What is your first response when you turn on the news to see yet another catastrophe? How do you react when you hear of another devastating earthquake, gruesome terrorist attack or tragic railway accident? Do you make the most of these opportunities for the eternal good of yourself and others?
That may sound suprising, but it is exactly what Jesus calls people to do in Luke 13:1-5. He says that these things are like warning signs calling us to repentance before it is too late. Listen to what J. C. Ryle has to say as he comments on this passage:
A murder, -a sudden death, -a shipwreck, or a railway accident, will completely occupy the minds of a neighbourhood, and be in the mouth of every one you meet. And yet these very persons dislike talking of their own deaths, and their own prospects in the world beyond the grave. Such is human nature in every age. In religion, men are ready to talk of any body's business rather than their own...
...It is eminently true that real Christianity will always begin at home. The converted man will always think first of his own heart, his own life, his own deserts, and his own sins. Does he hear of a sudden death? He will say to himself, "Should I have been found ready, if this had happenned to me?" -Does he hear of some awful crime, or deed of wickedness? He will say to himself, "Are my sins forgiven? and have I really repented of my own transgressions?" -Does he hear of worldly men running into every excess of sin? He will say to himself, "Who has made me to differ? What has kept me from walking in the same road except the free grace of God?" May we ever seek to be men of this frame of mind! Let us take a kind interest in all around us. Let us feel tender pity and compassion for all who suffer violence, or are removed by sudden death. But let us never forget to look at home, and to learn wisdom for ourselves from all that happens to others.
Taken from "Expository Thoughts on Luke" Published by Banner of Truth.