Luke – Doors Wide Open!
Can you imagine being one of the disciples, walking and talking with Jesus each day on the road that will lead to Jerusalem? Can you imagine listening to Him, watching Him speak with others, heal many and relate to all people with a heart of compassion? You know in your heart He has wisdom, insight and understand that goes beyond any teacher you have ever known. You are drawn to Him. You are devoted to Him. You begin to realize what real love is and how love behaves.
Jesus is Truth. He tells you the Truth. He knows the Scriptures well AND knows the God as the One and Only God as no one else does.
Jesus is patient with most of your questions and gives story examples of what God wants for us, from us and how God wants us to think and behave. If you repeat your questions, He will patiently tell you again who God is and what God intends in His Word, what He wants for His children and how He expects them to behave. There is no question that He loves you greatly. And you love Him back. What a relationship that is growing closer as you walk the dusty roads with Him each day. You might not understand everything Jesus is telling you now but you are sure, without doubt, that He loves you.
Luke 17, New Living Translation
Teachings about Forgiveness and Faith
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! 2 It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. 3 So watch yourselves!
“If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. 4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.”
6 The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!
7 “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? 8 No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ 9 And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. 10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”
THE RELATIONSHIP GROWS DEEPER STILL…
As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, He continued to teach His disciples and prepare them for what He would suffer there. But He was also preparing them for the time when He would no longer be with them and they would be ministering to others in His place. It was a critical period in their lives.
In this chapter, Luke recorded lessons that Jesus gave His disciples about some of the essentials of the Christian life: forgiveness (Luke 17:1–6), faithfulness (Luke 17:7–10), thankfulness (Luke 17:11–19), and preparedness (Luke 17:20–37).
After Jesus warned the Pharisees about the sin of loving money (Luke 16:14–31), He then turned to His disciples to warn them about possible sins in their lives, for occasions to stumble (“offenses”) are an unfortunate part of life. After all, we are all sinners living in a sinful world. But we must take heed not to cause others to stumble, for it is a serious thing to sin against a fellow believer and tempt him or her to sin.
But suppose you are not the one who does the sinning. Suppose another believer sins against you. Jesus anticipated this question in Luke 17:3–4 and instructed us what to do. First, we must have a personal concern for each other and obey His warning, “Take heed to yourselves.” This means that we should lovingly watch over each other and do all we can to keep one another from sinning.
If a brother or sister does sin against us, we should give a private, loving rebuke. Our tendency might be to feel hurt down inside, nurse a grudge, and then tell others what happened to us, but this is the wrong approach (see Matt. 18:15–20). “Speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) is the first step toward solving personal differences.
Our aim is not to embarrass or hurt the offender, but to encourage him or her to repent (Gal. 6:1). If the offender does repent, then we must forgive (Eph. 4:32; and see Matt. 5:43–48). In fact, we must be in the habit of forgiving, for others might sin against us seven times a day—or even seventy times seven (Matt. 18:21.)!
No one is likely to commit that much sin in one day, but this use of hyperbole emphasized the point Jesus was making: do not enumerate the sins of others, for love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:4–6). We should always be ready to forgive others, for one day we may want them to forgive us!
Jesus was now going to balance one lesson with another. There was a danger that the Twelve might get so carried away with transplanting trees that they would ignore the everyday responsibilities of life! Faith that does not result in faithfulness will not accomplish God’s work. It is good to have faith to do the difficult (Luke 17:1–3) and the impossible(Luke 17:4–6), but it is essential that we have faith to do even the routine tasks our Master has committed to us. Privileges must always be balanced with responsibilities.
The fact that Jesus will reward His servants is wholly a matter of God’s grace. We do not deserve anything because we have obeyed Him and served Him.
As His servants, we must beware lest we have the wrong attitude toward our duties. There are two extremes to avoid: merely doing our duty in a slavish way because we have to, or doing our duty because we hope to gain a reward.
What then is the proper attitude for Christian service? “Doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:6). “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15 nkjv). To the person who is born again, “his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). Serving Him is a delight, not just a duty, and we obey Him because we love Him. “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:8).
How many times do I feel I must forgive? Do I forgive completely, without grudges?
How is my attitude toward service to my Lord?
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
As you taught your disciples, we teach we who believe and love you back the same lessons of life. Jesus, you are the Way, Truth and Life. Thank you for your forgiveness for all our sins. Thank you for growing our faith. Thank you for your faithfulness to us.
In Jesus Name, Amen