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Luke 17


Some Sayings of Jesus Jesus Warns of Offenses   Sin On Leading Others Astray
17:1-4 17:1-4 17:1-4 17:1-3a 17:1-3a
        Brotherly Correction
      17:3b-4 17:3b-4
  Faith and Duty   Faith The Power of Faith
17:5-6 17:5-10 17:5-6 17:5 17:5-6
      A Servant's Duty Humble Service
17:7-10   17:7-10 17:7-10 17:7-10
The Cleansing of Ten Lepers Ten Lepers Cleansed Ten Lepers Cleansed Jesus Heals Ten Men The Ten Victims of Skin-Disease
17:11-19 17:11-19 17:11-19 17:11-13 17:11-19
The Coming of the Kingdom The Coming of the Kingdom The Kingdom is Among You The Coming of the Kingdom The Coming of the Kingdom of God
17:20-37 17:20-37 17:20-21 17:20-21 17:20-21
    The End of the Age   The Day of the Son of Man
    17:22-37 17:22-30 17:22-25
      17:31-36 17:31-37

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



 1He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! 2It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."

17:1 "He said to His disciples" The context remains the same. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees (cf. Luke 15:2; 16:14), but at this point he addresses the disciples again (cf. Luke 16:1; 17:5).

▣ "It is inevitable" We live in a fallen, rebellious world. Get ready!

NASB"stumbling blocks"
NRSV"occasions for stumbling"
TEV"things that make people fall into sin"
NJB"causes of falling"

The term is skandalon, which in the LXX, translated a Hebrew term (BDB 430) "snare" (cf. Jos. 23:13; Jgds. 2:3; 8:27), which denoted a baited trap stick. It can also be understood as a "stumbling block" (cf. Lev. 19:14; 1 Sam. 25:31; Ps. 119:165). The Anchor Bible (vol. 28A, p. 1138) notes that in time it came to mean to impel someone to "apostasy" or "abandonment of allegiance (to God or to His word as proclaimed by Jesus)."

▣ "but woe to him through whom they come" This is paralleled in Matthew 18. Disciples are addressed and warned (cf. Matt. 18:4-6,8-10). Jesus is referring to both the Pharisees and sinning believers. True believers are responsible for their brothers and sisters in Christ (cf. Rom. 14:1-15:13; 1 Cor. 8-10; Gal. 6:1-4).

Paul, in 1 Cor. 11:19, even asserts that these false teachers and their followers are manifested so that the true believers are clearly revealed.

17:2 "if" This is a First class conditional sentence which, in this context, reaffirms the inevitability that stumbling blocks will come and, so too, will judgment.

▣ "a millstone" In the OT grain was ground by hand mills, usually one flat stone (cf. Job 41:24) and one handheld rubbing stone (cf. Jdgs. 9:53). By NT times grinding was done by two round stones (18 to 20 inches). Wooden pegs held them in place and allowed the top one to rotate. The ground grain would work its way out around the edges.

It is possible that Jesus is referring to a larger pair of stones rotated by two men (cf. Matt. 24:41) or en even larger one pulled by animals (cf. Jdgs. 16:21).

"thrown into the sea" Jews, being semi-desert dwellers, were always afraid of large bodies of water. Even Solomon's fleet was manned by Phoenicians, not Jews. Drowning was a terrifying prospect.

The severity of the warning is surprising. It could possibly be

1. a way of showing how important these new believers are to God

2. a way of referring to apostasy or causing these new believers to renounce their new faith (see Special Topic at Luke 6:46)

3. simply an eastern hyperbole, so common in Jesus' teachings


▣ "one of these little ones" This is not referring to children, but to new believers (cf. Matthew 18 and I Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, chapter 46).

NASB, NRSV"to stumble"
TEV"to sin"
NJB"the downfall"

This is the term skandalizō, which literally meant a baited animal trap trigger (the noun is used in Luke 17:1). It came to be used metaphorically of something that caused someone to be tempted, an impediment in one's spiritual or moral growth, or an occasion for sinning.

It is often used of someone taking offense to Jesus or the gospel (cf. Matt. 11:6; 13:57; 1 Cor. 1:23; Gal. 5:11), but this does not fit in this context if it is addressing believers. If, however, the target audience is Pharisees, then this connotation is right on target.

If believers are the audience, then it refers to godly living and forgiveness (cf. Luke 17:3-4). The Christian community must be one of openness, godliness, forgiveness, and fellowship. Wounded believers are a major problem (cf. 1 Cor. 8:12), then and now!


NASB, NRSV"Be on guard"
NKJV"Take heed to yourself"
TEV"So watch what you do"
NJB"Keep watch on yourselves"

This is a present active imperative, which denotes an ongoing command. Believers must guard their actions and personal choices (cf. Heb. 2:1; 2 Pet. 1:19). We are our brothers' (lost and saved) keeper!

 Luke uses this term literally, "take heed to yourselves" (prosechete heautois) often in his writings (cf. Luke 12:1; 17:3; 21:34; Acts 5:35; 20:28 and just the verb in Luke 20:46).

▣ "If. . .if" These are Third class conditional sentences, which speak of potential action. It is amazing to me how much the Bible talks about forgiving as evidence of forgiveness (cf. Matt. 6:12,14-15; 18:21-35; Luke 6:38).

"your brother sins, rebuke him" This is an Aorist active imperative, which denotes urgency. This is paralleled in Matt. 18:15-18 and is discussed in Gal. 6:1-5. As the family of God, we are responsible for one another.

"if he repents" This is an aorist active subjunctive with ean, which denotes a third class conditional sentence. See SPECIAL TOPIC: REPENTANCE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT at Luke 3:3.

"forgive him" This is an another aorist active imperative, which denotes urgency. Believers are not to hold grudges or become bitter towards each other. Forgiveness always cleanses two hearts!

17:4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day" This is a third class conditional sentence. Peter asks this question in the parallel in Matt. 18:21-22.

▣ "returns to you seven times, saying 'I repent’" This may reflect the OT term for repent (shub, "turn") and the Greek word "repent" (metanoeō). Fellowship and restoration are not affected by numbers (7 x 70 in Matt. 18:21-22), but by an attitude of acceptance, which is modeled by a gracious God and a sacrificial Messiah. Believers are to emulate the love and forgiveness of the Trinity (cf. 1 John 3:16).


"forgive him" This is a future active indicative used in the sense of the aorist active imperative of verse 3.

 5The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" 6And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.

17:5 "Increase our faith" This is another aorist active imperative denoting urgency. In light of Jesus' statements in Luke 17:1-4, the Twelve felt a need for even greater faith to fulfill the ideals and requirements of the New Covenant, the gospel, and the New Age! This does not refer to saving faith, but daily faith, faithfulness in working with people—imperfect, impatient, often unloving, ungrateful believers and unbelievers!

17:6 "If you had faith" The initial phrase of this conditional sentence is first class, which is assumed to be true, but the second phrase is introduced with "an," which denotes a second class. The implication would be that Jesus knows they have faith, but will they use it appropriately (i.e., interpersonal relationships)?

▣ "like a mustard seed"A good source of quick but accurate information about the animals and plants of the Bible is United Bible Societies' Helps For Translators: Fauna and Flora of the Bible.

The article on "mustard" (sinapi) is on pp. 145-146. The seed referred to by Jesus is from the common black mustard plant. The seed is not actually the smallest (orchid), but was proverbial in Palestine for its smallness.

"mulberry tree" The exact type of tree that Jesus is referring to is uncertain. Only Luke uses the name of these related and often confused trees in the NT:

1. mulberry tree (sukaminos) – brought from Persia. It is referred to only here in the NT (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures, vol. 2, p. 226, calls it a "black mulberry")

2. sycamore tree (sukomorea) – a large tree (cf. Luke 19:4; A. T. Robertson calls it a "white mulberry")

The context demands a large tree in contrast to the very small seed. The meaning is that a little faith can affect large or great things (a Matthew parallel [17:20] has mountain instead of a tree).

Theologically it must be stressed that it is not the amount of faith, or the enthusiasm, or commitment which a person has that causes the results, but the object of his faith. Human faith is not the key, but faith in Jesus. He is the source of the effectiveness!

▣ "Be uprooted and be planted by the sea" This is obviously a hyperbolic idiom. Trees cannot be planted in the sea. It expresses the impossible, similar to 18:25. But what is impossible for humans is possible for God!

These are both aorist passive imperatives. Faith in Christ makes a visible difference in one's situation and attitude. In context these believers loving and caring for each other was very difficult, but faith in Jesus would enable them to love and forgive one another.

 7"Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'? 8But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink'? 9He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"

17:7-10 This is an entirely new literary unit. This is a very important statement that reminds us that all of our works and efforts do not merit God's love. This is a truth that is often forgotten, especially by church workers. God always acts in grace, never as a reward for human merit. Believers are slaves who have been turned into children. We must love and care for the rest of the family.

17:7 There is a series of rhetorical questions here. This is typical of Jesus' teaching in the Synoptic Gospels. In Luke's Gospel notice: 2:49; 5:21-23,34; 6:32-34,46; 7:24-26; 9:25; 11:5-7; 13:2-4; 14:28,31,34; 16:11-12; 17:7-9,17-18;18:7-8; 22:27,48,52.

Verse 7 contextually expects a "no" answer. MS D even adds the MĒ particle.

17:8 This question expects a "yes" answer (use of ou).

17:9 This question expects a "no" answer (use of MĒ).

17:10 Is this text saying

1. that the slave, after his long day in the field, should go and eat first before serving the owner's meal (TEV, NJB)

2. that he should sit down with the owner and eat (NASB, NKJV, NRSV, NIV)

3. even that he should be served by the owner (cf. Luke 12:37, which would be another dramatic reversal of roles so characteristic of Luke)

There is surely ambiguity here, but the intent of the paragraph is clear.

The very opposite of this is found in Luke 12:37. Eastern literature often approaches truth by presenting the opposites! Modern western interpreters often miss the significant differences between eastern and western literary forms. See SPECIAL TOPIC: EASTERN LITERATURE at Luke 9:50.

 11While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. 12As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 13and they raised 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 were going, they were cleansed. 15Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 16and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? 18Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?" 19And He said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well."

17:11-19 This is a new topic.

17:11 "While He was on the way to Jerusalem" Remember we are in a larger literary unit unique to Luke's Gospel, structured as Jesus' journey from Galilee to Jerusalem (cf. Luke 9:51-19:28).

NASB"He was passing between Samaria and Galilee"
NKJV"He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee"
NRSV"Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee"
TEV"he went along the border between Samaria and Galilee"
NJB"he was traveling in the borderlands of Samaria and Galilee"

"Between" or "through" (i.e., dia with the accusative) is found in MSS א, B, and L.

 1. Jesus is moving south, so Galilee should have been listed first

 2. by this time, Jesus should be far more to the south than the border of Galilee and Samaria

 3. Jesus is moving eastward along the border to take a traditional route south to Jerusalem

This reaffirms my contention that Luke is not primarily in chronological order, but in theological order.

17:12 "ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him" These diseased people (lepers) were forced to live in isolated, communal settings where all normal social barriers were removed (cf. Num. 5:1-3). It seems in this context that the lepers were made up of Jews and Samaritans. The rabbis assert that this was a divine illness sent by God on sinners (cf. 2 Kgs. 5:25-27; 15:5; 2 Chr. 26:16-23).

17:13 "Master" This is the Greek term epistatēs. See note at Luke 5:5. It was a title of respect. Whether it had theological implications is hard to know. These men had hope that Jesus could and would help them. They must have heard about Him.

17:14 "Go and show yourselves to the priests" The lepers had to act (an aorist passive [deponent] participle used in an imperatival sense and an aorist active imperative) in faith on Jesus' pronouncement that they were cleansed although their skin was still diseased (cf. Lev. 13:14 and 2 Kgs. 5:8-14).

This may have been Jesus' attempt to witness to the priests of Jerusalem even before His arrival. It also shows that Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Law in His attentiveness to these Levitical regulations.

17:15 Only one cured leper turned back to give thanks, as did Naaman in 2 Kgs. 5:15.

17:16 "And he was a Samaritan" This seems to be an editorial comment by Luke or his source. The hatred between the Jews and Samaritans began after the Assyrian exile of the Northern Ten Tribes in 722 b.c. The subsequent imported Gentile population married the remaining Jewish population and the Judean Jews considered them religious half-breeds and refused to have any social or religious contract with them whatsoever. Jesus used this intense bias in two different parables that speak of God's love for all men (cf. Luke 10:25-37). This context also speaks of believers' need to love and forgive one another (cf. Luke 17:1-6).

17:19 "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well" This construction is parallel to Luke 17:14 (aorist active participles used in an imperatival sense and a present middle [deponent] Imperative).

Notice that faith is the hand that received Jesus' power. The man's faith did not cure him; Jesus cured him by means of his faith (cf. Luke 7:9,50; 8:48; 17:19; 18:42; Mark 5:34; 10:52; Matt. 9:22,29; 15:28).

The verb is a perfect active indicative implying the cure remained. The verb is sōzō, the normal term for salvation in the NT, however, here it is used in its OT sense of physical deliverance (cf. James 5:15). Surely this man was both physically and spiritually saved (purposeful ambiguity). What a tragedy physical healing would be which resulted in eternal death! The man's request and gratitude reveal his faith in Jesus. But what of the other healthy nine?

 20Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst."

17:20 "Now having been questioned by the Pharisees" They had been present in the crowd which followed Jesus. They were present at all of Jesus' public teaching times and miracles.

▣ "when the kingdom of God was coming" The Pharisees (see Special Topic at Luke 5:17) were particularly interested in the afterlife, in contradistinction to the Sadducees (see Special Topic at Luke 20:27), who denied it. This is similar to the questions asked by several disciples in Mark 13:4. Luke's Gospel is unique in that it divides Jesus' eschatological discussion into two separate passages, Luke 17:20-37 and Luke 21. In both Matthew and Mark this eschatological passage is in one chapter (cf. Matthew 24 and Mark 13). Jesus may have repeated these teachings in different places at different times.


▣ "not coming with signs to be observed" This is a medical term for closely watching the symptoms and making a diagnosis. Here it is used of careful observation. Luke uses it often to denote the Scribes (see Special Topic at Luke 5:21) and Pharisees watching Jesus to find something with which to condemn Him (cf. Luke 6:7; 14:1; 20:20).

17:21 "nor will they say, 'Look, here it is or, "There it is"’" This introduces Luke 17:23 (cf. Matt. 24:23,26). The implication is that Jesus' return will be seen and known by all (cf. Luke 17:24; Matt. 24:27).

NASB"the kingdom of God is in your midst"
NKJV, TEV"the Kingdom of God is within you"
NRSV, NJB"the Kingdom of God is among you"

This is used in a sense of (1) within each of you or (2) among you (plural). In The Jerome Biblical Commentary, NT, p. 150, the three exegetical choices of the ancient church are mentioned.

1. within you ― the Gospel of Thomas







2. in your midst ― Ephraem

Cyril of Alexandria


3. within your grasp ― Tertullian


This refers to their personal faith response to Jesus, therefore, options #2 and 3 fit this context best. Option #1 would not apply to Pharisees! It would seem to be a "Gnostic" type theological statement. Jesus' personal presence brought the kingdom, and His personal return will consummate it. It is the reign of God in human hearts now that will one day be consummated over all the earth. When Jesus prays in the Lord's Prayer that "His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven" (cf. Matt. 6:10), He is praying for the kingdom to come. See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE KINGDOM OF GOD at Luke 4:21.

 22And He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23They will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!' Do not go away, and do not run after them. 24For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32Remember Lot's wife. 33Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 [Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left."] 37And answering they said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered."

17:22 "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man" The phrase "the days will come" seems to imply times of trials, persecution, illness, etc. Although post-millennialists (see The Meaning of the Millennium, Four Views, ed. By Robert Glouse) have asserted that things are going to get better and better and then the Lord will return, the Bible seems to teach that things are going to get worse and worse before the Lord's return (cf. Dan. 12:1; Rom. 8:18-23).

▣ "the Son of Man" This seems to be a self-designation used by Jesus that comes from Ezek. 2:1 and Dan. 7:13, which implies both human and divine qualities. See fuller note at Luke 6:5 and Special Topic at Luke 5:24.

"you will not see it" Jesus is addressing the disciples in Luke 17:22-27. Therefore, this must denote

1. they will be killed and suffer persecution before His return

2. there will be a delay in the Parousia (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2)

3. it will come suddenly with no advance signs or warning

Jesus clearly admitted that He did not know the time or date of His return (cf. Matt. 24:36), but this phrase implies a delay.

17:23 "They will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!’" This verse is related to Luke 17:24, which assures the believers that Jesus will have a public, visible coming of which none of His disciples will be ignorant.

NASB"Do not go away, and do not run after them"
NKJV"Do not go after them or follow them"
NRSV"Do not go, do not set off in pursuit"
TEV"But don’t go out looking for it"
NJB"Make no move; do not set off in pursuit"

These are both aorist active subjunctives used in the sense of imperatives. The aorist subjunctive with the negative particle means "do not even start." Believers are not to get caught up in end-time frenzy or fanatical speculation on supposed physical manifestations.

17:24 This verse is paralleled in Matt. 24:27, but is absent in Mark 13. It is asserting that Jesus' return will be visible and obvious to all, no secret coming! Matthew 24:40-41 (Luke 17:27) in context refers to those who are killed in judgment ("as in the days of Noah"), not a select group of Gentile believers or the visible church.

 There is a Greek manuscript variant related to the close of the verse. Some ancient Greek texts have "in His day" (cf. MSS א, A, L, W, and the Vulgate and Syriac Versions). However, several other ancient manuscripts do not have it (cf. MSS P75, B, and some Coptic Versions). Textually it is impossible to choose between these manuscripts, however, the phrase is found only here in the NT and may have caused scribes' confusion. The most unusual reading is probably original. See Appendix Two. But as so often is the case with these variants, the thrust of the passage is not affected by either choice.

17:25 "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation" Jesus has revealed this message several times to His disciples (cf. Matt. 16:21; 17:9,12,22-23; 20:18-19; Mark 8:31; 9:12; Luke 9:22,44; 12:50; 13:32-33; 18:32-33). A suffering Messiah was unexpected by the Jews of Jesus' day (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23), but the OT passages, as well as NT, are specific.

1. Genesis 3:15

2. Psalm 22; 118:22

3. Isaiah 8:14; 52:13-53:12

4. Zechariah 12:10

5. Luke 2:34

6. Matthew 21:42-46

7. Acts 2:23


▣ "this generation" Jesus used this phrase to refer to those contemporary Palestinian Jews who heard Him speak, but did not believe (cf. Luke 7:31; 9:41; 11:29,30,31,32,51; 16:8; 17:25; 21:32; Acts 2:40). "He came to His own and those who were His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). This phrase is used in such a way as to clearly reveal that the way people respond to Jesus determines their destiny. The kingdom was inaugurated by Jesus' incarnation and will be consummated at His return.

17:26 "And just as it happened in the days of Noah" Noah's life is described in Genesis 6-9. The emphasis here is the continuation of the normal activities of life before the flood (cf. Luke 17:27-30; Matt. 24:36-39). Only eight people prepared for God's coming Judgment (cf. Gen. 7:7,13).

17:28-29 "Lot" Lot's life in Sodom is described in Gen. 12:5,13-14,19.

17:30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed" This context asserts several things about the Second Coming:

1. that it will be visible and public (cf. Luke 17:23,24)

2. that there will be normal social life (cf. Luke 17:27)

3. that it will be sudden

4. that it will be unexpected

This same revelation is described in Matt. 16:27; 24:29-44; 1 Cor. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:12-18; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7; and Rev. 11:15-19; 19:1-21.

17:31-32 This context has three examples which emphasize that believers should not be unduly concerned with worldly possessions or entanglements. These are used in other contexts with different applications. This leads me to believe that Jesus used the same teachings in different settings and in different ways. The three mentioned are

1. the person on the roof (cf. Matt. 24:17)

2. the man in the field

3. the negative example of one who turned back, Lot's wife (cf. Gen. 19:26)

Matthew 24 seems to combine the problems which will be present at the Second Coming with the problems related to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman general (later Emperor), Titus in a.d. 70. Verses 31-32 (cf. Matt. 24:17-18) may refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in the sense that some took Jesus' warnings and fled, but others did not act and were killed. Whatever the context (a.d. 70 or end-time) this is a context of the fate of unprepared, unexpecting unbelievers!

17:33 "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it" The term "keep" in the middle voice, means to acquire, gain, or earn. Jesus' call to discipleship was a call to personal abandonment (cf. Gal. 2:20; 1 John 3:16). It is a radical decision of self denunciation (cf. Luke 9:24; Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; John 12:25).

The term "life" is literally the term psuche, often translated "soul," but it refers to the entire person. See note at Luke 12:19.

This same teaching is found in Luke 9:24 and Matt. 10:34-39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; John 12:25, which deals with the need for ultimate commitment to Jesus alone.

17:34 "on that night" This refers to the night of the Lord's return (cf. Luke 17:30).

▣ "two in one bed" The Greek idiom can mean a man and his wife.

17:34-35 These two examples are often used as a proof-text for a secret rapture of believers (by dispensational premillennialists). However, in this context, it seems to emphasize the separation of the lost and saved at the Second Coming, by the angels (cf. Matt. 24:31; Mark 13:27). In this context it is the judgment on the unprepared, the unbelieving ("as in the day of Noah," cf. Matt. 24:40-41). I do not believe in a secret rapture, but rather the visible return of the Lord, along the lines of 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

17:36 Verse 36 is not found in the early Greek manuscripts P75, א, A, B, L, or W. It comes from Matt. 24:40 and seems to be included in this parallel passage by a later scribe. The UBS4 committee rated its omission as "certain."

17:37 The exact meaning of this statement is uncertain. It is obvious the people who heard Jesus speak understood what He meant. It possibly

1. relates to the destruction of Jerusalem , as do Luke 17:31-32

2. is a common proverb (cf. Matt. 24:48)

3. means the spiritually dead attract God's judgment

The term "eagle" (aetos) is also used in a similar way in Matt. 24:28. The OT background is that the birds of prey (vultures) are attracted to battles and slaughter (cf. Job 39:26-30; Ezek. 39:17; Hab. 1:8). This implies an end-time judgment scene.

If it is true that Luke, like Matthew 24, refers to the fall of Jerusalem (cf. Luke 17:31-35), then it is possible that "eagle" may refer to the Roman army, whose standards were topped with eagles.


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Is this chapter is primarily written for the disciples or the Pharisees?

2. Why did the Jews hate the Samaritans?

3. Will the Second Coming be expected or unexpected, visible or secret?

4. Does the NT use the term "rapture"?

Define the concept in your own terms.


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