The Bloody Galileans and the Tower in Siloam
There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:1-3)
“THAT IS, WHILE THEY WERE SACRIFICING at Jerusalem, Pilate came suddenly upon them and killed them, and “their” blood was mingled with the blood of the animals that they were slaying for sacrifice. It does not mean that Pilate “offered” their blood in sacrifice, but only that as they were sacrificing he killed them. The fact is not mentioned by Josephus, and nothing more is known of it than what is here recorded.” (Barnes)
THE GALILEANS WERE GENERALLY LESS CIVIL, less cultured and less educated than the more refined Jews living closer to Jerusalem. The High Priest in Jerusalem was a vassal of Rome and was on a Roman leash in doing his work. A hundred Roman soldiers lived in special quarters that towered above the Temple. These soldiers were the “first responders” of Rome to quell any uprising that might occur against Rome. Galileans would be more likely to buck Rome than citizens of Jerusalem.
A DISTURBANCE CAME ABOUT AT THE TEMPLE while some Galileans were there to offer their animal sacrifices. Roman soldiers who lived only a few yards away, immediately moved in and killed some of the Galileans. That’s what Jesus was referring to. As Jews mingled and discussed the blood bath of the Galileans, some concluded that the Galileans were worse sinners than most and God let this happen to them because of it. Jesus countered that by telling them that they were in as much need of repentance as the Galileans Pilate killed at the Temple.
JESUS DID NOT SAY HERE THAT ALL SINS IN THE WORLD are of the same weight. Obviously, killing someone is not on the same level of sin as stealing a lawn mower. Our law system addresses different levels of transgression such as misdemeanor, felony, manslaughter, 2nd degree murder, 1st degree murder, etc. The Bible talks about “righteous judgment.” That is what God is looking for. Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)
THE BIBLE USES "ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS" twenty-three times. The reason for that is that all the works of men are not the same. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)
IN OUR TEXT TODAY, JESUS WAS NOT IMPLYING THAT ALL SINS ARE ALIKE, of the same weight or of the same consequence. He was pointing out that a public calamity does not prove that God was pouring out judgment on them. He was saying that everybody needs to repent of their sins and walk in the light of God’s word and under the control of the Holy Spirit.
THERE WAS A STRONG BELIEF AMONG JEWS THAT GREAT CALAMITIES were a sure sign of great sin among the victims of disaster. After all, Jewish literature and custom informed the Jewish people of Noah’s flood and of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Jews also knew that they did not get their land until the “wickedness of the Amorites was full” and God destroyed them in order to give the land to Abraham’s seed. (Genesis 15:16)
JESUS CONTINUED AND GAVE ANOTHER ILLUSTRATION to put down the gossip judgments of the Jews. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:4-5)
APPARENTLY, THE TRAGEDY OF THE TOWER IN SILOAM was a recent calamity that everyone knew about and had thoroughly discussed among themselves. Siloam had to do with water. There was the Pool of Siloam and there was also the system that brought water to the pool. The reason for a tower in connection with a water supply is interesting. A tower foundation has been found that is circular in shape and about 18’ across. It is believed by some scholars to be the foundation of a second tower that replaced another tower that fell.
WHETHER THE TOWER WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF POSTING GUARDS or if it was functional in supporting a water conduit is not known for sure. Husband and wife writers of Bible fiction books, Thoene (Toe-nay?) who do a lot of research about Israel, write of the tower as being part of a water system coming into Jerusalem. This part of the system was above ground and thus the need for the tower to support the weight. It was being constructed and was not stable when it fell. Workers were all around it, so it killed 18 of the workers. Josephus, the Jewish historian mentions Siloam several times in connection with a water supply coming into Jerusalem.
THE DISCIPLES ENCOUNTERED A MAN WHO HAD BEEN BLIND FROM BIRTH. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9:2-3)
THE DISCIPLES VOICED A COMMON BELIEF OF THE DAY that babies could sin in the womb and bring calamity upon themselves. But this man was born blind in order that he might be healed by the hands of Jesus and help to establish Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.
WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM TODAY. When there’s a storm or a shooting or a tragic fire, invariably there will be the claim that God is judging those people who were the victims. I cringe when I hear that kind of talk. If it is the judgment of God, it will be in such a way that very little will have to be said about it.
TODAY, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT AMERICA IS GOING TO HELL ON A TOBOGGIN SLED. A thousand babies a day are being slaughtered in the womb and an industry of financing it siphons money from the tax payers. It’s cheaper to kill babies than to raise them. An old N.C. senator told me that when I was a lobbyist. We are a very sinful nation and one day God will have enough. We have a variety of sex sins and violence everywhere going on that will surely bring down the hand of God. The iniquity of America will be full, and we will be judged for our stubborn, willful sins.
BUT WE MUST REMEMBER THAT GOD'S JUDGMENT DOES NOT BEGIN with homosexuals or murderers. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1Peter 4:17-18)
GOD LOVES ALL SINNERS. He loves them enough that if they will repent of their sins and receive Christ as their Savior and Lord, He will gladly receive them as His own. We have a list of unsaved people that we pray for often by name because we believe they need the Lord. This is the day of shacking up together and ignoring God’s order of living. From these lifestyles of disobedience comes a torrent of sorrow and instability heaped upon themselves and upon their children.
I’VE SPENT A LIFETIME OF COUNSELING WITH TROUBLED PEOPLE who have wrecked their lives and at last would like some relief and would like to fix things as best as they can. We serve a big God who has promised: Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
WHATEVER YOU HAVE DONE, IF YOU ARE STILL BREATHING, GOD CAN FIX YOU. He loves you and paid for your sins on the cross of His only begotten Son and you can be saved. Call upon Him today, regardless of what kind of sinner you are. Don’t let the devil deceive you. You don’t owe him anything. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom 10:13) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear (confess). (Isaiah 45:22-23) See also: (Rom. 14:11 and Phil. 2:10)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
FEBRUARY 15, 2019 – FRIDAY
A.M. Leviticus 20-21 P.M. Matthew 28
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Hebrews 4:2).
Song for Today:
The Blood of Jesus (4:24) (Collingsworth Family(6) and Gaithers)
(Wait several seconds. You may have to delete an ad.) This is so good, I’m leaving it up again today.
During cold weather, the air is dry, and we need added moisture in the air in our home. This is very important. Dry air will dry out the air passages in our nose and throat. Bacteria thrives on dry air passages. We need moist air passages so bacteria and be moved off with mucous and prevented from attaching to the soft membranes of our air passages. A one-gallon capacity plastic vaporizer by VICKS or some other reliable brand, may be enough for your home. We have used a vaporizer in winter for many years. Some central heating systems have vaporizers built in. Ours does not. We use about a gallon of water a day.