“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.” (Luke 17:1&2 NIV 84)
We live in a sinful world, and in a sinful world sin is “bound to come”. Although not acceptable to a holy God, Jesus accepts the fact that it is man’s current condition. Jesus understands our condition and the effects that the broken world around us have on our daily lives. We misinterpret situations; we make bad decisions; we speak and act in ways that we shouldn’t. Jesus knows that these things are bound to happen. There is a little comfort in knowing that Jesus understands our condition/dilemma. He came into this world, not only so that He could relate to our temptations and trials, but that He might be victorious over them. Jesus is our sinless substitute. God placed all that is broken about us and our world on Jesus as He suffered and died on the cross. Jesus was not a victim, but a victor, as He hung on that cross as the Savior of the world.
But let’s not miss Jesus’ “woe”. Jesus sternly warns that the individual who feeds off of man’s brokenness and leads him deeper into sin has much to worry about. Jesus states that these individuals will face certain judgment, not from the hands of men, but from God. Jesus says that it would be better if that person were thrown into the depths of the sea with a millstone tied around his feet. It would be better that he face some type of earthly judgment that would cause him to die before leading one of God’s children into temptation. God is serious about sin! The devil and our sinful nature are not to be played with. They are to be continually put to death so that we are not led astray or do not cause anyone else to be led astray.
Today, let’s take seriously Jesus’ words of warning. Let’s live lives free from Jesus’ woes. Let’s lead people toward Jesus, rather than away from him.