Temptations to Sin
17 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Increase Our Faith
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
1) The main point of this passage finds its foundation in the previous passage that talks about the severity and demands of God’s law. It continues with saying that there WILL be offenses, you WILL break His law and it is impossible for you not to sin, and in doing so, it would be better for you to have drowned than be in that position. (Once again implying that we need a Saviour since failure is a certainty.)
2) The passage makes a turning point in “Take heed of yourselves” which I take to mean keep each other accountable (only with other believers since he’s only speaking to the disciples). Point out the sin in their lives lovingly and forgive those who ask, even if they end up asking seventy times seventy times about the same thing. (Again, underlying all this is the unspoken motivation to forgive, that is because Jesus forgave us so we forgive others.)
3) With almost every point, Jesus does not overtly or directly state their need for a Saviour or forgiveness. Instead, he implies and alludes and hopes that they read between the lines. I guess that’s what he means when he says, “Those who have ears, let him hear.”
4) I never realized that when God talks about having the faith of a mustard seed, he was talking within the context of being able to forgive. It seems that the disciples needed more faith particularly to forgive those who have wronged them. I guess forgiving can be one of the hardest things to do, but also one of the most heavenly acts one can do. It is not of this world, it does not line up to the patterns of our culture, it finds no roots in earthly values.
5) I’ve seen many friends having a hard time forgiving one or both of their parents. And I have had a difficult time consciously making an effort to forgive my sister for the past. It seems that our family members are usually the ones who have the ability to deeply hurt us and creating lasting baggage that we take with us, if we are not careful, throughout our entire lives.
6) The end of this passage punches home the fact that God commands us to forgive. It is not a request, it is a command! He will not thank us for doing it in the end, it simply becomes a part of our lifestyles as Christians who personally known the saving grace of Jesus’ forgiveness. I don’t know about you but after understanding that, I echo the disciples cry. INCREASE MY FAITH to be able to forgive no matter who hurts me or what they’ve done.