Luke 17: A Little About a Lot

Luke 17: A Little About a Lot

Luke 17 contains four great themes worthy of careful consideration. Perhaps a brief comment on each will whet your appetite to spend some time with each.

Verses 1-4 teach us the importance of dealing with those in sin to bring them to repentance, while also teaching us to learn the kind of forgiveness that God extends to us (seven times in a day).

Verses 5-10 are helpful in correcting those who accuse us of teaching works or merit-based salvation. The Bible teaches us there are different kinds of works. There were the works of the law by which no man shall be justified (cf Gal 2:16). There are works of our own device or righteousness which have no efficacy to save (cf Titus 3:5; Romans 10:3). Then there are works commanded of us by God that we are obligated to obey in order to be saved (cf Matt 7:21-23; Heb 5:9). Luke 17:9-10 speak to these works. When a man obeys God, he does not place God in his debt to save him or do anything for him at all. But it is foolish and erroneous to thus conclude that because such is the case that one does not have to obey God at all (cf 2 Thes 1:6-9). We a person obeys the gospel through faith (Heb 11:6; John 8;24), repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19), confession (Rom 10:9-10), baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16), and faithful living (1 John 1:7), he still does not deserve to be forgiven, neither has he obligated God to save him. He must still say, “I am an unprofitable servant.”

Verses 11-19 we see the power of a thankful heart. Of the ten lepers who were cleansed, only one, identified as a Samaritan, came back to thank the Lord. This man was made whole on two counts. First, his flesh was healed, but I believe the Lord’s final statement is one to the healing of the man’s soul. I don’t see any indication that the other nine lost their physical cleansing by their lack of thanks, but this one was given a special commendation by Jesus.

Finally, verses 20-37 are an enigma. Some believe the text refers to the coming of Jesus at the Judgment. Wayne Jackson is among these (see link). Others, like myself, lean more heavily toward an A.D. 70 and destruction of Jerusalem. I think the text is much more akin to Jesus’ Matthew 24 statements regarding Jerusalem. You may message me for a more specific comparison. Happy reading!

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