We must not look to the judge and jury to satisfy our hunger for justice. We cannot appease our desire to learn “Why?” by obsessing over the news reports. We must look to Christ, for the shocking nature of this massacre teaches us to wake from our daily slumber and see that there is nothing done by this murderer that doesn’t already exist in our own hearts. We must not think that we are less guilty before God for the ways in which we have despised our neighbor. Therefore, the proper response for the Christian is to repent and receive forgiveness in the blood of Jesus.
This was the message of Dr. Francis Pieper in 1901 upon the assassination of President William McKinley. His words speak to us today:
“God desires above all one thing from all men, including Americans: They should hear the Gospel of Christ and believe it… We have the Gospel. We preach not politics and human morality, but Jesus Christ the crucified as the sole basis of salvation. But do we rightly honor the Gospel? Do we diligently hear it? Do we diligently read it? Do we really love it? Are our hearts fixed on heaven through the Gospel? Are we dead to the sinful ways of this world? Do we make use of our earthly possessions above all to advance the Gospel? This and similar questions will lead us to the recognition that we too are guilty of the sin of this country, namely, the despising of the Gospel. We should repent of these sins. The present misfortune of our country and other public misfortune should remind us of this.
“Indeed, the wrath that rises in our hearts against the neighbor is murder before God… May this act of murder, which has thrown all of us citizens of this land into horror and travail, remind us all precisely of this. And may we recognize and confess that we all would burn in hell as murderers if the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did not cleanse us also from the sin of murder… we thrown ourselves in the dust before God and say: Christ, Thou Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us! Christ, Thou Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us! Christ, Thou Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us Thy peace! Amen.”
Pieper, Francis, “The Assassination of President McKinley and Public Misfortune: What Does God Desire to Teach Us through the Public Misfortune That Has Come Upon Our Country? 1901,” Matthew Harrison, At Home In The House Of My Fathers, 610, 612.Thanks be to God that in the midst of the shocking and wretched evils of this world and of our own hearts we are not left to suffer alone. Christ has suffered our evils ahead of us and He remains an ever present source of forgiveness, comfort, and strength, offering to us His Words, His body, His blood. This is what satisfies the Christian in the face of evil, for in the end we need not temporal justice or answered questions, we need the cross.