41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Jesus overlooked a city that he himself had brought into existence. For thousands of years, as God, Jesus had put his presence in the temple of the city. He had watched the people worship him within it’s walls. Jesus had watched godly men sit on the throne and seen prosperity throughout the region. Jesus had also seen evil men sit on the same throne and bring ruin to the kingdom. Jesus had warned the people about turning away from him; he had sent prophet, after prophet to bring the people back before they destroyed themselves. But they wouldn’t listen, and so the nation was destroyed and never fully recovered. Now four hundred years later, Jesus has coming to give yet another chance to the people, but instead of embracing him, they would crucify him.
Jesus stands on a hill overlooking Jerusalem and he weeps because they would rather embrace their own way of life that leads to death and destruction, rather than embrace God’s life which leads to fulfillment.
We’ve been talking about this question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”
In the first week, we dove into the question of what is bad? And we discussed how badness is in the eye of the beholder. Each of us bases what is bad on what is bad for us. Not realizing we are. But because we are basing bad on our own personal idea of what is bad, we cannot definitively call anything bad.
So instead, when we ask God about why he allows bad things to happen, we’re really asking why he allows our perception of bad things to happen to us. That’s when we came to the conclusions that what we really need to be asking is, what is God’s definition of bad? We learned that God’s definition of bad, is anything he didn’t want in his creation. So if we read about something, and yet we see the opposite in our world, that opposite thing is bad; i.e. murder, rape, gossip, lying, being disrespectful and the list goes on.
Then in the second week, we talked about the second part of the question, good people. Just like the bad things, we discussed how we interpret good people based on our own idea of it. Good people are only good because we deem them to be good. But one person’s good person, is another persons’s bad guy. So again, when we ask God about good people, we have to ask him what his definition of a good person would be. Which we found out was a person that none of us are, because even in our best, we still do good things through selfish reasons. In other words, there really isn’t any good person. So our question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people, really should be phrased one of two ways: we can phrase it as, why does God allow bad things happen to bad people? or Why does God allow bad people to do bad things in his good creation?
But if we can’t ask the question like that, because that means we have to admit that we’re not the good people we think we are.
But really that’s the question we need to ask. Why does God allow us, who do what he says is evil to continue to live?
And the answer is pretty simple, God loves us. For thousands of years God worked with a people that would treat him like dirt. They would get themselves into trouble and God would get them out. It was a cycle for hundreds of years, with the purpose of showing us how deep God’s love for us really is.
No matter how many times we hurt him, he still loves us. And that badness we do, God calls it sin. Listen to what one of Jesus’ followers wrote, “6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was to bring us out of our badness, out of our sin and into what it means to be good, what God calls righteous.
So the answer to the true question we should be asking of “Why does God allow bad people to do bad things in his good creation?”, is he loves us too much to abandon us to ourselves, and he will go to crazy lengths to bring us out of the darkness that we create and into his.
But we have to reject our sin, our badness and accept Jesus’ death on our behalf, that’s brings us into goodness and righteousness. See the result or payment as the Bible puts it, of sin is death. We will pay this penalty not just when we die physically, but when we stand before God and die spiritually. But Jesus pays the penalty in this life of physical death, so that we can experience spiritual life, which begins in this life and continues into the next. God continues to allow our badness, with the desire to save us from it.
There is one more part to this question that will cover next week. But for now we need to struggle with this: Can you accept that you are a sinner, and that even in that God loves you can? This is God’s response to our question, that his love is greater than our sin.