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The foundation of Luke 17:5–10

As indic­ated above, Luke 17:5–10 can­not be under­stood without Luke 17:1–4. Luke 17:1–4 is the reas­on and found­a­tion of Luke 17:5–10. After address­ing the Phar­isees (cf. Luke 16:14), Jesus turned to his dis­ciples, informed them of the cer­tainty of tempta­tion to sin, and indir­ectly warned them not to be the agents of sin (cf. Luke 17:1). They must always be on their guard and rep­rim­and any­one who devi­ates from the giv­en norms. As they rebuke, they should also be will­ing to wel­come back any­one who real­izes the grav­ity of his or her actions and decides to make amend. Deep faith is required for this oner­ous task. It is from this per­spect­ive that we have to ana­lyze and under­stand faith (Greek: pistis).

Increase our faith

Lord, increase our faith.” This was the apostles’ request when Jesus urged them to for­give any­one who offends them and asks to be for­giv­en. Even if the per­son sins sev­en times in a day but sev­en times repents of his or her actions, the apostles and believ­ers must for­give the per­son. As a new emer­ging com­munity, the Chris­ti­an com­munity should dis­tin­guish itself from the Jew­ish com­munity even in mat­ters of sin and for­give­ness. The Jew­ish theo­logy does not allow for­give­ness to exceed three times. This belief is based on the theo­lo­gic­al and spir­itu­al sig­ni­fic­ances of the num­ber 3. As the num­ber of per­fec­tion, it is believed that whatever reaches three has reached its cli­max. Not­with­stand­ing his being a Jew, Jesus seems not to agree to this inter­pret­a­tion. For him, three could be sur­passed, espe­cially, when it has to do with spir­itu­al well-being (cf. Matt 18:21–22). The com­mand to for­give who­ever sins sev­en times and sev­en times asks for for­give­ness means the apostles were expec­ted to exceed the nor­mal Jew­ish lim­it of three times. This cer­tainly, is not an easy task. Hence, the apostles implored Jesus to increase their faith for the new chal­lenge. This faith there­fore, is the faith of respons­ib­il­ity and not the faith to show a person’s capa­city to achieve won­ders. Jesus should increase the faith of the apostles to enable them go bey­ond the lim­it imposed by the Jew­ish tra­di­tion. ‘Increase our faith’ is a con­sequence of Jesus’ words in Luke 17:4 and must not be detached from it.


In terms of ful­filling their respons­ib­il­ity, Jesus describes the Apostles as slaves (Greek: doulos). This does not mean Jesus encour­aged and encour­ages slavery in its tra­di­tion­al and con­tem­por­ary con­texts. In both Chris­ti­an and Hebrew Test­a­ments, a slave is a per­son owned as a pos­ses­sion. The Greek term doulos means slav­ish, servile, com­pletely owned and con­trolled. And under such con­di­tion, a slave has no option than to do what the mas­ter com­mands. As regards their mis­sion, the Apostles are slaves. Not because they are unne­ces­sar­ily con­trolled and mal­treated, but because they are bound to carry out their mis­sion without put­ting their interests first. On this note, Paul affirms his determ­in­a­tion and respons­ib­il­ity to pro­claim the Gos­pel. He under­stands that he should not boast because he pro­claims the Gos­pel. It is what he must do and he even pro­nounces woe unto him­self if he should not pro­claim the Gos­pel (cf. 1Cor 9:16).

SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the 27th Sunday is found in
The Word of Life, vol. III, pages 554–561. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo
or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com
or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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