Our Responsibility to God and Others-Luke 17:1-10

Luke 17:1-10 “Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 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. So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 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. “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’? 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’? 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.'”

Luca 17:1-10 « Gesù disse ai suoi discepoli: «È impossibile che non avvengano scandali, ma guai a colui per colpa del quale avvengono! Sarebbe meglio per lui che una macina da mulino gli fosse messa al collo e fosse gettato nel mare, piuttosto che scandalizzare uno solo di questi piccoli. State attenti a voi stessi! Se tuo fratello pecca, riprendilo; e se si ravvede, perdonalo. Se ha peccato contro di te sette volte al giorno, e sette voltetorna da te e ti dice: “Mi pento”, perdonalo».5 Allora gli apostoli dissero al Signore: «Aumentaci la fede!» Il Signore disse: «Se aveste fede quanto un granello di senape, potreste dire a questo sicomoro: “Sràdicati e trapiàntati nel mare”, e vi ubbidirebbe. 7«Se uno di voi ha un servo che ara o bada alle pecore, gli dirà forse, quando quello torna a casa dai campi: “Vieni subito a metterti a tavola”? Non gli dirà invece: “Preparami la cena, rimbòccati le vesti e servimi finché io abbia mangiato e bevuto, poi mangerai e berrai tu”? Si ritiene forse obbligato verso il servo perché ha fatto quello che gli era stato comandato? 10 Così, anche voi, quando avrete fatto tutto ciò che vi è comandato, dite: “Noi siamo servi inutili; abbiamo fatto quello che eravamo in obbligo di fare”».

These 10 verses can be divided up into two parts: the responsibility to each other (vs. 1-4) and the responsibility to God (vs.5-10). In the first part, two points surface: hurting others and being hurt. The penalty for causing others to sin is quite severe (“thrown into the sea with a millstone”). But to whom is Jesus referring? Jesus had already had numerous conflicts with the religious establishment who were not only refusing to acknowledge Jesus but also preventing others from coming to Him. Luke 11:52 b says, “You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

The second point about hurts deals with forgiveness. The subject of forgiveness will be an issue that we will face all our lives. We are all flawed and at times hurt the ones we love. In this passage, notice the relationship (“If your brother sins”). The rebuke is not based on the fact that you are above sinning or to lord your spirituality over him; it has its basis on the relationship. The word might be better understood by the idea to admonish your brother over the hurt. When a true brother repents, forgive him. The responsibility now falls on you. You must forgive him as often as it occurs. Notice the hyperbole (seventy times seven).

The second set of verses involves the application of the responsibility to others by our allegiance to God. The apostles’ response is similar to what we have all said when we feel hurt by our own brothers. How can we deal with it and live up to this high standard? The apostles all said, “Increase our faith!” The truth is that we don’t necessarily need more faith, but the faith that we do have needs to work. Even if we apply the smallest amount of faith (notice again the hyperbole of the mustard seed), we can release the power of forgiveness. The second application deals with only doing what is mechanically required in forgiveness but knowing that your heart is not in it. Simply going through the actions of forgiveness without a faith that works still makes us “unworthy servants” (v. 10).

Pray with me: Lord, I know Your commandments can be summarized by my responsibility to You and to others. As Your servant, help me to have a true faith that works when I am faced by conflict with others that is “bound to come” (v. 1).

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