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What are these terrible events Jesus is referencing?

Did you know…

…that we don't know very much about these two events Jesus is talking about in this week's reading. In the gospel this week Jesus is talking to a Galilean crowd about two recent events that took place in Jerusalem. Pontius Pilate mingling the blood of fellow Galileans with sacrificial blood in the temple and some Galileans dying in a tower collapse. While we know that Pontius Pilate was known for terrible acts of violence against the people under his rule, and especially toward religious groups, this particular incident is not attested in any other sources. We know even less about the collapse of the Tower of Siloam, which may have been a tower making up part of the defenses of Jerusalem. Either way, neither of these stories appear in the other gospel accounts, nor are they reported on by any other historians or writers of the time. Yet, Jesus is basing his theological points on these two very specific stories, and the particular circumstances surrounding each event.

As often happens, Jesus is reflecting theologically on real world events and explaining to the crowd what they do and do not indicate about the nature of God. Here Jesus is making some very direct statements about how God affects the world and interacts with it, and yet, we don't know very much about the particular circumstances of these stories. What do we lose when we only hear the theological reflection on an event without knowing anything about the event itself? What do we gain? Share you thoughts as a group.

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