The next question from the gospels Jesus asked and we must answer comes from Luke 17:7-9
“Will any of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, come at once and recline at the table? Will he rather say to him prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? “
Have you ever heard the saying. .”if you don’t work, you don’t eat!” That is a very scriptural truth and is central to this text. Will you indulge me as I labor this point here?
Let’s begin at the beginning. . Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He says to them; “Temptations are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come.” He is very precise in this text to mention forgiveness. . forgiveness at this point becomes requirement, follow me in this let’s move forward. .
What is he saying?? In your lifetime, and mine… Certainly, someone will sin against us, there will be those around us and even us ourselves will fall into the temptation to sin. In this event Jesus literally says… “We must forgive” Now on the one needing forgiveness side this would work best, but particularly He is speaking of the times we need to forgive others!
Is there anyone you need to forgive this moment? Ask God, because you may have suppressed anger too?
Jesus gives the command if you’re brother sins and he confesses, forgive him. . But go a little further to note, if you bring an offering to the altar and realize there is an offense against you, or if someone says you have offended them you have to go and make it right for if you don’t forgive from your heart God won’t forgive you.
The disciples immediately link forgiveness with faith. . Saying. .. your going to have to increase our Faith to forgive a brother or sister 7 Times in one day. .. and Jesus did say WE “must” forgive. They were thinking.. Your asking us to do something hard. Isn’t it good enough that we are out here working in the fields for you, we are casting our demons in your name, we are bringing dead people to life here isn’t that good enough Jesus.. Come on, shouldn’t we get to come in and sit and eat at this point.. After all that person who was molested, is it right to tell them they have to forgive their offender and let you deal with them. Jesus.. You must not know my mother in law! Jesus, you can’t be serious… I’m going to need some extra faith for this because what is more than one person offend me in a day.. I am liable to have a fit on one of them if I just have to keep forgiving!
They did not understand that forgiving doesn’t help the other person, it helps you the one who was offended.
So why would Jesus go through all of this to tell them that if they speak to a tree and tell it to dry up at the root it would happen. Anger can take root in our hearts and if we don’t have enough faith within ourselves, enough salt.. we will not gather the strength we need from Jesus to speak to anger, and bitterness and hatred toward anyone so that we may move forward in our walk with God!
He goes on to say, you shouldn’t need extra faith to do what is a regular part is your duties as a servant of the Lord. .. how amazing is this little statement. In all essence, Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of the world. He was getting ready to carry it all on His own shoulders, every sin, past, present and future and you mean to tell me that looking back over your life even today and yesterday you don’t see where He has had to forgive you for an offense or two.. or three… or four!
Forgiveness in this sense is the work we must do and if we forgive we receive forgiveness.
We don’t practice forgiveness much in our society, we hold grudges against people, we talk bad about them behind their backs and where I’m from in New Orleans, if you weren’t lucky someone might catch you in a crowd and take a pistol to your head because you offended them.. It’s very sad truths.. Nevertheless they are real! WE need so much healing in our society but it will come from forgiveness. I pray and ask the Lord to show us where we have missed him in this area!
Jesus says in all essence, if you had a servant who you called in to prepare your meal for you, would you want him to sit and eat first, before serving you, No, his job as a servant is to serve you. And if he did not work he could not eat. . Even if he had just finished working in the field for you, there was still work in the house. .
Part of our service to God is to respect others even when they don’t deserve respect and forgive even when they don’t deserve forgiveness.. This is what upside down living for kingdom purposes looks like!