We would have expected Jesus to give a sympathetic word for the victims when He was told of a massacre of Jews who were offering sacrifices (Lk. 13:1). Instead, Christ issued a stern warning: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (v.3).

What did Jesus mean? Obviously, He wasn’t saying that anyone who refused to turn from sin would be executed by a ruler or crushed by a falling tower. Life itself tells us that isn’t true.

Those who died were no more innocent or guilty than those who were not killed. Christ was warning His listeners that if they did not repent and accept Him as Messiah, they would face God’s judgment.

In another setting, Jesus warned of a tragic future that awaits all people who reject Him (Jn. 3:18). The Bible calls it the second death, which is eternity in hell (Rev. 20:14; 21:8). This judgment stands in stark contrast to God’s gift of eternal life, given to those who repent and put their faith in His Son (Jn. 3:15-18; Rom. 6:23).

No matter how good or bad we think we are, if we have not repented before our life ends, whether we die in our beds at 83 or in a car crash at 18, we will perish eternally.

Because of Christ, no one has to die twice. Which will it be for you—eternal life, or the second death?