LINK: Luke 17
This first statement is likely directed to the Pharisees and anyone else who seems or pretends to be directing people toward God but in reality are leading them astray. This is a strong indictment against religious organizations that are just that. We must be sure to lead people to a relationship with Jesus, not to a set of religious traditions.
Then Jesus tells us to be forgiving of others. No matter how many times a person offends, we are to forgive. This is such a tall order! And the apostles thought so too.
Upon hearing the command to forgive, the apostles cried out, "Increase our faith!" They knew they weren't able to obey on their own. I love the answer that Jesus gave. He told them that the size of their faith wasn't the issue. It takes only a tiny amount (mustard seeds are very tiny). The issue is where the faith is placed. As long as our faith is in God, only a small amount is needed, because the God we trust is big and powerful.
Then Jesus went on to explain that righteous actions do not earn "extra credit" with God. The Pharisees thought that all their righteousness was earning them favor with God.
Ten men with leprosy asked Jesus to heal them, but only one man bothered to come back and thank him.
The Pharisees asked for a sign that would tell them when the kingdom of God was coming. Jesus replied that there wouldn't be observable signs. Rather, his presence was the kingdom. However, he gave further explanation to his disciples that later they would long for these days when Jesus was with them. In the future there would be much false hype about the second arrival of Jesus, but believers should ignore the hype. When Jesus returns, it will not be predicted by man. Rather, man will be surprised by it, just as men were surprised by the flood in the days of Noah and by the rain of fire and brimstone in the days of Lot.
The leprous men are an example of how God works through man's faith. When they asked Jesus to heal them, he didn't do anything but tell them to show themselves to the priests. He didn't even touch them. (A person with leprosy had to keep his distance from all other people, and when a person was clean after leprosy, he had to go to the priest for "inspection" and to be declared clean again.) Jesus sent them on their way, and they headed for the priests, believing that they would be healed. While they were walking on their way, the healing occurred. When they acted in faith, Jesus healed them.
How big is your faith? It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed! Place your faith in the true God and you'll see how big and powerful HE is. Act on your faith and let God take it from there. Then be sure to thank him and give him glory for the things he does.
Father, you are an all-powerful God. We are very weak and small. Teach us to walk in faith in you and not trust in our "religious" activities or anything else we might do, but to trust fully in you. Take our little faith and use it for your glory. Amen.