Scripture reading for April 14th: Luke 16:19-17:10
“Jesus said to His disciples; “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.'” (Luke 17:1-2) The world we live in is fallen and there are many opportunities to sin and break God’s eternal law. People are ‘sinners’ by nature, born with a propensity to sin until that is remedied by a new birth. (Psalm 51:5)
Jesus warned His followers about the future judgment for those causing sin in ‘little ones.’ In other accounts, the ‘little ones’ were small children. Some feel that this also applied to new believers who were young in the ways of Christ. Jesus talked about a millstone being tied around the neck of any person who would cause sin in these little ones. A millstone was a large round stone used to grind grain and it usually weighed several hundred pounds. You can imagine the difficulties swimming a person would have with one of these tied to their neck! This word picture helps us understand the desperate state of a person causing a little one to sin!
Jesus told His followers to “Watch yourselves!” First this means to be personally watchful and examine our own lives for causes of sin. Jesus pointed out lack of forgiveness in the next part of this teaching as a big problem causing others to sin. (Luke 17:3-4) We must let go of offenses. Failure to forgive is cited by Jesus several times as a hindrance for prayer and here as a cause of stumbling for ‘little ones’. (Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:25, Luke 11:4)
Second, we must be watchful for others and especially the ‘little ones.’ Jesus tells us that we must watch out for others as well as ourselves. Love your neighbor as yourself is the second part of the great commandment that now fulfills all the commandments. Children and ‘little ones’ are so precious to the Lord and must be loved, nurtured and protected from causes of sin. Examine your own life and the ‘little ones’ around you. Are you leading them towards Jesus by your life and testimony? Today is a great day to repent! God will forgive!