Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In Luke 17 Jesus makes a surprising logical shift. In verse one, he speaks about temptations to sin. He goes on to tell how bad a temptation to sin is. So far, so good. But then he says that if someone sins against you, your reaction needs to be that of forgiveness. So in verses 1-4 we have the idea that sin is really bad and that when someone sins against us we are to be forgiving. We would more naturally have expected that when someone sins against us we are to confront that sin, because sin is bad, and we need to help people resist it.
Jesus explains the idea in verses 7-10. Yes, what he is calling his apostles to do is really difficult, maybe impossible. But he is making a command to them. He says it is only reasonable, just like if we have a servant we expect that servant to be working for us and making our lives easier. The servant expects to be ordered around and to find keeping those orders pretty inconvenient at times. But it’s the normal relationship between the master and the servant.
God is our master. If he says we need to forgive our brother, what do we do? We forgive our brother. When? Right then. Why? Christ our master said to do it. He doesn’t need any other justification. He is the master.
Would you like the justification? I’ll give it to you anyway. Jesus has forgiven your sins and my sins. He has forgiven us countless offenses which we commit against him in thought, wrod, and in deed. He knows the nature of forgiveness. And he knows that our lack of forgiveness will draw us into sin, as well as provoking further sin from the person sinning against us.
Christians are to be a forgiving and restorative community, drawing one another into a warm and friendly relationship with God in Christ, as His redeemed people. Yes, we are to obey what the Lord has told us. But we also are His forgiven people who love and forgive one another.
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