Luke 17:1-2-Jesus warns the disciples to be wary of people (“stumbling blocks”) who would keep them from truly following His teachings. God’s judgment for those people that cause others to stumble (to not follow through in their faith) will be decisive and harsh. It is one thing for an individual to be unfaithful, but it is much worse for that person to cause others to also not be faithful.
Luke 17:3-6-Jesus then tells them that if a “brother sins” (even over and over, again)…presumably because of one of the “stumbling blocks” that he has just mentioned…to forgive him. The disciples realize how hard this would be (humanly speaking) and say to Him, “Increase our faith!” Perhaps, this faith is to keep them from stumbling, as well as to forgive those who do. Jesus tells them that if they had faith the size of a “mustard seed” (a very small seed)…that they could tell a “mulberry tree” (which has large, deep roots) to be uprooted and planted in the sea. In other words, it’s not the size of the faith that counts…but the size of what that faith is placed in that makes the difference. They have adequate faith…what they need is obedience…which is what Jesus explains, next.
Luke 17:7-10-He tells them that in the same way that a servant does what his master tells him…they are to do what He tells them. The servant is not then congratulated for something he has done (as in having a lot of faith)…but, he has simply done what was expected of him. In the same way, they are not congratulated because they have exhibited great faith (and done something that they can receive thanks and applause for)…they have simply trusted in the command of the Lord and been obedient to what He has said. They “have done only that which we ought to have done.”
Luke 17:11-19-As Jesus is gong to Jerusalem, 10 lepers approach Him. They request that He heal them. He tells them to go to the Priest and show themselves to him. At this point, there is not apparent healing. But the a leper would only go to the Priest if he had been healed and wanted the Priest to certify it. The lepers left and headed for the Priest. It was an act of faith in Jesus…that they would be healed.
For a description of leprosy see:
For an explanation of the Priest’s role when a leper was healed see:
Notice that it says, “And it came about that as they were going, they were cleansed.” I wonder, how far had they traveled before they were cleansed? We don’t know, but all of a sudden…it happened! Fingers, eyelids, lips, noses, ears…parts of their bodies that had the appearance of rotting meat…were suddenly whole and healthy. Can you imagine the emotions that must have flooded their hearts? Can you hear them shouting and whooping in sheer joy as they run down the road towards Jerusalem? What must people along the road have thought? Ten men…lepers from the appearance of their clothing…running down the road dancing and shouting. What is the world coming too? Then one of them stopped. He knew that he had a religious duty to go to the Priest before he could be officially proclaimed healed. That would come. He would do that. But for the moment, there was something more important…Someone more important. He turned around and went back to Jesus. This leper, this “former” leper…got it right. He glorifies God for being healed. And he thanks the Son of God, for healing him. When Jesus sees him, He is disappointed that only one out of the ten got it right. And this one…this one was a Samaritan, not even a Jew. Then Jesus looked at him and said, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” It’s a wonderful truth of the Gospel, that God is more interested in where we are going, than where we have come from.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be obedient to You…and to not think that I have to have more faith. If I am not careful, I would turn the tables and even make faith the result of something that I have done…and try to get credit for it. And Lord, please help me to always remember to take time to give You praise for what You have done in my life.