There are two disasters in the Bible of which we know almost nothing.
The disasters are described in Luke 13:1-5. One involved the deaths of Galileans whose blood Pilate commanded to have mixed with that of their sacrifices. There has been speculation about what exactly happened, but there is nothing certain. One such speculation said that the Galileans had been working for one of Pilates’ water projects, but that is not proven.
The other disaster was described as the deaths of 18 people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell. We know even less about this event.
The two disasters are not really that important. What is important is the question Jesus answered about them.
The Jews had always believed that a person suffers for the evil committed. If a person does great evil, then that person will suffer greatly. Even in Job’s day, his friend Eliphaz said, “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed?” (Job 4:7 NASB).
Some still believe this. While it is true that those who do evil suffer, it is not true that all suffering is a recompense for suffering. Job, himself, was not a man who was a gross sinner, but he suffered as a just man.
Jesus answer is in Luke 13:3, 5, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
The ones asking this question were, themselves, sinners. All are (Romans 3:23). All are sinners and fall under the same curse recorded in Ezekiel 18:4, 20: “The soul who sins will die.” God wants us to repent and turn from our sin and join with him in baptism (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-4). We are given time and opportunity to repent and turn, but God’s patience is not inexhaustible. Sin is the disease that will claim all unless they repent.
The Lord punctuated his teaching with the parable of the barren fig tree in Luke 13:6-9. In this parable, there are two parts: mercy and judgment. The Lord had a discussion with his gardener about a fig tree on his property that had produced no fruit. The Lord wants the tree removed. He asked the gardener, “Why should it encumber the ground?”
The gardener asked for time and opportunity to work with the tree so it may become fruitful. The Lord agreed, but then said that after that time, “you shall cut it down.” This is the judgment part of the parable. When our time is up, it’s up. We are given time and opportunity to repent and obey the gospel. If we do not, God will deal with us.
We must always remember the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6:2, which says, “Now is the day of salvation.” As a hymn we sing says, “Today is the day of salvation; tomorrow will be too late.”
Obey the Lord now.