How Did Jesus Respond to Tragedy?

Remember when the acronym WWJD was popular? Well, I sure do. The question many people have, especially after the evil seen at Sandy Hook Elementary, is what would Jesus do about tragedies? What would he say? How would he respond? Well, Scripture gives us the answer. Luke 13:1-5 says this:

1  There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2  And he answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4  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? 5  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’

In verses 1-3 we see Jesus responding to an event similar to what we heard about in recent days. Pilate, a ruler in the Roman Empire, was apparently sanctioning mass killings to appease the gods he served. He was shedding blood for a senseless purpose. Though Pilate’s actions would elicit outrage today, Jesus did not respond by trying to overthrow the government. Jesus didn’t try to form an uprising of rebels. He didn’t even try to advocate for tougher gun laws. He advocated for the truth of the Gospel. He offered up himself, so that others may be saved. He told people that they were sinners in need of a savior. He fought evil with love. In fact, he used evil to bring about God’s plan and purpose to save sinners.

24  And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25  who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“Why did the Gentiles rage,

and the peoples plot in vain?

26  The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers were gathered together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed”—

27  for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28  to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.’ -Acts 4:24-28

JesusOnCrossFrom the beginning God decreed to use the evil ways of men to accomplish his ultimate display of love. Through the sin of men God redeemed creation. It was the sin of men that beat Jesus. It was sin that put the nails through his hands and feet. It was sin that mocked him. It was through men’s sin that Jesus saved me from my sin.  Jesus took on my sin, my shame, and my guilt to pay the penalty for my sin.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus used evil to show the sin that resides in everyone’s hearts, and then did something about it. Though he was sinless, he became sin for those that trust in him. So, instead of asking WWJD? You should ask yourself, DYTH…Do You Trust Him?

Thanks for reading.

For more on Luke 13:1-5, check out Dr. James White’s presentation at


About Travis Berry

I am a blatantly honest person who loves to think, read, discuss, and write about God and theology. I have a bachelor's degree in Youth Ministry from Crown College. I work at a church in Houston, TX as a Youth Director and love every minute of it! I am married to a wonderful woman named Becky and we have one amazing child! I have a love for God's Word, and a fervor to live it out in the fullest, and I pray this blog reflects that. Thanks for checking out AnotherChristianBlog!.

Posted on December 19, 2012, in Christianity, Culture, Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Well we have many people acting like Jesus by advocating for the gospel. They are largely concentrated in the bible belt, which also happens to be much more violent then the rest of the country. Our most religious states are certainly much more violent then places like Denmark, which has very little religion.

    I wouldn’t mind if Christians included doing the hard work of changing our broken gun laws rather than preaching the gospel while voting for lawmakers who refuse to fix our broken gun laws and spend more and more on warfare (blessed be the peacemakers) then on helping those less fortunate (the golden rule).

    • Ralph could you please show me that the Bible Belt is more violent than the rest of the US? I am not sure this is true. Also, religion never created peace. Religion never made crime rates drop. However, trusting in Jesus brings personal peace, even if crime rates go up. To suggest that simple gun law changes would bring crime down doesn’t make sense. Criminals break laws. This means that criminals would also break gun laws. Simply making a law against an act doesn’t mean evil people will stop doing evil. At the end of the day it comes down having faith in the one that preached and died for peace, Jesus.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Sure: the FBI’s most recent reporting shows that the South has significantly higher violent crime levels (measured on per capita basis) than the rest of the country. It also has more property crime.

    Many other independent analyses confirm this finding and show more detailed numbers about how the South is more violent than the rest of the country.

    And to really show how incredibly violent the South is for a developed country, you can compare it to other developed countries.

    So America is a much more violent country than our peer nations, and the South is much more violent than the rest of America. I’m troubled by how few Southerners seem to be aware of this, because if you don’t recognize the problem, it’s difficult to work toward solving it. (By solving it I don’t mean eliminating crime, I mean effectively reducing it to prevent lots of harm and suffering).

    I do think some religions which have a more consistent message of peace, like Jainism/Buddhism/Quakers, are more able to lead its followers to peace than other religions which leave much more wiggle room for followers to interpret holy books to condone violence (like how the Bible condoned slavery and many Christian slave owners used the bible to extend the life of that evil institution).

    Finally, and most importantly, just because criminals don’t follow the laws doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have laws. We don’t get rid of laws against drunk driving or crystal meth because some people don’t follow them. To reduce crime, it is important to make it harder to commit crimes (that’s why we have metal detectors and border patrols- it makes it harder to smuggle things) and gun laws make it harder for criminals to commit crime. Right now felons and the mentally ill can easily acquire assault weapons- while in Japan, Australia etc. it is virtually impossible- that is why we have so much more gun-related deaths. We can’t stop every crime, but as the conservative judge who just sentenced the Tuscon shooter to life in prison said, by tightening our guns laws we can at least take the “mass” out of “mass shooting” in more situations.

    I am sad to see so many Christians say they believe in helping others and “blessed be the peacemakers”, but so many won’t lift a finger to help prevent future tragedies. That is why when I’m looking to decide where to live, I am much more attracted to the more peaceful New England and the Pacific Northwest than the Bible belt which has a cycle of violence no one seems interested in stopping.

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