by J. Thomas Laney Jr.
While Jesus is teaching one day, someone in the crowd brings up a much talked-about event-the killing of some Galileans who were in Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices. Pilate had likely ordered the killing and the mixing of their blood with that of their sacrificed animals in a brutal display of power. We are not told why the person raises the issue, but Jesus’ response indicates that the real reason lies in revisiting the age-old question “why?” Why did this happen-and to these people?
Whenever we wrestle with these profound questions we are attempting to understand the moral order of things. Our hope is that if we can fathom the why, then we can learn a clear lesson from the tragedy and perhaps avoid a similar fate by taking the lesson to heart.
If Jesus is ever going to answer this fundamental question of life, this is the perfect occasion. But he does not. In fact, Jesus never attempted to answer fully the questions we struggle with about evil and suffering. His silence indicates his contentment and willingness to let stand the great insights and perspectives found in the prophets and the book of Job.
A major milestone along the journey of faith is the acceptance that there is no neat answer to the “why” questions related to evil and suffering in this world. We come to realize that if we make our relationship with God contingent upon a satisfactory answer we will surely be disappointed. Jesus chooses not to give a simple interpretation, and we must take it on faith that there is none .
Dear Lord, as I continue on this journey of faith, grant to me such faith that accepts that there is no simple answer to the age-old question “why?” Amen.