Bible Study: Luke, Chapter Seventeen
RHM Bible Study, Luke Chapter Seventeen from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.
Transcript: Today we are going to continue our Bible study and we will be studying Luke Chapter 17 in depth. You can follow along in your own Bible if you like. I will be reading from the World English Bible because it is copyright free.
After the meeting today, or sometime this week, please take the matching quiz that I have prepared for you on the website. For those that are having problems with the quizzes, we are now including the questions at the bottom of the teaching. Thanks to everyone that has participated. Let’s get started:
As in chapter 16, Jesus and the disciples had crossed the Jordan river and are ministering in Perea. Jesus ministered in this area for about three months, gradually making His way to Jerusalem. This era is called the “Perean Ministry of Jesus” and it spans from the end of Luke chapter 9 through chapter 18. That is where this teaching took place.
Luke Chapter 17 beginning in verse 1 reading from the World English Bible: He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no occasions of stumbling should come, but woe to him through whom they come!
Jesus turns away from speaking to the Pharisees, and begins to speak to His disciples. His first words contain a stern warning about causing the “little ones” to stumble. Jesus said that “temptations to sin” are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! The Greek word used here for temptation is “Skandalon” which refers to the bait in a trap.
An ancient method of building a trap involved digging a pit, placing sharp sticks in the bottom of it, covering it with leaves, then laying a big piece of juicy meat right in the center of it. When an animal went after the meat, they fell into the pit onto the sharp sticks. The meat in the center of the trap, or the stick that held the meat is called a “skandalon.”
Temptation is like that piece of meat. It looks so good, it would be so pleasing, no one would have to know, just a little and I will stop, but bam! The moment that you go for it, you fall into the pit and are trapped. Like a fish biting the hook, you become snared. That is the entire purpose of the skandalon. When you think of how perfect every word that Jesus spoke was, it is amazing. The word of God fascinates me because it is so deep and layered. This sentence basically reads “Tantalizing traps will be set before you, but woe to the one who sets the trap”.
Jesus made it clear that we are never to cause another to sin, and He may have been referring to the religious leaders who taught their converts their own hypocritical ways:
Matthew 23:15 NKJV “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”
These leaders were promoting an evil system with their false teachings. A person who teaches others has a responsibility to be accurate. Just like physicians, a teacher should “First, do no harm.” James 3:1 reads: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”
2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.
A millstone was a heavy, flat stone that was used for grinding grain. This large stone would be connected to an ox or donkey that would walk in a circle, causing the stone to roll and crush the grain. They would use this mill to grind wheat into flour, and make that into bread. This millstone was taken from Capernaum, where Jesus lived for a time. There is no way that you are going to swim with that tied to your neck.
As I understand it, the “little ones” would refer to new believers, those who are less developed in the faith, and children who would look to you as an example. Basically Jesus said that it would be better to suffer a horrible death by drowning than to cause new believers to turn away from following Him, or lead them astray.
How do we avoid being a skandalon to others? 1 John 2:10 NKJV reads: “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” If we love our brothers, we will not bring an offense into their lives.
3 Be careful. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
Jesus just finished talking about leading people astray. It is possible now that He is speaking about the other side of the coin with “If your brother sins against you” When people sin against us, we are to talk to them about it. This keeps it from festering inside of you, and it may correct the wrong. It may not even been intentional. If they repent, we have to forgive them.
We are to be compassionate, but not weak against sin and telling someone nicely that they hurt you can be difficult. Often we like to sweep it under the rug, and act like it did not happen. Like a splinter under the skin though, it will swell and may become infected, so get it out early. Jesus said: “If he repents” meaning “stops, turns around” then forgive them. As I see it, it would be very difficult to forgive someone while they are still actively hurting you. Personally I need a little distance from it before I start thinking about forgiving them.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 6 The Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you would tell this sycamore tree, ‘Be uprooted, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Apparently the apostles thought they needed more faith to deal with forgiveness and Jesus explained that it is more the quality of the faith that matters. The mustard seed was the tiniest of seeds. While Rabbis taught that the sycamore / black mulberry tree’s roots would grow for 600 years, meaning that it would be very firmly rooted in the ground. So very small faith could move something impossible. Genuine faith can accomplish the impossible when used within God’s will.
7 But who is there among you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say when he comes in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down at the table,’ 8 and will not rather tell him, ‘Prepare my supper, clothe yourself properly, and serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterward you shall eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not. 10 Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty.’ ”
When people have strong faith, and God uses them, they may become lifted up in spiritual pride. The disciples sometimes discussed who was the greatest among them, as if that mattered. Jesus makes it clear that when we have done our days work just as we should have, that we have nothing to brag about. We have only done our duty using the tools, the gifts, and the life that He blessed us with.
We have a wonderful loving Father in heaven, but He has let me know that my own pride stinks to Him, and it blinds me from everything that He has in store. I am not a self-made man, I am a God-made man, but I can tend to forget that. He provides the greatest opportunities when I humble myself, usually through fasting, other times by scrubbing toilets. When I skip fasting long enough, He will faithfully provide a fresh toilet for me.
When our hearts are right, we live and act as if we are happy to have the privilege of being allowed to serve God. Not enough Christians have this attitude today. Instead, many want to project a “super-Christian” image that makes them seem to be anything but “unprofitable” servants. We only think that we are better than others when our eyes are not on Jesus.
11 As he was on his way to Jerusalem, he was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered into a certain village, ten men who were lepers met him, who stood at a distance. 13 They lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” As they went, they were cleansed.
Jesus continued on His way to Jerusalem. He made two circuits through Perea stopping in Bethany each time. Bethany was a small quiet town on the Mount of Olives and a great place to get away from the crowds and pray. It was also the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
Along the way, ten men with leprosy called out to Him. This is an interesting parable to me. Ten lepers called out to Jesus at a distance and yelled “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” to which Jesus yelled back “Go and show yourself to the priests.” That was the whole exchange.
It was not unusual for these lepers to congregate with one another. They were all outcasts from society and had no company other than other lepers, so they stood far off from everyone else. Lepers were considered unclean, forbidden by law and custom to come near to those who were not lepers, for fear of infecting them. Though Jews and Samaritans avoided each other, this was a mixed group. They were all outcasts. There was neither Jew nor Gentile.
The priests at that time were like health inspectors and they would certify that the lepers had been cured. They could then rejoin society and no longer be outcasts. So these men, who were covered with leprous sores, went to show themselves to the priests. As they went, they were cleansed. Jesus put their faith to the test and He asked them to act as if they had been cured. When they obeyed Him, they were.
15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus answered, “Weren’t the ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there none found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up, and go your way. Your faith has healed you.”
Only one of the ten lepers, who was a Samaritan, returned to thank Jesus. Jews and Samaritans had little to do with each other, but this one was thankful to Jesus, a Jewish healer. If people do not give thanks quickly, they usually do not do so at all. There is also a difference in the nine who were “cleansed” and the tenth who gave thanks, was made “well.” To cleanse means to purge or purify. Made well means to be made whole, saved, preserve, deliver, protect. In essence, Jesus may have told the Samaritan “Your faith has saved you” when he returned and gave thanks.
Jesus said “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”. He noticed the nine who did not return to say thank you, and He wondered where they were. This tells us that Jesus notices when we have a lack of gratitude. He is more observant than we think. We can always find a reason to be thankful to God. Matthew Henry, the famous Bible commentator, was robbed and lost his wallet once. He wrote in his diary that night all the things he was thankful about:
• First, that he had never been robbed before.
• Second, that though they took his wallet, they did not take his life.
• Third, because even though they took it all, it wasn’t very much.
• Finally, because he was the one who was robbed and not the one who did the robbing.
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when God’s Kingdom would come, he answered them, “God’s Kingdom doesn’t come with observation; 21 neither will they say, ‘Look, here!’ or, ‘Look, there!’ for behold, God’s Kingdom is within you.”
The Pharisees, and the disciples of Jesus, assumed that when the Messiah came, that God’s kingdom would be set up and it would push the Romans occupiers out of Israel. There would be an actual king sitting on a throne like David, ruling over all of Israel. So they asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. Jesus explained that the kingdom of God is not like an earthly kingdom that you can see with your eyes.
The Greek phrase “entos humōn” can be taken in one of two ways—either as “within you” (the more common meaning) or “in your midst” (the way preferred by most scholars). After comparing the original Greek and various translations, the Amplified version clearly says it best, as it often does:
Luke 17:20–21 (AMP) — 20 Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display, 21 Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].
The kingdom of God is a complex subject. It is within us via the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and surrounding us, and yet Jesus was heading there. You could say that each believer is a part of a larger network, each of us connected to each other through the Spirit.
The phrase “The Kingdom of God” occurs 69 times in the NKJV and most often in Luke. Here are some things that we can learn from scripture:
* Matthew 6:33 tells us that we are to “seek” the kingdom of God.
* Mark 1:14 tells us that Jesus came preaching the good news of the kingdom of God.
* Mark 4:11 tells us that the kingdom of God is a mystery, that we can know.
* Mark 9:1 Jesus said there were some standing there that would live to see it come in power.
* Mark 10:23 tells us that it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom.
* Mark 14:25 Jesus said He would drink no more wine until He drank it new in the kingdom of God.
* Luke 7:28 tells us that the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the baptizer, who was the greatest prophet.
* John 3:3 tells us that if we are not born again, we cannot see the kingdom of God.
* Romans 14:17 tells us that the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
* 1 Corinthians 15:50 tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
So you can see, there is a lot to the Kingdom of God. It was amidst the people, in the people, but yet a place that Jesus was going. It is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is inside of us, but not only inside of us. It is outside and in our midst, but not only in our midst. To summarize it, I believe that we are talking about the eternal spiritual realm where Jesus, the Holy Spirit, our Father in heaven, and the angels dwell. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us, outside of us, and around us. He is the breath of God. The word “Spirit” means “breath”. Holy Spirit basically means Holy Breath. He is unseen like the wind, yet everywhere, and wherever He is, there is the kingdom.
22 He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 They will tell you, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Don’t go away or follow after them, 24 for as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part under the sky, shines to another part under the sky; so will the Son of Man be in his day.
Jesus told His disciples that the day was coming when they would long to see Him, but could not. He was speaking of the time period after His crucifixion and ascension, like now. We would all like to see Jesus return. Jesus said that many would come pretending to be the Messiah and try to get people to follow them saying “look here” or “look there.” This is speaking for false messiahs that would come to deceive people mentioned in Matthew.
Matthew 24:24 (NKJV) — For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
In the 2,000 years since Jesus spoke these words, there have been many who have claimed to be the Messiah, and some have had significant followings. Jesus solemnly warned us to not go after them or follow them; instead we should disregard them. Dr. Charles Feinberg, a noted Jewish-Christian scholar, said that in the course of Israel’s history since the time of Jesus, sixty-four different individuals have appeared claiming to be the Messiah.
In the not very distant past, men like David Koresh, Jim Jones, Sun Moon, and many, many others have all claimed to be the Messiah. Many Orthodox Jews thought (and still believe) that a Brooklyn Rabbi named Mendel Schneerson was the Messiah. Stalin and Hitler both thought they were the chosen one.
Jesus said that His return will be apparent to everyone just as lightning lights up the entire sky. It will not be in secret. The “thief in the night” means suddenly, surprisingly, catching those who are unprepared off guard. Thieves like the ones on the road to Jericho used to ambush with shrieking and yelling in order to terrorize the victim. It was not quiet and stealthy, but suddenly, violent and unexpected. For instance, Peter wrote in:
2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
Peter said “with a great noise”. This is not a silent, sneaky event that you will be able to miss. Anyone that teaches that Jesus will come secretly and quietly is mistaken. It will be a world-interrupting event that every person on earth will know about.
25 But first, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 As it was in the days of Noah, even so will it be also in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They ate, they drank, they married, and they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
When Jesus returns, life will be carrying on as normal. People will be getting married, eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, they are all normal human activities. The point is that the people who lived in Noah’s time, and Lot’s time, were so caught up in everyday life that they did not even see the storm clouds surrounding them, and disaster came on them suddenly. They ignored the man that God had sent in their midst due to a busy, self-centered, and godless lifestyle.
28 Likewise, even as it was in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from the sky and destroyed them all. 30 It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
One thing these places had in common was that wickedness was accepted as normal. On what was probably an ordinary day, fire suddenly rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah early one morning (Genesis 19:15–25). The day before was just like any other day to the people living there. The same was with Noah. It was just another day, until it started to rain.
31 In that day, he who will be on the housetop and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away. Let him who is in the field likewise not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it.
When Jesus does show up, don’t return back to your home for stuff, because you will no longer need it. Lot’s wife came out of the city with her family, but then turned back and lingered, apparently having second thoughts about leaving all their goodies behind. She was destroyed along with the city of Sodom and everything in it. Your heart needs to be looking forward to Jesus, not behind at your possessions.
34 I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed. One will be taken and the other will be left. 35 There will be two grinding grain together. One will be taken and the other will be left.” (Some Greek manuscripts add: 36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”) 37 They, answering, asked him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there the vultures will also be gathered together.”
One will be taken, and the other left. One event was at night, the other in the day, so we do not know what hour He is coming. When all is said and done, one will be with Jesus, the other will not be. Whenever that is, or wherever that is, we should live our life accordingly. The concept of the “apocalypse” is to live ready for the return of Jesus. Times, dates, raptures, who is going, who is left, is really all irrelevant. The moral of the story is to “live ready to meet Jesus” for we do not know when He is coming. It will be unexpectedly, suddenly, and life will be going on around us like it is business as usual.
That concludes our Bible study on Luke Chapter 17. Thank you for watching and being a part of Refreshing Hope!
Click here or read below for the Quiz on Luke 17!
Quiz Questions on Luke 17:
1. Jesus said to the _____, “It is impossible that no occasions of stumbling should come, but woe to him through whom they come!
2. Jesus said “It would be better for him if a _____ were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.
3. Jesus said “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. If he _____, forgive him.”
4. Jesus said “If your brother sins against you _____ times in the day, and _seven_ times returns, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
5. The apostles said to Jesus, “Increase our _____.”
6. Jesus said “If you had faith like a grain of _____, you would tell this sycamore tree, ‘Be uprooted, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
7. As Jesus was on his way to _____, He was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee.
8. As Jesus entered into a certain village, _____ men who were lepers met him, who stood at a distance. They lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
9. When Jesus saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the _____.” As they went, they were cleansed.
10. One of the ten lepers, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice. He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks; and he was a _____.
11. Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when God’s Kingdom would come, He answered them, “God’s Kingdom doesn’t come with _____; neither will they say, ‘Look, here!’ or, ‘Look, there!’ for behold, God’s Kingdom is within you.”
12. _____ said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.”
13. Jesus said “They will tell you, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Don’t go away or follow after them, for as the _____, when it flashes out of one part under the sky, shines to another part under the sky; so will the Son of Man be in his day.
14. Jesus said “But first, He must _____ many things and be rejected by this generation.”
15. Jesus said “As it was in the days of _____, even so will it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married, and they were given in marriage until the day that _____ entered into the ship, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”
16. Jesus said “Likewise, even as it was in the days of _____: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but in the day that _____ went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from the sky and destroyed them all.”
17. Jesus said “In that day, he who will be on the housetop and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away. Let him who is in the _____ likewise not turn back.”
18. Jesus said “Remember _____’s wife! Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it.”
19. Jesus said “I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one _____. One will be taken and the other will be left.”
20. They, answering, asked Jesus, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there the _____ will also be gathered together.”Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org