In Luke 13:1-5 Jesus is not denying that God punishes sin. Nor is Jesus denying that God punishes sin already in this life with terrible sufferings. Nor is Jesus denying that sometimes there is an obvious connection between someone's sin and the suffering that befalls him. [Think of] the habitual drunkard, who finds one day that drink has deprived him of his health and wasted away his body. Examples of this kind could be multiplied. None of these realities is being denied by Jesus. The point of Jesus is rather that personal tragedy and suffering is not ordinarily a sign that one is a great sinner. When we see the suffering of another, we ought not quickly draw the conclusion that this suffering is the result of some sin this person has committed. This is the first piece of instruction Jesus has for those who bring Him this news. But Jesus is not finished. He also makes it clear that the tragedy and suffering of others ought to make each of us reflect rather on his own sin.
James D. Slopsema