Today marks the 13 year anniversary of the tragic 35W bridge collapse.
As I was thinking on this and mourning over the men and women who lost their lives on that fateful day, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Jesus words in Luke chapter 13.
 …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.
Jesus draws to remembrance a tragic event that happened in the days of His dwelling. A tower had fallen and killed 18 men in it’s path. How this came to be we are not told, but our Lord draws a powerful, spiritual application from this tragedy.
He does so by first posing a question,
‘Think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem’
Like a skillful surgeon, He cuts to the heart with perfect precision and draws the crowds attention to their own condition.
He reminds them that they are no better off than these men who had perished, and that it is by a wonderful act of Grace that they themselves did not perish in like manner.
Is it not so often our own frame of thought, that when tragedy strikes another, we are quick to think on our own “luck” or fortune? If we are honest with ourselves, a swell of pride may come over us as if we indeed have received the better lot.
Jesus is quick to remind us that we are no better or worse than those who have suffered such horrible fate, and he continues by saying that unless we repent, we shall all likewise perish.
This perishing that Christ speaks of is not just in concern to the mortal body, but stretches much further to the immortality of the soul.
Man, in respect to the body, is a very mortal creature indeed, but in regards to the soul, man is as immortal as the mighty cherubs which dwell around the eternal throne.
As C.S. Lewis once put it,
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
Lewis (and more importantly Christ) speak to the immortality of the soul.
Man was a creature made to live forever. This was the original design in creation. Adam was immortal in both body and soul, made to live forever in the presence of God. But with the taking of a single bite of that temptatious fruit Adam, and we with him, forfeited immortality and took on the body of this death.
It is a sobering and time tested truth that all men experience death in respect to the body, such is the nature of the curse, ‘for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ Saith the Lord. We see our own fragility in the face of something as simple as the common cold.
Something in man died as a result of the fall resulting in the loss of the eternally preserving Spirit of God.
Death comes to us all, for all have sinned.
Isaiah said that,
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…”
The wages of such sin is death, for the Lord said to Adam,
” …of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
It is important to note that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they did not drop dead on the spot. We can draw from this that either God is a liar, or the death that he spoke of was in respect to that of another sort.
Another sort indeed, for surely man did experience death on that day, but the death that he experienced was a death of separation from the life giving presence of Jehovah God.
Absent from the continual presence of the life sustaining Creator, man’s body began to deteriorate and die. He had given up his seat of immortality in exchange for the broken cistern of mortal indwelling.
We now progress some several thousand years later and this same God who expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden dwells among his people and offers a remedy for their age old sickness.
He says, ‘ …except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’
Christ has come to set the captives free.
We read in Hebrews He came to,
‘ …deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.’
The Lord Jesus Christ freely offers a lifting up from the fall, and a casting down of the sin that made it necessary.
He says, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’
This rest is an eternal, life giving kind of rest. A rest from our labors of self-righteousness that profit nothing. A rest from our trying to get right with God on our terms. A rest from all the guilt, pain, and suffering that our sin rightfully deserves.
He is the fountain of living water and the bread of life.
He says to us,
“Why do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”
Surely every man will experience death. Surely these bodies will one day fade away, but it is the soul of man that abides forever, and as Lewis stated, it will either abide in ‘immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.’
So I urge you my friends, look not upon the benefactors of sins wages today and think that you have been dealt the better hand, but consider the state of your own souls and remember that unless you repent, you shall also likewise perish.