Monday 08 November 2010

Bible Book:
Luke

"If the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, 'I repent', you must forgive." (v.4)

Luke 17:1-6 Monday 8 November 2010

Background

In today's passage, Jesus is speaking with his disciples aboutsin. He appears to suggest in verse 1 that there are causes of sinin the world - "occasions for stumbling" - but he also says in thesame verse that people are morally responsible if they act in sucha way. But for the person who is responsible for causingtemptations for others, there is a judgement (verse 2).

Verses 3 and 4 speak of the necessity of forgiveness in theChristian life. Jesus tells us to forgive "seven times". This is indeliberate contrast to the rabbis (the Jewish teachers) who had asaying that if someone forgave another three times, they were aperfect person.

But Jesus takes this much further, by doubling the amount andadding one. He does not literally mean that we are to forgive seventimes, but unlimited times. The greater number heightens the forceof the saying.

In the final verses of the passage, the disciples ask Jesus to"increase our faith". Jesus' response about the mustard seed andthe mulberry tree reveals that even a tiny amount of faith can domiraculous things.

We cannot forgive in the way Jesus teaches us to unless we have theresources of faith to do so. Jesus does not invite us to becomemagicians and ask trees to plant themselves in the sea, but toemulate those of the past whose faith enabled them to achievewonderful and awe-inspiring things (eg Hebrews 11).

To Ponder

Does forgiveness come easy to you? What hasstopped you from forgiving in the past? What can you say to Godabout this?

Where is your faith at the moment?

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