School Shootings Show Us Our Need for Jesus
On February 14, 2018, in Florida, a nineteen year old man pulled a fire alarm at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and then opened fire as students and staff members poured into the hallway. Seventeen people were killed; others were injured. This should never have happened. This was the work of the devil who delights in violence and deceit.
In the Bible, some people came to Jesus and told Him about a horrific current event of their day. Pilate, the Governor, had murdered some citizens from Galilee as they were worshiping in the Temple. Murder and violence are far too common.
Jesus responded to the report saying, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? I tell you, 'No.'" (Luke 13). Sometimes when tragedies occur people are tempted to credit karma, to say, "He had it coming." Other times people will lash out at those they disagree with and then lay the blame at their feet. This sort of "blame game” thinking is not Biblical. Jesus does not allow us to "look out" and blame other people. Instead, Jesus calls us to look in the mirror and repent of our own sins lest we ourselves might perish.
As free citizens in our Democratic Republic, each of us may debate various strategies and proposed solutions to prevent and respond to tragedies. We can make decisions and take actions. But we must understand that the ultimate solution to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting lays not in our careful planning or disaster prevention policies (though these may certainly help), but instead in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus says, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3). The root of the problem is sin. Each of us must repent of our own personal sin. No one else can repent for us. Each of us must turn to the Lord Jesus. He alone can take away our sin. Jesus freely forgives the sins of all those who trust in Him. Jesus suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world. This preaching of Christ on the cross for you for the forgiveness of your sins and for your life and salvation is God's ultimate solution for sin, death, and every tragedy that has ever occurred.
Apart from policy considerations and discussions concerning rights, freedoms, and security, events such as this recent shooting serve as a sober reminder that not all is right with the world. Sin and death are ever present along with their consequent sufferings and sorrows. May we never grow callous to this! May we never stop caring as those around us suffer. Although we can do the best we can to hide from reality through work, entertainment, substance use, and the general hustle and bustle of the day, we can never escape it. The problems of sin and death, along with the suffering and sorrow these bring, are not just "out there" for us to observe, these also dwell in us. We all have sin. We are all subject to death.
The solution for us, and for the world today is Jesus. He bore the sins of all the Galileans whom Pilate murdered. He bore the sins of those who were killed in Florida. He bore the sins of the young man who pulled the trigger. He bore your sins. He bore mine. Jesus died for us. He died in our place so that we might live through Him. He speaks this promise, "All those who believe in me will have eternal life." Jesus is greater than our sin. He has overcome the grave. Today, as you mourn the loss of those you love, and as you feel the effects of sin (whether yours or the sins of others), look to Jesus. Jesus died for you. Your times are in His hands. Jesus will not lose any who trust in Him. On the contrary, Jesus will raise them up and bring them into life everlasting. Then there will be no more suffering and no more death. And He will wipe every tear from every eye. Amen.