Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall begin to consider chapter seventeen of the Gospel of Luke. This chapter continues to speak of matters that took place as the Lord Jesus was on the way from Galilee to Jerusalem. Concerning this, the record in Luke comprises much more than the record in Matthew and Mark. In those Gospels the record concerning the Lord’s going from Galilee to Jerusalem is somewhat brief; Luke’s account of this, however, is much more inclusive.
After speaking in chapter sixteen on riches, the Lord goes on in 17:1-10 to cover four minor matters: stumbling others (vv. 1-2), forgiving others (vv. 3-4), faith (vv. 5-6), and realizing that we are unprofitable slaves (vv. 7-10). Regarding this last point, we need to realize that we are actually not very useful. This means that no matter how much we have done for the Lord, we need to consider ourselves unprofitable slaves.
I have spent much time wondering why these four points are inserted here immediately after chapter sixteen. At first I could not see any connection between them and the record in the previous chapter. Eventually, I saw that there is a connection, and this connection is that the four points in 17:1-10 are a teaching given by the Lord to the disciples because of what the Pharisees were doing. For instance, as religious hypocrites, the Pharisees often stumbled others. No one stumbles others more than a hypocritical religionist. Being false leaders in religion, the Pharisees were continually stumbling others. While they stumbled people on the one hand, they would not forgive them on the other hand. This means that even though they offended others, once they themselves were offended by someone, they would never forgive the one who offended them. Furthermore, these false leaders in religion did not have faith. If they had had faith, they would not have lived the way they did. Finally, the Pharisees were proud, viewing themselves as being very useful and profitable.
From this we can see that the teaching in 17:1-10 was given by the Lord over against the background provided by the Pharisees. In these verses the Lord seems to be telling His disciples, “Don’t be like the Pharisees, stumbling others and yet not forgiving those who offend them. The Pharisees are without faith and yet are proud of themselves, thinking that they are useful.”
As those who are enjoying the Lord in the New Testament jubilee, we should not stumble others. On the contrary, we should do our best to perfect, protect, and preserve others. Second, if we are offended by someone, we should always be ready and willing to forgive. Luke 17:3 and 4 say, “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and turns to you seven times, saying, I repent, you shall forgive him.” Here the Lord emphasizes the need to be willing to forgive. Furthermore, in any kind of circumstance or environment, we need to exercise our faith, believing in God and trusting Him for everything. Moreover, although we may be somewhat useful and profitable, weshould humble ourselves and not think of ourselves as being useful. On the contrary, we should always consider that we are unprofitable slaves.
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