Summary: This passage is Jesus’answers to the common attitude, “What I do is my own business,” the idea that we are not responsible to anyone else, and no one else has the right to make demands or claims upon us with regard to our behavior.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 44
“Don’t Be A Stumbling Block”
What I choose to do is my business!!!
Is that true or not??? In Luke chapter seventeen and verse one, Jesus said to his disciples "… It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”
Jesus is answering the common attitude, “What I do is my own business.” It is an attitude we frequently have, the idea that we are not responsible to anyone else, and no one else has the right to make demands or claims upon us with regard to our behavior. Don’t be fooled by this idea, We do not live in isolation. Jesus did free his followers from the burden of the law, but freedom carries responsibility. Jesus said we have to answer to him if we cause someone else to sin. One can not be a Christian and fail to recognize that his life has an influence upon other lives around him.
As Christians we are family, we have entered into a new kind of interconnected relationship with one another. As such we have certain obligations or responsibilities to fulfill within this relationship. In today’s text, Jesus gives us a twofold instruction regarding our responsibilities.
First, be careful that you’re not a negative spiritual influence. Luke 17:1-3a
In verse one is says,"… It is impossible that no offenses should come..” the word “offenses” can also be translated “stumbling blocks” and is in the Greek (skandalon) from which we get the English word “scandal.”
Jesus recognizes that this is a sinful world in which we live, and temptations will come, but we do not have to be the channel for someone’s downfall. Jesus very bluntly tells the reader how serious this situation is. Jesus says in verse two, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Jesus did not say that the woe upon the offender is that he will have a millstone tied around his neck and be tossed into the sea. In fact in the Greek this can also be read, “It is better for him to hang a millstone about his own neck and cast himself into the sea” (middle voice).
The point is that it is such a grave offense that it would be better to end their lives, than to be the cause of someone else stumbling in their spiritual walk or possibly even turning away from Jesus and thus missing Heaven.
What does he mean by this reference to "little ones" in verse two? I think there is an application to children; every parent here has felt the awesome responsibility in realizing that their children are going to reflect their lives and their values.
”World War II produced many heroes. One
was Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific.
One day while on a mission, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. Unable to complete his mission, he turned around and headed back for the aircraft carrier. As he headed back, he saw a squadron of Japanese Zeroes heading straight for the American fleet. All the American fighters were out on a sortie, leaving the fleet virtually defenseless.
He dove into the formation of Japanese planes in a desperate move to divert them away from the fleet. After a frightening air battle, the Japanese airplanes broke off their assault on the fleet. Butch O’Hare’s tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. He was recognized as a hero and given one of the nation’s highest military honors. O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is named after him.
Some years earlier, there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. In those days, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone’s mob was involved in bootlegging booze, murder, and prostitution. Easy Eddie was Al Capone’s lawyer and kept Big Al out of jail. In return, Easy Eddie earned big money and lived like a king on an estate so large it filled an entire city block.
But Easy Eddie had one soft spot—a son whom he loved dearly. Eddie saw that his son had the best of everything: clothes, cars, and a good education. Despite Eddie’s involvement with the mob, he tried to teach his son right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.
But there were two things Eddie could not give his son—a good name and a good example. Deciding that giving his son these two things was more important than lavishing him with riches, Eddie had to rectify the wrong he had done. He went to the authorities and told them the truth about Al Capone.