Jesus turned to his disciples and warned them that not believing is one thing but those who cause the stumbling of a believer, for them, even death will give no relief. The Pharisees were causing the people to stumble, asking them to follow irrelevant laws and showing immense hypocrisy in their behaviour. Let us ponder on our behaviour, lest we become a stumbling block for the others.
…If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. – Luke 17:3
He also spoke about forgiveness and that if someone truly repents we have to forgive them as many times as they ask for forgiveness. This is similar to how God forgives us whenever we reach out to him. This was in contrast to the Judaism beliefs that prevailed during those days, that we must forgive only thrice.
… We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty. – Luke 17:10
Jesus asks us to be humble like a servant serving their master. The servant does not expect gratitude or appreciation for performing his duties. We must follow the example of this servant and serve Jesus without expectation of a ‘reward in Heaven’.
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
According to the mosaic laws those stricken with leprosy and other such skin diseases were to reside outside the city (Leviticus 13). That’s where Jesus met ten lepers at the border of Galilee and Samaria. They called out to Jesus for healing but Jesus replied by directing them to go and show themselves to their priests.
Why would Jesus send these lepers to the priests because of whom they were ousted from the society. The law requires the priests to check the affected skin area and grant entry to the city after a period of seven days.
Jesus healed the lepers and gave them freedom to choose between either following him or returning to their social life.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. – Luke 17:15-16
Unfortunately only one of the ten lepers returned to Jesus and it was a Samaritan who returned.
Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” – Luke 17:19
His faith had made him both physically and spiritually well.
The Coming of the Kingdom of God
Again the Pharisees questioned Jesus about the coming of the kingdom of God, to which Jesus replied that the kingdom was already in their midst. The Pharisees refused to accept Jesus’ testimony and kept waiting for outward signs for the kingdom of God.
Jesus warned his disciples that they will long for the days that He was with them, for He knew the persecution that they would face. He did not want them to follow false signs of His coming but instead press on to their goal.
Jesus gave two examples of Noah and Lot and in both, the people did not know what was about to befall them. They ate, drank and planned for their future but one day, everything was destroyed.
Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. – Luke 17:33
Like Lot’s wife, if we look back on our past lives, we will lose the new life that Jesus offers us. Jesus talked about leaving everything behind like our loved ones as He gave examples of one being taken away and the other being left behind. Let us not look back in want of the pleasures of our old lives but look to Jesus for renewing us everyday.