Today we will be reading from Luke 17:1-10:
Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for sin are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come! 2 It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Be on your guard! If a brother or sister sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. 4 And 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.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8 Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me; put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’ ”
Today we see Jesus tell the disciples to do something really hard, something they know that they cannot do on their own. Forgive people. He tells them today that if someone sins and is then corrected and repents, you must forgive.
If seven times they sin against you and seven times they turn back, truly asking forgiveness, what are you to do? Forgive them. That sounds like a Herculean task. That’s too much. To forgive that many times? Nope, not possible.
I can’t do it, can’t be done. Yet here is Jesus telling us that we must show that kind of grace and mercy to others. And that is something that they know is a thing that can’t be done by their own strength. That ability to forgive, to show mercy and grace, to give mercy and grace to individuals that is an ability that flows straight down from the Father. It is a gift of faith.
So when Jesus tells them to forgive, what do they say? Increase our faith. They know that it comes only through faith.
But surprisingly, what does Jesus say? If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you’ll be able to do great things. We don’t have to have the faith of Mother Teresa or the saints of old. If we hold ourselves up to them, we may always find ourselves lacking. What we need is just simple faith. Some faith. A faith that God can build on and grow us from.
Maybe we don’t have perfect faith today. But do we have even just a little? And if so, if we have even just a little, God will do great things in us today.
Lord, increase our faith. And use the faith that we have so that we can be faithful and live out your grace.
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