Luke 17 Teaching on the Kingdom
Summary

Luke chapter 17 contains a variety of teaching methods (parable, prophecy, miracle, etc.), responses to the people (warnings, correction, encouragement, etc.), and messages (faith, thanksgiving, kingdom, etc.). All, however, are intended to present the nature of the kingdom and the manner and quality of life required of a citizen loyal to the King, Christ Jesus. Luke first speaks of kingdom faithfulness and duty (1-10). Then Jesus addresses the need for gratitude by telling of ten lepers, only one of whom return to thank Jesus for cleansing them (12-19). Then he explains the judgment of God and the end of the Jewish age (22-37).

Temptations to Sin

17And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[1] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[2] 3Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Question 1

How does Jesus teach us to deal with those who sin against us?

Increase Our Faith

5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Unworthy Servants

7“Will any one of you who has a servant[3] plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,[4] and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;[5] we have only done what was our duty.’”

Question 2

Why would Jesus say that when we have done all our duty, we are unprofitable servants?

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

11On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[6] who stood at a distance 13and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”[7]

Question 3

Why did the nine lepers healed not return to thank Jesus?

The Coming of the Kingdom

20Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, 21nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”[8]

Question 4

What did Jesus mean when he said, “The kingdom of God is within you?”

22And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.[9] 25But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32Remember Lot's wife. 33Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”[10] 37And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse[11] is, there the vultures[12] will gather.”

Question 5

What circumstances are Jesus describing in the last part of this chapter?

People
  • Jesus and His disciples
  • Ten lepers whom Jesus healed
  • Some Pharisees who asked Jesus about the kingdom
Places
  • Passing through Samaria and Galilee as Jesus went toward Jerusalem (vs. 11).

Temptations to Sin

17And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[1] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[2] 3Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Luke 17:1

“Offenses” comes from the Greek word “skandala” and refers to things that cause people to sin.


Luke 17:2

A millstone was used for grinding grain into meal or flour; separating the chaff and crushing the good grain so it could be made into bread.

Notice that the message of Jesus is strong because of the severity of causing someone else to sin.


Luke 17:3

Jesus is here calling for brotherly love even in the face of someone’s having sinned against us.


Luke 17:4

The number of times one forgives should be unlimited.

Increase Our Faith

5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Luke 17:6

Mustard was among the smallest of garden seeds. Even a little faith can produce great effects.

Faith comes by hearing God’s word. If God’s Word tells me I can, I will be able to do what He says.

Unworthy Servants

7“Will any one of you who has a servant[3] plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,[4] and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;[5] we have only done what was our duty.’”

Luke 17:10

We should never feel that we are entitled to special appreciation from God. All of us sin and none serves him flawlessly. God does not owe us spiritual blessings. Jesus is addressing our need for showing mercy, grace, and humility. Then God will reward us.

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

11On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[6] who stood at a distance 13and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”[7]

Luke 17:14

See Leviticus 13:2 and Leviticus 14:2 concerning leprosy, the Law of Moses, and the priests.


Luke 17:18

In thanksgiving, we render praise and glory to God. They all should have done that.


Luke 17:19

This context seems to be saying that this man was not only healed in body but also in soul.

The Coming of the Kingdom

20Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, 21nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”[8]

22And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.[9] 25But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32Remember Lot's wife. 33Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”[10] 37And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse[11] is, there the vultures[12] will gather.”

Luke 17:22

The days of the Son of Man will be glorious. They would desire to see good days and would not.


Luke 17:23

This is explained in Matthew 24:23-26. They should not follow false Christs.


Luke 17:24

The judgment brought by Christ would be apparent and unavoidable.


Luke 17:25

Notice these things would happen in this generation.


Luke 17:30

The Son of man would be revealed in judgment against Jerusalem.


Luke 17:34

This shows that he is not speaking of the final judgment because none of this will happen then.

Perspectives

My duty is to always be ready to forgive my brother who sins against me if he repents.

I should always be thankful and ready to express appreciation for the great blessings of God.

Judgment against sin and rejection of God’s will is always terrible as it was against God’s people in Jerusalem.