrifices! We don’t know the specific background for this event, but history tells us that unless Pilate was provoked, he would usually leave the Jews alone. But if the Jews formed an angry mob to protest one of his actions, such as imposing a new temple tax, Pilate’s response would be quick, decisive, and cruel.
After Jesus hears the discussion, he asks this group if they thought that those victims were worse sinners than other Galileans, or than people living in Jerusalem. His audience doesn’t know how to answer him. Jesus replies that those Jews were not greater sinners than other people living in Jerusalem and he warns, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3, NIV).
Then Jesus mentioned something else that was in the news of the day: “Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will also likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5, NKJV).
Comments: Then as now, “the news” of the day is often about the misfortunes and disasters that happen to others. If hearing such things moves us to compassion and action to pray and help, that can be good. But we have grown accustomed to the way the majority of stories covered on the national and local news are about crime, misfortune, and disaster. Added to that are the many fictional stories we can go see at the movies about crime, misfortunes, and disasters. Some (but certainly not all) of these movies have good themes, such as the importance of courage, compassion, patience, perseverance, faithfulness to friends and family and country, and standing up for the truth, even when there is a high cost. We must be careful about what we go see.
I watch some news so that I will know who and what needs prayer and more about how to pray for them. But Jesus pointed out that the people with whom He was talking were so focused on news about the misfortune of others, that they were not seeing how they needed to change. I pray that God will help us not to make the same mistake. This would be a good time to pray, “Heavenly Father, I choose not to let what is on the news distract me from hearing from You or seeing what changes I need to make. Mold me and make me and fill me and use me. Thank You for Your constant and unfailing love, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, page 163.