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Ukraine parallels

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 change your mind, you will all likewise self-destroy. (Luke 13: 1)
 
Earth isn’t heaven, is it? We are certainly being shown that earth isn’t heaven as we see the continuing and awful suffering, pain and destruction in the Ukraine. In fact, one national newspaper reported the bombardment of civilians and cities as close to hell on earth…

Did Jesus have anything to say about this kind of thing? Often Jesus spoke and taught in parallels. The Bible does that repeatedly.

One parallel is the fact that Jesus spent the whole of his 30 years in his own country – Israel – when it was occupied by the huge and powerful Roman Empire under the Caesars. And he was actually put to death by soldiers obeying their Roman military authorities, answerable to Rome. 

 
Worse, one might think, it’s as if President Zelensky had colluded with Putin to get rid of Jesus – out of envy of him. Because it was the Jerusalem religious and political authorities who found Jesus guilty of blasphemy and who required Pilate to crucify him.

Not only that. An incident occurred in the final year or so of Jesus’ life that is an even closer parallel to what’s happening in the Ukraine as speak. 

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One of the first-century AD biographers of Jesus Christ of Nazareth was a doctor named Luke, a well-educated and respected person. In the news in Israel around AD 30 there was an incident when Pilate, the Roman supremo in the country, resembled Putin. Above – and here - are Luke’s words. 

 
There were some present at that very time who told him [that is, told Jesus] 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 change your mind, you will all likewise self-destroy. 

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These days, that same question is not an easy one to ask. Those dear people - dead or suffering in or fleeing from the Ukraine – were they, are they, worse sinners than me, worse than Sinner Syvret? For myself, I can’t, I just cannot, believe that to be the case. 

Those dead were not as bad as me – inside myself. Even the living and escaping, I see myself as no better than them…. I could even be as much a sinner as Putin when I want my own way at all costs.

But I wonder, I wonder, is anyone today prepared to think about what Jesus told the AD 30 living crowd – living under Pilate’s terrorist military domination and living with Jesus there in the flesh among them? 

He said, “unless you change your mind, you will all likewise self-destroy.” 

Why did he say “self-destroy”? He didn’t say unless you change your mind you will all likewise – be destroyed. No, he said self-destroy. (He used a Greek verb voice – middle voice – along with the future tense of the verb apollymi ‘to destroy’: ‘you will all destroy yourselves’.)

These days, from time to time throughout every day, our thoughts go back to people enduring this war in our Europe. Has the history of humanity, throughout the centuries, been a history of self-destruction?
 
Some wags have recently taken to pronouncing Putin as poo tin. Maybe we all have a poo tin inside us? A poo tin full of self-interest, self-assertiveness, self-aggrandisement, covered over by self-righteousness. 

I wonder, where will that poo-tin-full get me? Unless I change my mind?

Earth isn’t heaven, is it? Can we rise above it? Or do we need a rescuer?

 
Sinner Syvret

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