Mark This Down – some thoughts from Pastor Mark (The Right Question)

The Right Question


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 repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:2–3)

On Sunday, August 25, 1861, a train ran into another train in a tunnel near Brighton on the south coast of England. Twenty-three were killed and one hundred seventy-six were injured. It was the worst accident yet on the British railways. Seven days later, another accident near London left sixteen people dead and three hundred seventeen injured. The Christian community was in turmoil over why these terrible things happened. Many made confident statements explaining the reason. Some said that it was the judgment of God for breaking the Sabbath command. Others said it was the sinful human invention of industrial terrors that brought down God’s intervention as had happened in the days of Noah.

C.H. Spurgeon, the pastor of the largest church in the world at that time, felt he must adress the ridiculous things people were saying, so, the following Sunday, he preached from Luke 13:2-3 and gave the sermon the title, “Accidents, Not Punishments.”

He rebuked the illogic of people who thought tragedies were something new and strange. “Now, men and brethren, such things as these have always happened in all ages of the world. … In taking up the old records, we find that the old stage coach yielded quite as heavy a booty to death as does the swiftly-rushing train.”

He rebuked the Phariseeism of those who looked at tragedies as the proof of the sins of others. Obviously if I did not suffer, then I must be better than someone who does.

He rebuked the arrogance of those who think they can figure out why a tragedy happened. This turns the providence of God, which is a mystery deep as the ocean, into a shallow pond which any child can understand.

And he directed attention to what was really important—our own sins. “Instead of thinking of their sins which would make me proud, I should think of my own which will make me humble. Instead of speculating upon their guilt, which is no business of mine, I should turn my eyes within and think upon my own transgression, for which I must personally answer before the Most High God.”

Because of a tragedy that took place in Jesus’ day, people wanted His take on why it happened. He refused to answer their unimportant question, and made them face the important one—“Have you repented?”

The connection to our own day is obvious. Jon Bloom connected this Scripture to the question of the reason for the corona virus. “The primary issue wasn’t how people died, but that people died, and death’s eternal ramifications.”

Now not many in this day are writing newspaper articles calling the virus a judgment from God because of people’s sins. Our society is far too secular for such thoughts. Some Christians are asking, “Do you think this means we are in the last days?” Meaning: Are things finally so bad that we can be sure Jesus will return very soon?” If that were so, why didn’t He come during the Spanish Influenza pandemic in 1918 which was far worse? Why didn’t He come during the Black Death pandemic in 1347 which was even worse than that?

Now don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that Christians should look forward eagerly to Jesus, not just taking Christians to heaven at their death, but coming to the earth in power and great glory. And I don’t ignore what Paul said about a day when Jesus will snatch up Christians from the earth to meet Him in the air. Still, people have a habit of asking the wrong questions.

John Piper said it well. “What Is God Doing through the Coronavirus? God is giving the world in the coronavirus outbreak, as in all other calamities, a physical picture of the moral horror and spiritual ugliness of God-belittling sin.”

The right question is: “Have I repented?” Have I changed my mind about my need for rescue from the consequences of my sin? Have I turned to God through Jesus Christ who died in my place on the cross of Calvary that I might be freely forgiven and received as His child?

The responsibility of the Christian is not to pin down the date Jesus will come. It is to follow Christ who met people’s needs when they came to Him and told them the truth that would set them free. If you meet a neighbor’s need in a tough time, it may give you an opportunity one day to tell them of the day you repented and how everything changed for you.

Think about it! Just a brother, Pastor Mark

(John Piper’s book, Corona Virus and Christ, can be downloaded for free from

3 Responses to “Mark This Down – some thoughts from Pastor Mark (The Right Question)”

  1. Barbara says:

    What do you define sin, that one needs to repent from? Does it come from ignoring the 10 commandments? Is it the lying, cheating, murder and stealing? Are the many deaths, wars, disease, starvation, haters and suffering come about because people are going to Hell. Are they living in a hell on earth now and deserve compassion? What do they have to repent from. Look at Jesus as an example who was pure love. Forget the celebration of his birth and get to know his heart and what he taught. Forget Paul who killed christians and then joined up with the Catholic priest to write their version of the bible. Jesus was LOVE, what do people understand about love?

    • Mark Jones says:

      Thank you for your response to the blog The Right Question. You asked What do I define as sin? Then you gave several examples. I would say yes to all of them. What the Bible teaches is that the mess the world is in is the result of humankind rebelling against God. But God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. Your last question is excellent. What do people understand about love? The apostle John has the answer.
      1 John 4:10 (ESV)
      In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
      Propitiation means a legal satisfaction. That’s what Jesus accomplished at the cross. He satisfied God’s requirement for our breaking His law. God loved us enough to send His Son to do that, and Jesus loved us enough to come and die for us.

      I recommend that you download John Piper’s book “Corona Virus and Christ”. He covers this very well. It is available for free at There is a link on the home page.
      God bless you, Pastor Mark

  2. 3M 9551V says:

    Thank you for sharing such a fantastic blog!

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    Dinesen Valenzuela

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