Guidelines for Living, and an Attitude of Gratitude (Luke 17)

Scripture reading – Luke 17

Our chronological reading of the Scriptures continues with today’s devotional in Luke 17. We will consider two spiritual truths in our study.

Four Spiritual Principles (guidelines) For Life in a Sin Cursed World (17:1-10)

As we draw nearer the Cross, we find Jesus’ teaching moving from employing parables, to teaching His disciples specific spiritual principles. Consider four guidelines, or cautions the LORD taught His disciples regarding their lives, relationships, and sojourn in the world.

The first: “It were better for him [a man or woman] that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (17:2). Understanding offenses are inevitable in a sin cursed society, Jesus warned: Offend, discourage, or lead astray a younger or weaker believer, and you will invoke God’s wrath (17:1-2).

A second principle was a command to address offences when they arise: “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him” (17:3). Some offenses are so grave we dare not overlook them, otherwise, we give place to bitterness. What should we do when we are offended by the words and sinful actions of another believer? We are to go with a spirit of meekness (Galatians 6:1), “rebuke him” (meaning to address the sin, 17:3), and be ready to forgive (17:4).

The essential of faith, was the third spiritual guideline, and it was summed up in this: “Faith as [i.e. little or small as] a grain of mustard seed,” is powerful (17:5-6). The final guideline was in the matter of obeying God: As a servant is duty bound to serve his master (17:7-9), so is a believer to serve the LORD (17:10). A believer has no cause or grounds for pride or boasting. When we have served the LORD faithfully, let it be said, “we have done that which was our duty to do” (17:10).

Gratitude: A Blessed Attitude (Luke 17:11-19)

Luke 17:11 reminds us Jesus was on His way, His final journey, to Jerusalem. Knowing the shadow of the Cross was growing nearer, Jesus passed “through the midst of Samaria and Galilee” (17:11). As He traveled with His disciples, He encountered ten lepers who appealed to Him from afar crying, “Master, have mercy on us” (17:12-13).

Jesus commanded the lepers, “Go shew yourselves unto the priests” (as was required by the law), and “as they went, they were cleansed” (17:14). Though ten men had been healed of that horrific, disfiguring disease, only one “turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan” (17:15-16).

Notice the phrase, “he was a Samaritan” (17:16).

“Misery loves company,” is a trite saying that might aptly describe the unity of the ten lepers. They had all experienced the shame and sorrow of outcasts, but when they were miraculously healed, only one, a Samaritan expressed sincere gratitude. As a Samaritan, he had known a life of rejection in Israel. He had borne not only the scars of leprosy, but the scorn of Jews who looked upon his lineage with disdain. Yet, he alone was thankful, and demonstrated the humility of one profoundly aware that he was the object of God’s grace. He turned back to the LORD, “and with a loud voice glorified God” (17:15).

Jesus asked, “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (17:17); “18There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger” (17:18).

Why a “stranger?” He was a Samaritan. Unlike the nine ungrateful men who were apparently Jews by lineage, he was born a “stranger” from God’s covenant promises with Israel. He felt his unworthiness, and was sensitive to his need. Though a “stranger,” he had been transformed, not merely physically, but spiritually.

Jesus commanded the Samaritan, “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (17:19). He was whole! Not only delivered from leprosy, but delivered from the curse of sin, by his faith in Christ!

Closing thought – Are you whole? Not merely physically, but spiritually whole. You can be whole, by turning from sin, putting your faith and trust in Christ, and receiving Him as your Savior.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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