20 Years Later – September 10, 2021

Twenty years ago, we went to bed with no idea the world would change forever. Perhaps you remember what you were thinking about that night. I watched the Broncos play a football game against the Giants. The Broncos star wide receiver suffered a gruesome broken leg, effectively ending any chance of a good season. I went to bed disappointed. No matter what you went to bed thinking about, the following day rearranged our priorities. Certain events serve as linchpin events in history. September 11, 2001, serves as one of those events. Now twenty years later, we are asking many of the same questions.

A primary question that we continue to ask is, “Why does tragedy happen?” Jesus was asked the same question in Luke 13. 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.”

A group of people informed Jesus about a bloody rebellion against Rome by a group of Galileans. The Roman curate Pilate quelled the uprising by massacring the rebels in the temple, causing their blood to mingle with the blood of the sacrifices. Jesus’ response is not one we would expect. Instead of declaring their innocence, He turned the situation into a lesson. It is not remarkable that tragedy happens because sin is prevalent. Instead, it is amazing that more tragedy does not occur. So, we must always take stock of our souls so that we are ready for death.

Tragedy serves as a gospel opportunity. These events cause individuals to be aware of their mortality. As a result, they begin to ask deep questions. And the gospel is always the answer. Jesus is our hope in life and death. He will ultimately conquer sin. He will redeem his people and all creation. The tragedy is not an argument against God but an argument for God.

Twenty years later, we will be reminded of the tragic events which took place. Conversations will occur about our various experiences that sad day. Some will shake their heads and then return to life. I would encourage you to take advantage of the gospel opportunities which present themselves. As Christ warned the crowd, so we must warn them. No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.