Luke: Sin, Forgiveness, Faith, and Duty

Read: Luke 17:1-10

What is discipleship all about? Sin, forgiveness, faith, and duty. The reading this morning encourages us to look at three aspects of discipleship, well, bullet points from Jesus’ presentation.

  1. Don’t cause someone else to sin: Luke 17:1-3a
  2. Forgiveness: Luke 17:3b-4
  3. Have faith: Luke 17:5
  4. Do your duty: Luke 17:6-10

Causing someone to sin who is under your leadership is a tragedy that will not be overlooked. This is not intended to be a guilt-trip for those with rogue students. From my perspective, this short narrative serves as a strong reminder that we must take our role as discipler seriously. I think it’s reasonable to extend this into other venues, e.g., work, home, etc., since the thought of leading someone astray can arise in many areas, but help me to stay focused as Jesus is speaking to us directly.

This heavy edict is followed quickly by the need to forgive — often. Jesus knows us well. He knows we will continue to trip and fall. The good news is that He not only forgives us, He teaches us to forgive others.

Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. Luke 17:4

I’m so very thankful for this assertion, and unhappy at the same time. Thankful for those who forgive me, unhappy that I have to forgive someone again and again! I’m just being honest. This is not as easy as it sounds!

This verse always astounds me:

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5

Don’t you find this troubling? The apostles, the very men that walked with Jesus, watched Him perform miracles, saw how He handled religious leaders, these men have to ask Jesus to increase their faith. Their struggle helps me to know I’m not alone. Thanks, Luke, for putting that in there for us!

Jesus’ answer let’s us know that it doesn’t take a certain amount of faith to do amazing things. In other words, don’t wait until you have all of your faith merit badges before you start your ministry!

The last point in this passage addresses those who simply doing their duty. This story depicts a servant that does his job all day, then comes in to serve his master a meal. I want to say, “there, there,” to the servant, take a break, but that’s not his job. He has a responsibility to serve the master his supper.

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. Luke 17:10

Lord, help me to hear what you command and go about doing your business as required. It it my duty. Beyond that, I should not look for rewards or recognition. Help me to work with excellence beyond what is simply required without any promise of earthly reward.

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