The Coming of the Kingdom, Luke, Chapter 17

Analysis: Luke, Chapter 17

Luke chapter 17 is a rich mosaic of teachings by Jesus, addressing the complexities of discipleship within the unfolding narrative of Luke's Gospel. Set against the backdrop of Jesus' journey towards Jerusalem, this chapter delves into the ethical and eschatological dimensions of His teaching, presenting a compelling vision for the life of the Kingdom of God. Through a series of instructions, parables, and miracles, Jesus articulates themes of forgiveness, faith, duty, gratitude, and the nature of the Kingdom, each underpinning the radical call to discipleship.

The chapter begins with Jesus' teachings on the inevitability of temptations and the grave responsibility of His followers to neither cause others to stumble nor take offense lightly (Luke 17:1-2). He then transitions to an emphasis on forgiveness, instructing His disciples to forgive repeatedly, even if the offender sins against them multiple times a day (Luke 17:3-4). This call to unlimited forgiveness reflects the heart of God's grace and sets a high standard for interpersonal relationships within the community of faith. Jesus' teaching challenges the disciples, prompting them to ask for an increase in faith (Luke 17:5), to which Jesus responds with the parable of the mustard seed, illustrating that even a small amount of faith, when genuinely placed in God, possesses profound potency (Luke 17:6).

Subsequently, the Parable of the Unworthy Servants (Luke 17:7-10) further explores the nature of discipleship, emphasizing that service to God is not a means to earn favor but a fundamental duty. This parable confronts any notion of entitlement, directing the disciples towards a posture of humility and obedience, recognizing their role as servants who are simply doing what is expected of them.

The narrative then shifts to the miraculous cleansing of ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19), among whom only one, a Samaritan, returns to express gratitude. This account not only highlights Jesus' power to heal and cleanse but also underscores the themes of faith and gratitude. The Samaritan's return and Jesus' commendation of his faith serve as a critique of ingratitude and a reminder of the proper response to divine grace. Moreover, the inclusion of a Samaritan as the exemplar of faith subtly challenges ethnic and religious barriers, reinforcing Luke's emphasis on the universality of the Gospel.

The concluding section of the chapter (Luke 17:20-37) addresses questions about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus contrasts the present, somewhat hidden nature of the Kingdom with its future, manifest coming, which will be unmistakable and sudden (Luke 17:20-24). He uses the analogies of the days of Noah and Lot to illustrate the normalcy of life right up until the moment of divine intervention, warning that the coming of the Son of Man will similarly disrupt the ordinary flow of human affairs (Luke 17:26-30). This eschatological discourse highlights the need for vigilance and preparedness, emphasizing that the decisive coming of the Kingdom will bring both salvation and judgment.

In conclusion, Luke chapter 17 presents a multifaceted view of discipleship, characterized by practices of forgiveness, humility, faith, gratitude, and an eschatological hope rooted in the promise of the Kingdom of God. These teachings, set within the journey narrative towards Jerusalem, underscore the radical nature of Jesus' call to follow Him. They challenge believers to embody the values of the Kingdom in their daily lives, maintaining a posture of readiness for the coming of the Son of Man. The chapter thus holds significant historical and theological importance, offering insights into the ethical demands of the Kingdom and the nature of God's redemptive work through Jesus, inviting readers into a deeper engagement with the transformative power of the Gospel.

The Scripture: Luke, Chapter 17

Luke Chapter 17 (KJV)

1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?

9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.

24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

32 Remember Lot's wife.

33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.

35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

A Letter to Jesus: Luke, Chapter 17

Dear Jesus,

As I've been reflecting on the teachings presented in Luke chapter 17, I find myself deeply moved and challenged by the depth and practicality of Your words. This chapter, with its rich tapestry of instructions and parables, provides profound insights into the essence of discipleship, the power of faith, the spirit of gratitude, and the reality of Your Kingdom's coming. Each segment invites a deeper examination of one's life and calls for a response that aligns with the values of Your Kingdom.

Your teaching on forgiveness is both challenging and liberating. You instruct us to forgive repeatedly, even if the same person sins against us multiple times a day and repents. This radical call to forgiveness is a vivid reflection of Your endless mercy towards us. It challenges me to let go of grudges and to embody Your grace in my relationships. The idea that forgiveness is not just an occasional act, but a habitual posture of the heart, reshapes how I view reconciliation and community life.

The apostles' request for an increase in faith, and Your response, emphasizing that faith as small as a mustard seed can accomplish the seemingly impossible, shifts my perspective on faith. It's not the size of our faith but its presence and application that matters. This teaching encourages me to trust in Your power and promises, even when my faith feels insufficient. It's a reminder that faith, however small, when placed in You, is potent and effective.

The parable of the unworthy servants strikes a chord with me, especially in a culture that often seeks recognition and reward. You remind us that service in Your Kingdom is not about earning accolades but about fulfilling our duty with humility. This parable calls me to serve without the expectation of praise, recognizing that serving You and others is a privilege and the natural expression of our discipleship.

The story of the cleansing of the ten lepers, particularly the return of the Samaritan leper to give thanks, highlights the importance of gratitude and faith. It's striking that among the ten healed, only one returned to express gratitude. This account not only underscores the power of thankfulness but also points to the inclusivity of Your salvation, which extends beyond ethnic and religious boundaries. It challenges me to be always mindful of Your grace and to live with a grateful heart.

Lastly, Your teachings on the coming of the Kingdom of God invite me to live with anticipation and readiness. The comparison to the days of Noah and Lot serves as a sobering reminder of the suddenness of Your return. It calls for vigilance, urging me to live each day in light of Your Kingdom's values and to remain faithful amidst life's ordinary moments.

In sum, Luke chapter 17 deeply enriches my understanding of what it means to follow You. It challenges me to embrace forgiveness, to live by faith, to serve with humility, to cultivate gratitude, and to await Your Kingdom with hopeful readiness. Thank you for these teachings that guide, challenge, and comfort me as I seek to walk in Your ways.

With a heart yearning to grow closer to You,

Your ever loving disciple, Michael.

Summary: Luke, Chapter 17

Luke chapter 17 delves into several pivotal themes that underscore the nature of discipleship, the kingdom of God, faith, and eschatology. This chapter, through a collection of teachings and parables, navigates through the complexities of living in anticipation of God's kingdom, emphasizing forgiveness, faith, gratitude, and vigilance.

The chapter begins with Jesus addressing the inevitability of stumbling blocks and the paramount importance of forgiveness (Luke 17:1-4). He warns against leading others into sin and underscores the necessity of rebuking a fellow believer who sins, yet also highlights the need for unlimited forgiveness should they repent. This teaching encapsulates the demanding nature of Christian community life, where members are called to maintain a delicate balance between moral accountability and grace.

Jesus then transitions to discussing faith in response to the apostles' request to increase their faith (Luke 17:5-6). He employs the metaphor of the mustard seed to illustrate that even faith as small as a mustard seed can accomplish the unimaginable, such as uprooting a mulberry tree and planting it in the sea. This analogy points to the dynamic and powerful nature of faith, not defined by its quantity but by its genuineness and trust in God's power.

The subsequent parable of the unworthy servant (Luke 17:7-10) further explores the attitude with which disciples are to approach their service to God. Jesus teaches that obedience and duty are fundamental expectations of discipleship, and one should not seek extra praise for merely doing what is required. This parable challenges the disciples to adopt a posture of humility and faithfulness, recognizing their role as servants of God.

Luke then narrates the healing of ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19), focusing on the sole Samaritan who returns to give thanks to Jesus. This account not only highlights Jesus' miraculous power and mercy but also emphasizes the appropriate response to divine intervention—gratitude. The Samaritan's return and acknowledgment of Jesus stand in contrast to the nine who did not return, underscoring the theme of recognizing and giving thanks for God's work in one's life.

Finally, Jesus addresses questions about the coming of the kingdom of God (Luke 17:20-37). He clarifies that the kingdom is not coming in observable ways and cautions against those who claim to know its arrival. Jesus describes the suddenness of the kingdom's coming and draws parallels with the days of Noah and Lot to illustrate the importance of preparedness and the dire consequences of disregard. This section emphasizes the eschatological aspect of Jesus' teachings, urging vigilance and readiness for God's definitive action in history.

In summary, Luke chapter 17 provides rich theological insights into living as disciples of Christ. It underscores the significance of forgiveness, the essence of faith, the humility required in service, the necessity of gratitude, and the importance of being prepared for the coming of God's kingdom. Through these teachings, Jesus outlines the contours of a life oriented towards the values of the kingdom, marked by moral integrity, deep trust in God, humble service, and vigilant hope.

Interpretation: Luke, Chapter 17

Luke chapter 17 delves into teachings that are central to the Christian life, including forgiveness, faith, service, and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Through a series of instructions and parables, Jesus addresses the attitudes and behaviors that should characterize His followers, especially in relation to forgiveness and the nature of true discipleship. Additionally, He provides insights into the eschatological reality of the Kingdom, emphasizing the suddenness of its coming and the necessity for preparedness.

Forgiveness and Faith (Luke 17:1-6)

The chapter begins with Jesus teaching on the inevitability of temptations to sin and the grave responsibility to avoid leading others into sin. He underscores the necessity of forgiveness, instructing His disciples to forgive even if someone sins against them seven times in a day and repents each time. This call to radical forgiveness highlights the boundless nature of God's forgiveness towards humanity and sets a model for interpersonal relationships within the community of faith.

Following this, the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. In response, He tells them that even faith as small as a mustard seed can uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea, illustrating that the power of faith is not inherently in its quantity but in its presence and application. This teaching shifts the focus from the measure of faith to the limitless possibilities that come from trusting in God's power.

The Parable of the Unworthy Servants (Luke 17:7-10)

Jesus then presents a parable that teaches on the attitude of humility and duty in service. He compares the disciples to servants who, after completing their work, should not seek special praise but rather recognize that they have only done their duty. This parable emphasizes that serving God and others is not grounds for boasting but is the fundamental expectation for followers of Christ, fostering an attitude of humility and obedience.

The Cleansing of Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-19)

The narrative of Jesus healing ten lepers, where only one (a Samaritan) returns to give thanks, underscores themes of gratitude, faith, and the inclusion of the marginalized. Jesus' commendation of the Samaritan leper's faith and his return to give thanks highlights the appropriate response to God's grace. This account not only illustrates the power of Jesus to cleanse and heal but also points to the broader inclusion of Gentiles in the salvific plan of God.

The Coming of the Kingdom of God (Luke 17:20-37)

In the latter part of the chapter, Jesus addresses questions about the coming of the Kingdom of God. He clarifies that the Kingdom is not coming in ways that can be observed with the eyes, suggesting that the Kingdom is already present among them in His ministry. Furthermore, He discusses the suddenness of the Kingdom's full manifestation at the end of the age, using the days of Noah and Lot as examples of how ordinary life will be disrupted by the Day of the Son of Man. This teaching underscores the need for vigilance, preparedness, and faithfulness, as the coming of the Kingdom will be both unexpected and decisive.

In summary, Luke chapter 17 provides crucial teachings on forgiveness, faith, humility in service, and the eschatological hope of the Kingdom of God. These teachings challenge believers to embody forgiveness, live by faith, serve with humility, and remain vigilant in anticipation of the Kingdom's full realization. Through this chapter, Jesus outlines the attitudes and behaviors that are essential for navigating the complexities of religious and communal life, all while maintaining a hopeful and prepared stance for the coming of God's Kingdom.

A Letter to a Friend: Luke, Chapter 17

Hey Friend, I hope you're doing well! Recently, I've been pondering over Luke chapter 17, and I wanted to share some insights with you. In this chapter, Jesus addresses various topics related to faith, forgiveness, and the kingdom of God. Jesus begins by warning his disciples about the inevitability of stumbling blocks or offenses. He emphasizes the severity of causing others to stumble and underscores the importance of forgiveness. Even if someone wrongs us multiple times in a single day, Jesus instructs us to forgive them each time they repent. This shows the depth of forgiveness we're called to extend to others, mirroring the boundless forgiveness we receive from God. The disciples then ask Jesus to increase their faith, to which Jesus responds with a powerful analogy. He compares faith to a mustard seed, indicating that even a small amount of genuine faith can accomplish great things. This reassures us that it's not the size of our faith but the object of our faith—God—that truly matters. Jesus continues by teaching about the nature of servanthood and humility. He challenges the disciples—and us—to serve God wholeheartedly, without expecting special recognition or reward. Just as a servant doesn't expect thanks for fulfilling their duties, we shouldn't seek praise for doing what is expected of us as followers of Christ. In the latter part of the chapter, Jesus encounters ten lepers who cry out to him for mercy. He instructs them to show themselves to the priests, and as they obey, they are miraculously healed. However, only one of them, a Samaritan, returns to thank Jesus and glorify God. This highlights the importance of gratitude and the rarity of genuine thankfulness. Jesus concludes by teaching about the kingdom of God, warning against false messiahs and false alarms about the end times. He emphasizes that the kingdom of God is not a visible, external kingdom but is within us, in our hearts, and in our relationship with God. Overall, Luke chapter 17 challenges us to examine our attitudes toward forgiveness, faith, humility, gratitude, and the kingdom of God. It calls us to live lives characterized by genuine faith, humble service, and heartfelt gratitude for God's mercy and grace. I hope these reflections resonate with you, my friend. Let's continue to grow together in our understanding and application of God's Word. Take care, Michael