Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for February 25

Here’s the Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for Feb. 25, written by Rony Kozman, assistant professor of Biblical Studies at Samford University in Birmingham.

Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for February 25

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Rony Kozman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Samford University


Luke 17:1–10

In these verses we have a number of instructions that Jesus gives His disciples, but they do not all appear to be thematically related. First, Jesus instructs His disciples about sin and forgiveness (vv. 1–4). Second, we learn about faith (vv. 5–6). And then finally, we learn about our duty as disciples (vv. 7–10).

Mature faith forgives. (1–4)

How do we navigate a world where there are abundant opportunities to sin (v. 1)? Jesus warns us that even in a world of plentiful sin, we must not be the ones through whom sin comes. We must live so that we do not conduct sin throughout the world, and we must ensure that we do not cause other disciples to sin. It may be that Jesus is emphasizing that disciples must take heed lest they cause others to turn away.

But what do we do when fellow disciples sin against us? Again, in the way that we respond, we must be sure that our response does not multiply sin or cause disciples to stumble. When fellow followers of Jesus sin against us, we must help stop the transmission and multiplication of sin by correcting (i.e. rebuking) them and forgiving them as they repent.

Even if this fellow disciple sins repeatedly against us and repeatedly repents, we must be ready to forgive. To forgive does not mean that those who offend are not held responsible for what they have done. It means that those who demonstrate appropriate repentance can — and should — be restored to the community. Forgiveness and restoration depends on repentance.

Mature faith acts. (5–6)

In response to Jesus’ teaching about forgiveness, the apostles ask Jesus to “increase our faith!” It is hard to live in communities where we correct each other and readily forgive each other when those we correct for their sin repent. And so perhaps this is why the disciples ask for increased faith.

Jesus responds that the size of their faith is not what will help them do the great tree-moving work of being this kind of community. They can be this community even with their small faith in Jesus. The authenticity of our faith is more critical than the size of our faith.

Mature faith does not seek recognition. (7–10)

Jesus uses a parable to instruct the disciples about how they should understand their obedience. The slave should not expect a reward for doing the work required of him, and we as Jesus’ slaves should understand ourselves as “unworthy servants” who have simply done what we were expected to do. When we obey Jesus’ difficult commands even to forgive our brothers, we should not think too highly of ourselves.

This does not mean that Jesus is not gracious and merciful to us. In the verses that follow we read about 10 men with skin diseases who plead for Jesus to have mercy on them and to heal them, and He does (v. 13). Jesus then tells the one who praised God that his faith had made him well (v. 19).

We can hold two things together. On the one hand our obedience as Jesus’ disciples is what is required of us and should not puff us up. On the other hand, our faith in Jesus can accomplish great things, and it is by our faith that Jesus brings us into His Kingdom.