In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, I read Luke 13 where Jesus was questioned about his thoughts regarding some Galileans (fellow countrymen) whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. His response was interesting to me then and now:
“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 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? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Jesus didn’t speak to the injustice that was done – though clearly injustice was done that day. Nor did He speak to the need to avenge the injustice or even try to explain why bad things happen to good people. No, He spoke directly about His “urgent concern”: Souls walk off into eternity every day that are not ready for eternity.
In order for there to be Good News (which is what the word “gospel” means) there must necessarily have been some bad news first. The bad news is that eternity awaits every soul alive today and the requirement for eternal life is perfection (the Bible word is “holiness”). The Bible says that without this holiness, no one will see The Lord (see Hebrews 12:14) which means you are not going to Heaven without holiness. Sounds impossible, right?
Well, if it were left up to you and me, it would be. That’s where the Good News comes in. God did not lower the standard to get into to Heaven, He lowered His Son so that “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus’ first word of the Gospel was repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand. Are we concerned about the souls around us that may not be prepared for eternity while there’s still time? Is your soul ready for eternity? Let’s take a cue from the Master and make this our urgent concern too.