Daily Devotion – May 22, 2020 – The Rev. Doug Grant
Jesus said, “Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?”
Jesus is talking about what most think was a construction accident, the collapse of what has come to be called the Tower of Siloam where eighteen people died. There is no historical record of this happening, we don’t know if they were construction workers or maybe innocent people that happened to be there, but it is obvious that those listening to Jesus know exactly what he is talking about. They also have an opinion about why it happened. That opinion had nothing to do with the construction, blueprints, or physics.
The understanding of the time was that bad things happened to bad people or their children. The reason that bad things, even accidents, happened to people because God was punishing them. That idea still exists today as we hear some say the struggles of our nation exist because of people’s sin. The people of Jesus’ time did not have the advantage of knowing why Jesus was there and what he would do on that first Easter.
Jesus challenges that ancient view by saying that it wasn’t their sinfulness and God was not punishing them. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, he gave forgiveness and life to us as a gift from God. This is not a present that needs to be opened it is more like when my grandfather would come and visit and always had a silver dollar for both my brother and I. He didn’t ask if we deserved them, he didn’t hid them somewhere so we had to seek them, he didn’t wrap them so we had to take the wrapping off… they were put in our hands. God’s gift in Jesus is like that. We receive the gift of faith as a gift — no strings, ribbons, or rituals attached.
Although faith itself is sometimes a challenge, what Jesus challenges us to do is to follow him and use our gifts, abilities, and all we have been given to help others. We express that thought in the Lord’s Prayer when we say, “… Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That short sentence tells us what earthly life is really about – not figuring out one another’s sins and how to punish them, but to bring as much of heaven to our place on earth for the sake of others as our sinful and limited selves are able.
Lord, you have placed in our hands the gift of faith teach us, as your people, to look at the world through eyes of faith and to seek to bring as much heaven to others as we can. Amen.