The Neglected Parable
Those Who Cause Others to Stumble
Let us first consider who Jesus is speaking to in this account. The disciples were his audience and they were eager and sincere followers of Jesus. There were also pharisees there. He may be speaking to the pharisees, but likely he was speaking to the disciples as well.
Jesus begins with a stern warning to those who would offend or hinder others in their faith. The pharisees were concerned about their wealth and following – they were hindering people from believing Jesus and following him. Jesus says that it would be better for people who cause those to stumble if a mill stone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
Is there a danger that we could cause others to fall and be discouraged in their faith? Definitely, Jesus tells us to be careful that we don’t cause others to stumble.
What If We’ve Been Hurt?
It is so easy to be hurt, seek revenge and look to retaliate. One of the first things that we should ask ourselves is if we misunderstood the offense.
Rather than getting stuck on the offense and being angry about it… we should go and speak to our brother about it. It is very likely that the brother will clear up the misunderstanding or seek forgiveness.
If the offense is continual… we should continue to forgive. No grudge. No offense. Continual forgiveness.
Jesus is teaching that we are to be passionate and forgiving, but not weak and indifferent. He also says that we should rebuke and oppose those who sin.
A Small Faith in a Great God
Even if you have a small faith in a great God… you can do the impossible. Nothing is impossible to those who have a small faith in a great God.
What is genuine faith? Faith is believing his will, seeking it and then stepping out in faith.
Jesus will enable us to walk in faith. He will enable us to truly and completely forgive… over and over and over again.
The Servant Doing His Duty
Jesus is our master. We are his slaves. We are to be doing our duty and follow the commands of Jesus. Jesus uses this reference fairly often… Paul often called Jesus his master and said that he was his slave.
God is our master. We are no where near his equal.
We must surrender to his control
- In our society we get a steady diet of “rights” and “entitlements.” God on the other hand doesn’t owe us anything. Instead we owe him everything.
- God has everything in his control. We can trust him.
- Our surrender to our master is really a freedom for us.
- God is our master. We must surrender to him at all costs.
We must do our duty
- We need to see ourselves as his servants and obey his commands.
- We tend to “count the cost” we are concerned about the “risk.” Jesus wants us to obey his commands even if its difficult and impossible.
- Jesus will increase our faith if we allow him to.
This parable is not saying that God will not reward us and that there is no rest from our work. There is a day coming when we will receive our reward and we will rest… but for now we are to be about the work of the Kingdom.