The Problem of Evil

Sermon Passage: Luke 13:1–9; Romans 8:32.

Sermon Notes

Why does bad stuff happen to good people?

Jesus asks the same question in Luke 13 when he brings up two situations. First, some Romans slaughtered Jews while they were worshipping in the temple. Second, a building fell on some pedestrians and killed them. What's Jesus' response?

You're asking the wrong questions when evil happens. Unexpected death should remind us to get right with God by repenting (verse 5). Jesus doesn't stop there. He answers the question with a parable as well starting in verse 6.

The Landowner will destroy the unfruitful vines. The vinedresser mediates and a warning is issued. If no fruit comes later, the vines will be cut down. You see, biblically, we all deserve to be cut down and we're being given grace.

Back in Jesus' day, when bad things happened to people, onlookers would say those people were evil and were being punished. Today, when bad things happen to people, onlookers say that God is evil. The Bible says that suffering on earth is not punishment. If we understood how bad sin was, we'd realize that we all deserve terrible punishment every second of every day.

If you look back in Genesis 3, the reason evil entered the world is because we questioned the goodness of God. The only comfort we have today is to remember the goodness of God. We will never have all the answers to why suffering happens to us. Just like we are never satisfied when we finally get answers to why we have to submit to policy changes at work or why we have to abide by new laws, joy comes in remembering God's goodness, not in having all the answers.