LUKE 17 – DUTY, THANKFULNESS AND THE KINGDOM
1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.
A. Forgiveness, faith and duty.
- (1-2) The danger of stumbling another.
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”
a. Then He said to the disciples: Jesus, through the account of Lazarus and the rich man, has made it clear that eternity is for real, and no one from beyond will come back to warn us. It is all the more imperative how we live and show Jesus to others on this side of eternity, because right now counts forever.
b. It is impossible: It is inevitable that people be offended, but woe to the person through whom those offenses come. It is important to understand what Jesus meant when He spoke of offenses.
i. The ancient Greek word used here for offenses is skandalon, and it comes from the word for a bent-stick – the stick that springs the trap or sets the bait. It also was used for a stumbling block, something that people trip over.
ii. In the Bible sometimes a skandalon is good – such as the way that people “trip” over Jesus, and are offended at the gospel (Romans 9:33, 1 Corinthians 1:23, Galatians 5:11).
iii. But among brothers in Jesus, a skandalon is bad. It can be false counsel (Matthew 16:23), and it can be leading a brother into sin by your “liberty” (Romans 14:13). Division and false teaching brings a skandalon among God’s people (Romans 16:17).
c. Woe to him through whom they do come: Essentially, Jesus said: “People are going to take the bait – but woe to you if you offer the hook. People are going to trip up – but woe to you if you set the stumbling block in their way.”
i. It would better for the offending one to die a horrible death, such as having a millstone hung around your neck and being thrown into the sea.
ii. This is a lesson that the church learned the hard way in trying to help God to curse the Jewish race for their rejection of the Messiah; the curse came back on the church worse than ever. If someone seems ripe for the judgment or discipline of God, let God do it. Get out of the way. God doesn’t need you as an instrument of His judgment, only as an instrument of His love.
iii. 1 John 2:10 explains the solution to being a skandalon to others – love: He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. If we love our brother, we will not bring an offense into their life.