Luke 17:1 “…It is impossible that no offenses should come…”
That’s rather amazing. Impossible that no offenses or stumbling blocks should come. When we get upset about them, we should remember what Jesus said. They’re going to come. We just have to learn how to properly deal with them.
1 “…woe to him through whom they do come”
It’s a choice. No excuse for those who choose to give offense. Some debate over whether Judas had a choice to betray Jesus. He did. The fact that it was known ahead of time doesn’t remove his responsibility. The same can be said for anyone who chooses to be a stumbling block to others.
1-2 “…no offenses should come…should offend one of these little ones”
Offense is being a stumbling block to others, especially children or those young in the faith, or those who have limited understanding and are easily swayed. Penalty is rather severe. Jesus said you’d be better off dead, in a rather dramatic way. Calls to mind that consequences aren’t dismissed at death. They can follow us beyond.
3 “Take heed to yourselves…”
Seems to change directions, but actually covering both sides. Someone may choose to be a stumbling block, but we must be ready to forgive if they repent. No writing someone off.
3 “…rebuke him…”
Nothing wrong with speaking out to a brother when he sins against you. We can do it with compassion and love, but someone needs to know when they’ve done something wrong. There may be times when we’re sure they were unaware and did something unintentionally. In those cases we may choose to just forgive and never say anything. But if it’s something done intentionally or if it’s going to be a thorn in the relationship, say something and clear the air.
4 “…you shall forgive him”
No holding grudges. And no limits on forgiveness. God puts no limits on forgiving us. We don’t even know how many times God has had to forgive us for unknown and unintentional sins. We must do the same for others.
6 “…If you have faith as a mustard seed…”
Not much at all, but we still have such a hard time with it. And I’ve never understood the examples Jesus gave. I don’t think things would happen apart from God’s will even if we have faith. Perhaps that is part of faith itself. Knowing and doing the will of God. We wouldn’t ask for things apart from His will. One commentary brought out another viewpoint. It suggested the request for increased faith wasn’t completely genuine, that they weren’t asking to really receive. They weren’t willing to do whatever it took to get it, they were just asking as something of a show, something they knew they should have so they wanted Him to just give it to them. This caused Jesus to respond in something of a rebuke. Even faith as small as a mustard seed could work miracles, which would come if they were obedient to what they already knew to do. The experience of being obedient to God’s commands would lead to the increase in faith. They didn’t want to go to the trouble. I think this is a problem of mine. I ask for much, but am not willing to be obedient in the thing for which I ask. To gain diligence I must be diligent in what I already know to do. To gain patience I must be patient with those I encounter. Gain through obedience. This also fits with the parable Jesus told as illustration.
10 “…We have done what was our duty to do”
So easy to think we are entitled when all we’re doing is what we’re supposed to do. We shouldn’t have to be thanked for doing our jobs or our duty. We shouldn’t ask for God to give us things when He’s provided them through obedience to Him, if we’re not willing to be obedient.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.