“Will You Repent?”
BIBLE READING: Ezekiel 18-19
In John 9, Jesus and His disciples come upon a man that had been born blind. Intrigued by his blindness, the Disciples ask a very poignant question; "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:2). Jesus responded "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:3). It was a common thought of the day that if someone was born with a disability such as blindness, that his parents must have sinned and their punishment was in the form of the child’s disability. Jesus shoots this theory down in his statement, but they should have already known that it wasn’t because of the sin of his parents. In fact, centuries before the prophet, Ezekiel also deals with this line of faulty reasoning. "What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:2-4). If the father eats the sour grapes, it is his teeth that are set on edge; not the teeth of his children. Ezekiel continues “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:20). The lesson for us today is simple; I alone will have to answer and pay for my own sin. My children will not be punished for my wrong doing; that punishment is reserved for me. The soul that sins will die! If all sin, then won’t we all be punished? Ezekiel addresses that as well, "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live." (Ezekiel 18:30-32). God doesn’t want us to be punished. He wants us to repent and turn back to Him from our wicked ways. Why would we ever want to be punished when we have an opportunity to not?