Teaching about Forgiveness and Faith:
(Read Luke 17: 1-19)
Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin. But woe to the one through whom they come”. We must be careful about our conduct because it will affect people around us. If a believer sins, rebuke him privately and if he repents, forgive him. Forgiveness should be offered always. The apostles asked Jesus “Increase our faith”. But Jesus indicates that it is not the greatness of our faith that matter, but the object of our faith. If we have faith in God, the impossible things can become realities despite the smallness of our faith. We must pray in faith according to the will of God. God’s Word reveals his will. We can never have assurance of anything outside the will of God (1 John 5:14). When we trust Jesus rather than our faith, we will have victory over sin. Jesus illustrates what attitude we should have toward our service to God. Instead of being proud of our accomplishment, we must humbly consider us unworthy because we have only done our duty (Luke 17:10). Compare ourselves with what Christ has done for us on the cross. On his way to Jerusalem Jesus healed ten lepers. All they asked was God’s mercy. Jesus commanded them to go and show themselves to the priest (Lev 14:2-7). On their way they were healed. Jesus teaches the importance of faith in Christ who is able to heal them. Only one of the ten, a Samaritan, returned to express thanks. Only he proved to have a worshipful heart. Our worshipful response or lack of it proves whether we have understood God’s mercy. Jesus said “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine, except this foreigner?" Jesus said to him “Rise and go your way. Your faith has made you well”. The faith in Christ can save even the worst sinner. Focus on Christ to increase our faith in him. The power for transformation is not our faith itself, but the one in whom we trust (Luke 17:5-6)
The Coming Kingdom:
(Read Luke 17:20-37)
One day the Pharisees asked Jesus “When will the Kingdom of God come”. Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is within you”. The scholars suggest that it could be translated “among you”. The Kingdom of God was present among them in the person of the King, Christ Jesus. Now the Kingdom has already arrived in Jesus to transform hearts through the gospel (Luke 17:20-21). Jesus first came to suffer and die for the sins of the whole world. He will return to establish his Kingdom in its full glory soon. His coming will be like a sudden blinding flash of lightening (Luke 17:24). Jesus compared the days of Noah and the days of Lot to the time when he will return to judge the world. People live as though this world and its pleasure would last forever. But those who know Christ will live in anticipation of his return. This world will not provide ultimate satisfaction. Believers are warned to remember the tragedy that befell Lot’s wife who looked back (Luke 17:32). Christ’s coming will overtake the entire earth at once. One will be taken and other will be left. Verse Luke 17:37 is a proverbial way of expressing what will happen in judgment (Rev 19:17-18). Only the gospel can fuel our desire to live in anticipation of the return of Christ. We must feed ourselves regularly with the goodness and mercy of God to build our confidence in him. Then we will not become unfruitful, shortsighted and blind but will have abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of Christ when Christ returns (2 Pet 1: 8-11). The key to living the Christian life is the sincere desire to please God and a genuine transformation of our hearts. Pray that God would increase our faith in him by increasing our confidence in Christ's greatness and his ability to do great things for us.