Faith and Faithfulness
This next block of Scripture contains the teaching of Jesus about what He expects from His followers, (Luke 17:1-10) the healing of the ten lepers and that only one returned to express gratitude, (Luke 17:11-19) the coming of His Kingdom, (Luke 17:20-37) and the parable of the unjust judge. (Luke 18:1-8) There is no strong relationship between these blocks of Scripture and faith is mentioned several times.
Beware of Leading Others Astray 1-2
Jesus is warning His disciples that leading one into sin is a very dangerous thing. Little ones does not mean the children only but the believers that are immature in their faith. Christians who are bad examples of the Christian faith, especially Christian leaders, had a disastrous impact on those who are looking for an example of how to live the Christian life.
When a Brother or Sister Sins Against You 3-4
If a brother or sister in the Christian faith offends you or is not living the righteous Christian life, then they are to be rebuked or set straight. If they repent from their wrong doing then we are to forgive them. God offers His forgiveness an unlimited amount of times and we should be willing to forgive in the same way.
Many New Testament teaching collaborate on this subject. (Matthew 18:15-35; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:32; James 5:16) We are to rebuke in the motivation of love and the goal of our rebuke is to restore our brother or sister to righteous living. Our spirit should not be haughty or judgmental. We all have experienced the forgiving grace of God so we should deal with one another as God has dealt with us.
Jesus took the pain and agony of our sins on the cross, He offers us forgiveness and reconciliation. Sometimes we must also take the pain and suffering for what another has done and remain willing to forgive and bring reconciliation. Repentance should always lead to a willingness to forgive. A forgiving spirit makes that repentance possible. A forgiving spirit should always be there even when repentance is not
Increase Our Faith 5-6.
Jesus is making great demands upon His disciples. Who among us has never led one astray and who among us always has a spirit of forgiveness? The disciple realized that to accomplish this attitude they would need divine help. The demands upon them were great and they asked Jesus to increase their faith.
Jesus gives His disciples an answer that does not show the need for more faith but a truer faith. Jesus explains that even a faith as small as a mustard seed is enough to release the power of God. Jesus explains that tress could be placed in the sea and in Matthew we see that mountains can be moved. (Matthew 17:20) The point Jesus is making is that faith, even a small faith, can channel God’s unlimited grace and power.
Pride is the one of the greatest dangers that we face. Pride can and does destroy even the most effectual servant of God. We so often think how great we are when in truth is how great God is.
Jesus is not degrading our service in verse 10 but making the point that our service is expected from us. We have been called by God and equipped by Him for service in His Kingdom. In our service to God we are only doing that which we have been called to do. When we complete the mission that we have been called to fill we should not expect an obligation from God or others for what we have done.
We should not read more into this parable that what is here. The parable leaves much unsaid about Christian service. It does not show us the role of grace in service. God expects much from His servants but He does not expect more than what He has already given us. Our service to God is like our life, it is a gift from God.
Gratitude and Faith 11-19
We are reminded again by Luke that these events happened while Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. In the event of the healing of the ten lepers we see a capsule of His ministry and a prophecy of what lay ahead of Him.
Jesus saw ten lepers and felt compassion upon them. Jesus healed them but only one returned to give thanks for what Jesus had done. This thanklessness was becoming typical in this part of His ministry. Many people were now coming to Jesus to be healed only and not for the deeper needs that He had come to satisfy.
The positive response of the one healed leper showed that not everyone had missed what Jesus had come to do. The healed leper was a Samaritan which is a signal that many in the future who would respond to Jesus would be Gentiles. This is the theme of Luke’s second book the book of Acts.
All the lepers had faith as they all obeyed what Jesus told them to do on faith in His word. They all were healed by their faith. In verse 19 we see that only one of the lepers had the kind of faith that actually saves and makes a person truly whole.
This should be a sobering lesson for all of us. People can accept the many gracious gifts of God and miss the purpose that they are given. God gives us gifts that He would give Himself to us and that we would give ourselves to Him. Our expression of gratitude is one way that we show that we understand the point of God’s grace towards us.
The Kingdom Has Come 20-21
The Pharisees and probably most Jews were very interested in what time the Kingdom would come. The Pharisees had no understanding of the nature of the Kingdom and therefore missed the present reality of it. They were expecting it to be an earthly place and clearly visible. Jesus denied that the Kingdom would have outward signs to be seen or that it was to have a definite place. Jesus did tell them that the Kingdom was already in their midst.
The word Jesus used in this passage could have been translated as “within” or “among.” Jesus would have most likely told the Pharisees that the Kingdom was within them. The point being that they had been too blind to see the Kingdom among them. Jesus Himself was the Kingdom that was among them by what He said and did. This is the same point that Jesus had made in Luke 11:20. “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
The Kingdom is Coming 22:24
The usage of the word Kingdom by Jesus means reign and not realm. It is the reign of God as King. God has always been sovereign but people have not always accepted Him as Lord. With the coming of Jesus the sovereignty of God has been declared in a new and powerful way. People for the most part do not acknowledge God as King. But the New Testament speaks of the coming of the Kingdom as a future event and also as a present reality. Verses 20-21 refer to the present and verses 22-37 refer to the future coming of the Kingdom. There are several passage in Luke where Jesus teaches about the coming Kingdom. (Luke 12:35-38; Luke 19:11-27; Luke 21:5-36)
In Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ teaching of the coming Kingdom there are some things in common. Jesus taught that His future coming will be as clear as a flash of lightning across the night sky. Jesus said this to His disciples as an encouragement for the dark times that lay ahead of them. They would be anxious for His return and Jesus did not want them to be led astray by those who would say He had come in secret and the time had passed.
The Cross First 25
The cross is indispensable to God’s redemption plan. The cross is the very heart of God’s purpose and the key to His Kingdom
The Time of His Coming 26-30
Jesus teaches the certainty of His second coming but that the time is known by only the Father. Jesus compares the uncertainty of the time as it was in the days of Noah or as the days of Sodom. People were going about their normal activity when the judgment came, “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.”
The Effect on Present Actions 31-33
The hope the Christian has on the future coming of the Lord should have an effect on present day activity. When the time of Jesus’ return comes we should not be involved with the worldly values and priorities. Jesus reminds us of Lot’s wife who looked back to see once again because of her attachment to worldly possessions. (Genesis 19:26) The people of God should live by His values and not that of the world.
Coming Judgment 34-37
When Jesus returns it will be a time of judgment. Verses 34-35 refer to the separation of people with close earthly ties but with different allegiances.
Verses 37 is interpreted as a sign of coming judgment. The disciples wanted to know where this was going to take place. But Jesus did not give them an answer to those questions. Instead He used the birds of the air to say that they would be drawn to the dead bodies meaning that sin would draw judgment.