April 9: “Why Do Bad Things Happen?”

8 Minute Read


Deuteronomy 33:1-29
Luke 13:1-21
Psalm 78:65-72
Proverbs 12:25


Luke 13:2 (CSB): “And he responded to them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all the other Galileans because they suffered these things?'”


Over and over in Scripture we read about the problem of suffering.

The question that has been asked through the ages is: “Why do bad things happen to people?” Well, it would seem that we are hard-wired to assume that when troubles come, it is because someone sinned.

As we read the Old Testament book of Job and listen to his so-called friends, we hear them placing the blame upon Job for his troubles. They thought his life was falling apart because he had sinned against God. This is in spite of the fact that the Bible reader realizes that Job’s troubles came on him because he was good and blameless, not because he had sinned.

Job 1:8 (CSB): “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.'”

When we read John 9, we are brought into the story of a man who was born blind. Listen to how Jesus’ disciples reflect on why it happened.

John 9:1-2 (CSB): “As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him: ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'”

On and on we could look at illustrations in Scripture that reveal to us the human propensity to associate life’s troubles with sin.

Simply put, we often believe that if good things happen to us, then we must be living right. If bad things happen to us, then we must have done something wrong.

This overly simplistic view of why we experience troubles is horribly flawed. In our Verse for Today, we hear Jesus shedding light on this pseudo-theology.

Listen as Jesus speaks to some people who were trying to make sense of why bad things happen to people.

Luke 13:1 (CSB): “At that time, some people came and reported to him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.”

Stating this in today’s language, people had read the morning’s newspaper and saw where some Galileans (northerners) had come to Jerusalem and were killed while in the act of offering their sacrifices at the temple.

Not only were Jews killed by the despised occupying government but it was done while they were in the place of worship. This was unconscionable.

Luke 13:2-3 (CSB): “And he responded to them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all the other Galileans because they suffered these things? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well.

As Jesus listened to the folks recount how the Galileans had been killed by Pilate, He knew that they were trying to understand why “bad things happen to good people.”

Notice that Jesus didn’t proclaim the goodness or innocence of those who were killed. His language assumes their sinfulness. But, he uses relative language to say that they were no more sinful than the rest of the Galileans who were not killed.

Essentially, Jesus was clarifying at least three points:

  • No one is good; everyone is sinful (Romans 3:10, 23).
  • Just because someone experiences calamity doesn’t mean it is because they sinned more than others. While God will administer justice upon all sin and sinners, it doesn’t always happen in this life. Sometimes bad things happen simply because we live in a broken world (Genesis 3).
  • When we erroneously think that bad things are directly tied to sinful behavior, we may come to think that we are righteous in God’s eyes when life is going well. Jesus’ words make it clear that everyone, regardless of how good or bad life may be for us, had better repent before a holy God or we will perish in Hell where ultimate divine justice is administered.

Luke 13:4-5 (CSB): “Or those eighteen that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed—do you think they were more sinful than all the other people who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well.”

The tower of Siloam was located south of the Temple Mount. When it collapsed, eighteen people died. Was it because “they were more sinful than all the other people who live(d) in Jerusalem?”

Jesus had already made His point with the previous illustration of Pilate’s murderous deed. Yet, Jesus uses one more illustration to make His points clear:

  • Bad things can happen to people regardless of how sinful they are.
  • When bad things don’t happen to us, it isn’t necessarily a sign of God’s favor.
  • Regardless of whether we are experiencing troubles of blessings, we had better repent or God’s justice will one day be administered upon all sin and sinners.


So, my friend, don’t be so simplistic in your theology as to believe that bad things happen to  sinners and good things happen to righteous people. It’s not so clear cut in a sin-sick world.

Realize that you and I and everyone else in the world are sinners. We have all broken God’s laws and our sin must be punished by a holy God.

But, God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the sin debt of every single person that will trust in Him. Jesus will take our punishment so that we can be forgiven by a holy God if we will simply trust in Him, and what He did on the cross, for us.

Romans 5:8-9 (CSB): “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath.”

John 3:16-18 (CSB): “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.”

Won’t you trust in Jesus today?

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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