(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)
The killings that took place last week at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., serve as a warning to everyone, says one theologian. That warning, he says, is to see how much everyone is in need for a Savior.
" ... the murders of Newtown are a warning to me - and you. Not a warning to see our schools as defenseless, but to see our souls as depraved," said John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Piper's response to last Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six adults dead was posted on his ministry's blog.
The best-selling author of Don't Waste Your Life looked to the Bible to reflect on murder. Murdering a human being, he said, is an assault on God as humans are made in His image. It's treason against the creator of the world, he added.
But Jesus takes it further, saying everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment (Matthew 5).
"He does not say unwarranted anger is the same as murder. It's not. Ask the bereaved parents of Newtown. He says both are liable to hell. Both come under a similar sentence from God," Piper explained.
"Because both are a sin against God, not just man. Jesus's threat of hell is owing not to the seriousness of murder against man, but to the seriousness of treason against God. In the mind of Jesus - the mind of God - heartfelt verbal invective against God's image is an assault on the infinite dignity of God, the infinite worth of God. It is, therefore, in Jesus's mind, worthy of God's righteous judgment.
"So what we saw yesterday in the Newtown murders was a picture of the seriousness of our own corruption. None of us escapes the charge of sinful anger and verbal venom. So we are all under the just sentence of God's penalty."
The gunman from Friday's shooting was also found dead at the scene from a self-inflicted shot. The investigation on possible motives is ongoing. The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, was said to have suffered from a developmental disorder.
Amid mourning over the loss of mostly 6- and 7-year-olds, Piper reminded the public that mass murder is why Jesus came into the world "the way he did" – as a suffering Savior.
"He knew what this world needed. Not a comedian. Not a sports hero. Not a movie star. Not a political genius. Not a doctor. Not even a pastor. The world needed what no mere man could be," he stated. "The world needed a suffering Sovereign. Mere suffering would not do. Mere sovereignty would not do. The one is not strong enough to save; the other is not weak enough to sympathize."
He concluded, "The God who draws near to Newtown is the suffering, sympathetic God-man, Jesus Christ. No one else can feel what he has felt. No one else can love like he can love. No one else can heal like he can heal. No one else can save like he can save."