Michael Youssef - What Would Jesus Say About the Crisis?
You know, in my lifetime, our world has experienced a lot of horrifying events, but perhaps not anyone that is a crisis that is as bad as this one in terms of being global, covering 185 countries and maybe even more. While some are eager to fix blame, others looking for scapegoats, and yet others who are anxious for the quick fix. And then there are even others who are living in fear and terror. News alert, news alert. Human nature had never changed, had never changed. Because you're going to find each of these reactions that I just enumerated, each of these reactions, you see them throughout history.
In the pages of the Scripture alone, whenever disaster struck, there you'll find varieties of reactions very similar to what I shared with you. But whenever disaster struck, we see the same reaction on the part of many people. The age old questions always pop up, "Where is God in all of this? How can a loving, merciful God allow the loss of life? Why didn't the all-knowing God stop this pandemic from happening? How good is God in times like this? And if God is not all-powerful, why should we worship him"? I'm going to show you that the answer is found in the words of Jesus.
You say, "Well, did Jesus have something to say about the Coronavirus or COVID-19"? Well, not quite, but yes, listen carefully. It's found in Luke chapter 13, verses 1 to 5. Luke 13 beginning at verse 1, "Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate," that's Pontius Pilate who sent Jesus to the cross, "whose blood Pilate had mixed together with the blood of sacrifice. Jesus answered, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all of the Galileans because they suffered in this way? I tell you, no. But unless you repent, you likewise shall perish. Or those 18 who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them, do you think they were more guilty than all the other who are living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no. But unless you repent, you likewise shall perish.'"
Apparently, there were two tragedies have taken place, one after another, during the time of Jesus's earthly life. They both brought a colossal loss of life. One incident took place when a group of Galileans, these are the northerners, these Galileans came all the way down to Jerusalem to the temple to offer sacrifices to God as prescribed in the law of Moses. But what does Pontius Pilate and the Roman rulers do? They go in there and they slaughter them, so much so that their blood was flowing with the blood of the sacrifices right there in the temple while they're worshiping. Manmade disaster. These Roman rulers who are ruthless, so horrific that act was, that the blood of the sacrifices and the people who were slaughtered by Pontius Pilate were flowing down the altar.
The second one was a natural disaster. There was a tower, the tower of Siloam. It was basically inside the southeast side of the Jerusalem wall. And it collapsed, and when it collapsed, there were 18 people underneath it, they were crushed to death. One disaster was manmade, the other disaster was a natural disaster. At that time during Jesus's earthly life, these two disasters have taken place. And back then, people were as curious about both the natural and the manmade disaster as the people of our day, and that's understandable. But they were anxious to draw false conclusions, as our generation does. They were ready to pass false judgement, just as our generation does. But instead of asking, "Why, Lord, have you allowed this?" which is okay to ask why. Bible never tells us not to ask why, it's okay to ask why. But instead of asking why, the worldview was such that they came to certain erroneous conclusions.
"Why didn't God stop this? Or, are these people worse sinners than the others, that's why they died the way they did? Or, why some die, others recover? Or, that those people must have done something really horrible, they must've done something really bad that they met such a tragic end". Erroneous conclusions. And here is what Jesus said. When he was questioned about these true tragic events during his earthly time, he said, "I tell you, no. They're not worse than any other sinners, they've not done something horrific. No, no, no, no". Said, "But unless you repent, you likewise shall perish". Did you know in one sentence, in one sentence, our Lord Jesus summarized the entire Bible.
You say, "How come"? Well, first of all, you have to understand, God is not the author of evil. God is not the author of evil. But evil came into the world when Adam and Eve surrendered their birthright of their stewardship of planet Earth to Satan. When Adam and Eve fell into Satan's deception, they lost the deeds to planet Earth. And then, at that moment, evil entered into the world. When Adam and Eve handed the property deeds of planet Earth of the devil, which was their stewardship. God handed it to them. And by their being deceived by the devil and disobeying God, they handed it to Satan. You must understand, please, please don't misunderstand me. I want you to understand this.
You see, before Adam and Eve were deceived, before they fell in Satan's deception, Satan had no power over the earth. Did you know that? He had no power over the earth. But when they fell in his deception, they gave him the power, they handed him the power. And from that time on, sin and suffering, disease and illness, viruses and germs, earthquakes and storms, tornadoes and hurricanes, floods and fires, death and suffering all became the consequences of that surrender on the part of Adam and Eve. And from the time of Adam and Eve on, Satan has been having a free range, as it were, to cause illnesses, diseases, suffering of all kinds. And ultimately, his desire is to take many people with him into eternal suffering, which the Bible calls hell.
But God, but God provided a way out. God provided a way of escape. God provided the answer. God provided victory over sin and the grave. God provided a solution to suffering. And what is that answer? The answer, that he left the glories of heaven and came to our earth, living an ordinary life, but without sin, dying on a cross and rising again, why? So that he may retake what Adam and Eve have lost to Satan. So that he may arrest God's property deeds that Adam and Eve gave to Satan. So that Jesus may restore to all those who believe in him, all those who put their trust in him, all those who come under his power, all those who come under his authority, that he may give them power to conquer sin and the grave.
And from the time of Jesus on, anyone who wants to have power over sin, power over suffering, power over death can come to Jesus and receive grace. Not just in this lifetime, not just in this lifetime, but forever and ever and ever, eternity in heaven with Jesus. See, the moment you come to Christ, that's the moment your eternal life begins. It doesn't begin when you die. Eternal life begins the moment you say, "Yes, Lord, come into my life, forgive my sins". That moment, your eternal life has begun. The Bible said that we are seated in the heavenly places, that literally God can see us already in heaven. Isn't that amazing?
For your sake, be forewarned, be forewarned, be forewarned that God's judgment is coming upon all who refuse to believe in Jesus. Be forewarned yourself that God's judgment is coming upon all those who would not repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Be forewarned yourself that God's ultimate judgment is upon all those who refuse to accept the gift of eternal life as they repent of their sins. They will be forever in a constant pain and suffering. So, be forewarned. In fact, that judgment is going to be far worse than any Coronavirus or any suffering, any disease, any illness. It will be more tragic, more severe, an unending suffering.
So, these are loving warnings from the hand of God. That's what Jesus would say to us who's still alive. Jesus would say to those of us who have not lost our lives, those of us who have not been touched by COVID-19 or any other thing, according to Luke 13, verses 1 to 5, Jesus would say, "Those who have died, be in the United States, or in Europe, or China, wherever they may be, those who died around the world, they are no more sinners than those who are sleeping in the safety of their home in the United States, or in Canada, or Australia, wherever they may be". The question that you should be asking is this. Have I examined my life? Have I examined my heart to see if I have escaped from eternal death to eternal life? The question is, have I repented of my sins? Am I sure of eternal life in heaven with Jesus? The question is, have I made provision of escaping from death to eternal life?
It's a question, the question is if you die today, can you be absolutely certain that the moment you close your eyes in death, you are in the presence of Jesus in heaven? That is the question. Because if your answer is no, you can do that today, today. The Bible said, "Today is the day of salvation". Do it today. "Unless you repent," said Jesus, "you likewise will perish". And so, what would Jesus say to us today? What would he say to us today? What would he say to you? What would he say to me? He would say to those of us who are asking, "Where is God in times like this?" he would say, "I am here, I've always been here".
He would want us to know that their questions are more of a red herring, did you get that? It's more of a red herring than really genuine searching for an answer. How we die, when we die, where we die, these are immaterial. It's appointed in heaven because we're all going to die. Now, I just don't want you to think I'm speaking here callously about life and death. I've experienced losses in my life, as many of you have. I'll never forget the time I was 16 years old, I thought my world has come to an end when I lost my 55-year-old mother. I thought my world has come to an end. As a matter of fact, few months later, I became suicidal. And then God met me in a very special way and assured me that I'm not finished until he says I'm finished. Meanwhile, I should serve him, and I've been doing this now for 55 years.
Now, my mother died in her bed, died in her bed. My wife's only sibling, her brother, 25 years old, died in a car crash. All of these are painful, painful, painful situations, I'm not denying that for a moment. My nephew, whom I sponsored to come to this country, was killed in a head-on collision in Nashville, Tennessee. Shortly after that, his father died in a hospital bed in Cairo, Egypt. You see, followed that, I lost all my brothers, one after the other. I'm not unaware of the pain of loss and separation, but the question that all of us should be concerned with is this. Where will I spend my eternity, heaven or hell? Where will I go after I die, heaven or hell? Whose company will I be with, Jesus or Satan? What does my eternal future looks like, constant joy, or endless pain and suffering?
Jesus said, "Unless you, yes you, you, unless you repent, you likewise shall perish". The dividing factor between all of human beings is, those who have repented and those who have not. Those who have repented and those who have not repented, that's the dividing factor. That's the only way by which God is viewing us. See, Jesus's priorities are very clear, they're very clear. His supreme concern, yes, in this life, but even bigger than that. It's not just this short life, whatever, if it's 50 or 100 years even, still a short time in comparison to eternity.
See, Jesus's passion, the reason he died on that cross so that you would ask the question, "Where will I spend eternity"? That's the question that should occupy our attention, the question should occupy our minds and our hearts. You know what would be even a bigger tragedy? If you are watching me wherever you are, wherever you are, if you're watching and hearing this message, watching this broadcast, and then you would say, "Well, I have plenty of time to repent of my sins. For now, I'm just doing my living".
That would be a bigger tragedy because you can't guarantee the next breath, none of us can. In fact, this would be worse than physical diseases, all of them put together. Because your soul is of immense importance to God, it is of immense importance. And that is why Jesus said, "What shall profit a man or a woman or anyone, if he gains the whole world, and then loses his own soul"? God loves you, yes, you who's watching. And the very clear indication of his love for you is that you are hearing this message.
This is the clearest indication 'cause he created you. He made you, and he made you with an emptiness inside of you that it will never be fulfilled until Jesus comes inside of you and fill it. On another occasion, Jesus told his disciples, said, "Hey, don't worry about he who can kill the body". Just like what I said earlier, every one of us will die. "But worry about he who can destroy your soul in Hades". He's giving you one more chance to hear this message, to hear this invitation, to receive this invitation so that you may come to him, repenting of your sins and receiving his forgiveness, respond to this loving invitation.
Will you come to him now? Will you say, "Thank you for inviting me. Thank you for inviting me to come to you, to repent of any sin and guilt and doubt. Forgive me. I receive you as my only loving Redeemer, Savior, and a friend". When you invite him, you can be absolutely sure that he'll come. He said that. "When you invite me, I will come in," and he will come. And his Spirit begins to dwell in you and give you peace in the midst of turmoil. If you need more answers, if you have questions, contact us at LTW, that stands for Leading the Way, ltw.org. We have people, they're waiting to hear your question and answer them.