Luke 17 … Consider His Extreme Forgiveness

Originally posted: 09/26/2019

“And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him,” (17:4).

His disciples knew exactly what Jesus was saying. Jesus was not telling them to keep a running tally of the times they’d been offended or hurt, and when it reached that magic number “seven” it was time to write that person off.

Simply put, Jesus was telling His followers that the offering of Forgiveness was to be unlimited. That’s Extreme.

Consider His Extreme Forgiveness

His Extreme Forgiveness addresses the inevitable. People will hurt us, unintentionally or maliciously, constructing stumbling blocks that can trip us up and bring serious pain.

How can He demand His followers to extend the impossible to those so undeserving?

Because He did it first.

When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing,” (Luke 23:33-34).

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, (Romans 5:8).

How do we respond to His Extreme Forgiveness?

  • Stumbling Blocks are inevitable and people will hurt us. Oh, may we be careful to live so as not to offend or cause others to stumble.
    • “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!” (17:1).
  • Being hurt is inevitable. We are not to ignore sin, but we must be quick to forgive, and repeatedly as needed.
    • “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him,” (17:3-4).
  • Repeatedly extending forgiveness goes against the natural human grain. The apostles understood this kind of incessant forgiveness Jesus demanded would require supernatural intervention. We must depend on Him, by faith, to grow us in this area of forgiveness.
    • The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (17:5).
  • Left unattended, unforgiveness will expand and consume our lives. Faith, even as small as a mustard seed, has the power to uproot the bitter root of unforgiveness. May we take Jesus at His Word and pray He would grow and strengthen our faith to uproot any unforgiveness before it takes root in our lives.
    • And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you,” (17:6).
      • (Interesting note: mulberry trees are fast-growing trees with aggressive roots; in our modern times they are known to often lift sidewalks and strangle drains beneath the surface. Could this be why Jesus addressed the  uprooting of this particular tree, to cast it into the sea, to rid oneself of the aggressive strangling roots of unforgiveness?)
    • See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; (Hebrews 12:15).
  • How can we withhold forgiveness to our brothers when we come to Him daily, so desperate for His forgiveness of our sins against Him?
    •  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9).
    • “‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’” (Matthew 18:32-33).
    • “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him,” (17:4).

Extending forgiveness to others is evidence we understand His Extreme Forgiveness we ourselves have received, the mercy we do not deserve and have so freely been given.

May we by faith, quickly and repeatedly, be willing to extend His Extreme Forgiveness. After all, it’s simply what ought to be done.

“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done,’” (17:10).

Let’s Grow Together!

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