Luke 17:1-3a (NIV)
1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.
2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
3 So watch yourselves…
On verses 1-3: From Jesus’ words here we can know that God watches the way we influence others, especially the generation coming after us. Do we encourage others to obey God or to sin against Him? God will hold us accountable for the way we affect the next generation, so let’s be careful to set the best example we can and to offer the best leadership we can by God’s grace.
Luke 17:3b-4 (NIV)
3 …”If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.
4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
On verses 3b-4: God never asks us to do anything that He Himself is not willing to do. You might think it is crazy that a person would sin against you seven times in a day and that you should forgive that person all seven times, but that is the way God forgives us. On any given day I can bet you that we fall short of God’s standards in various ways and at various times (whether we know it or not), but God generously, willingly, and gladly makes His forgiveness and mercy available to us. Just as we have received amazing mercy from God, God expects us to extend that same mercy to others.
Luke 17:5-6 (NIV)
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
On verses 5-6: We don’t have it in and of ourselves to forgive the way God does or to live the way God commands us to, but through God’s power at work in us we can. This verse tells me that what you put your faith in is more important than how much faith you have. A little bit of faith (“as small as a mustard seed”) in something that works is better than a lot of faith in something that doesn’t. When it comes to matters of life, death, heaven and hell, even an ounce of faith in Jesus’ saving power is far better than a ton of faith in our ability to save ourselves.
Luke 17:7-10 (NIV)
7 “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?
8 Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?
9 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?
10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”
On verses 7-10: Here Jesus warns us against having an attitude of spoiled entitlement before God. Whenever you give to God or serve God sacrificially, don’t think, “Now you owe me, God!” No, all our service is simply a feeble and limited response to God’s unlimited and undeserved grace which we can never repay. These verses show us that serving God is not just about what you do but how you do it. Choose an attitude of gratitude and a heart of humility when serving God.
Heavenly Father, may I be a blessing to the generations coming after me. May my faith always be placed in the right thing and in the right Person, namely Your Son Jesus. Please help me to extend mercy to others the way You extend mercy to me. May I serve You without an attitude of entitlement, but an attitude of gratitude. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!