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A loving leadership
January 11, 2010
by Pastor Thomas Starkjohn, Harvest Community Church, Winsted

At the end of the year, the news media often reviews who died during the past year. Some deaths are tragic, and we might wonder who is to blame.

If we could ask Jesus about a particular death, what would he say? Luke 13:1-5 gives us insight:

“There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 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.’”

Jesus clearly tells us to take every death as a gentle, but firm warning for ourselves. First, by claiming that these people who died were not ‘worse sinners’ than anyone else, Jesus is putting everyone on equal footing – all people sin.

What makes us choose to do something wrong is that we are rebels at heart. We want to be in control – we want to control our own destiny, make our own choices, and do it our way.

This may not seem very bad – but that is actually a terrible indictment against us. God is the most perfect, beautiful, brilliant, honorable, loving, and just being in all eternity – and we, without exception, say we’d like to do it our own way. If we could ask a soldier who faithfully serves his country if it would go over well with his officer if he chose to disobey a clear command, he would tell you that was treasonous and deserving of punishment. How much more when we rebel against God himself?

Jesus says all will “perish” – something more than mere physical death. When the Bible uses the word “perish,” it means the opposite of having eternal life (see John 3:16). So, all people are going to come to a terrible end – not under a tower like those at Siloam – but the horror of their end will take them by surprise. They will be in eternal punishment away from the beauty of God.

So what is the answer? Jesus says we all must repent. Repentance means to change our mind about something. It means to turn away from one way of thinking and acting and go the opposite way because you are convinced you were wrong in your former way of thinking.

The Bible is a wonderful true story about how Jesus is the messiah – the king – who by virtue of his perfect life, death on our behalf, and risen life – is now on His throne in heaven. And Jesus says we need to repent. We need to turn away from being our own boss, and come under new leadership. We need to change our mind about ourselves, admitting we are rebels, and surrender to Jesus and his loving leadership.

Have you come under Jesus’ loving leadership?