Friday after Reminiscere
Scripture: St. Luke 17:1-10 (NKJV)
17:1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 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. 3 Take heed to yourselves.
“If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat ‘? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink ‘? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'”
In verses 1-4 the apostles must have thought Jesus had laid a great weight of responsibility on them as He sent them about their work. First, He warned them to be very careful to not bring offense to anyone, and second, He laid the weight of being forgiving on them. He said to always forgive a repentant brother! How hard these commands seem! Is it any wonder the apostles said, “Increase our faith?”
Then Jesus goes on to tell them that they don’t need an increase of faith, because it isn’t the size of one’s faith, but what and who is the foundation of faith. In the verse just before our text, Jesus said, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”
All the faith we need is given to us through the Word of God. Peter later points out that “we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “we have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place” (2 Pet. 1:16ff).
Today this word still goes out through faithful pastors, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, it still works forgiveness of sins, new life, and salvation. Just as with the apostles, today through the Word and Sacrament He still calls, gathers, and enlightens His Church to do His work in the world.
We pray: O God, who sees that of ourselves we have no strength, keep us both outwardly and inwardly that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.