Why the Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Disaster in Japan Needs to be Processed through the Words of Jesus

Tuesday is for Preaching

With groups like Westboro Baptist (I refuse to call them a church) claiming to represent Christianity and God to the nation, and the tragedies unfolding in Japan, it is important to give some testimony of Jesus with regard to disaster and suffering.

One day Jesus had some in his audience come and bring him news of  some Galileans “whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices” (Luke 13:1). Perhaps they were trying to goad him into become an avenging Messiah who would rain down wrath upon Pilate for his wickedness. Perhaps they were confused about where God was in the midst of the murder of their countryman. We don’t know. What we do know is Jesus’ response.

He saw it as an occasion to remind all of his hearers of the precariousness of life and need to be ready for death when it comes.

Luke 13:2-5 (ESV)
And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

This was a constant theme of his teaching. Jesus was warning his disciples about drawing wrong conclusions. Tragedies like Pilate’s murder of the Galileans, and accidents like the tower falling in Siloam, and disasters like earthquakes, followed by tsunamis, followed by nuclear fears, followed by food fears are NOT evidence that one group of people are more evil than another.

But they are evidence that life, since the fall of man into sin, is precarious. Death is certain for us all and none of us knows when our date with death will be. Yet, our great God causes the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).  And he has provided a means, through the gospel, whereby men and women can escape death to eternal glory.

We need to remember that. And as preachers of the word of God, we need to make sure that we are reminding our people of that regularly, lest they become haughty in their blessings and stingy in their proclamation. We are always called to live sacrificial lives for the joys of others and the glory of God.

Please remember the Japanese in your prayers and giving this week.

2 thoughts on “Why the Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Disaster in Japan Needs to be Processed through the Words of Jesus

  1. Hi Marty,

    I really hate it when I hear people trying to condemn a whole nation. If anything we can learn something from the good example of the Japanese people. I only saw acts of heroism and kindness. Everyone was amazed at how there was no looting. How many western towns and cities would behave so well in a crisis? I believe God is with the Japanese people.

    Bless them,


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