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Bible Commentaries
Luke 17

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-4

Jesus Teaches His Disciples On Offences (Matthew 18:6-9 , Mark 9:42-48 ) - Jesus then turns to His disciples and warns them about offences (Luke 17:1-4). The emphasis of this passage is found within the context of its narrative material where Jesus is teaching us how to enter into the narrow gate that leads to Heaven by keeping our hearts pure. The need to avoid offences is another virtue that leads us towards a pure heart after humility (Luke 14:7-11), benevolence (Luke 14:12-14), forsaking the cares of this world (Luke 14:15-24), forsaking family bonds (Luke 14:25), loving others as God loves (Luke 15:1-32), being faithful stewards of God’s blessings (Luke 16:1-13) and avoiding covetousness (Luke 16:14-31).

Luke 17:3-4 Jesus Teaches His Disciples on Forgiveness In Luke 17:3-4 Jesus teaches on forgiveness. In Mark 11:22-26 Jesus explains how forgiveness must be operating in order for faith to operate. Thus, we see Jesus teaching on faith in the next passage in Luke 17:5-10.

Verses 1-10

Discourse: Jesus Teaches on Perseverance In Luke 15:1 to Luke 17:10 Jesus teaches a continuous discourse that places emphasis on perseverance. He discusses our need to love the sinner (Luke 15:1-32), to be good stewards of what God has given us in this life (Luke 16:1-13), to avoid covetousness (Luke 16:14-31) and offenses (Luke 17:1-4), and to live a lifestyle of servanthood as an expression of faith in God (Luke 17:5-10).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Corrects Pharisees on Seeking the Lord Luke 15:1-32

2. Jesus Instructs Disciples on Stewardship Luke 16:1-13

3.) Jesus Rebukes Pharisees on Covetousness Luke 16:14-31

4. Jesus Teaches Disciples on Offences Luke 17:1-4

5. Jesus Teaches the Apostles on Faith & Duty Luke 17:5-10

Verses 1-37

Witnesses of Jesus Justifying Him as the Saviour of the World (God the Father’s Justification of Jesus) Luke 4:31 to Luke 21:38 contains the testimony of Jesus’ public ministry, as He justifies Himself as the Saviour of the world. In this major section Jesus demonstrates His divine authority over man, over the Law, and over creation itself, until finally He reveals Himself to His three close disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration as God manifested in the flesh. Jesus is the Saviour over every area of man’s life and over creation itself, a role that can only be identified with God Himself. This was the revelation that Peter had when he said that Jesus was Christ, the Son of the Living God. Luke 4:14 to Luke 9:50 begins with His rejection in His hometown of Nazareth and this section culminates in Luke 9:50 with Peter’s confession and testimony of Jesus as the Anointed One sent from God. In summary, this section of material is a collection of narratives that testifies to Jesus’ authority over every aspect of humanity to be called the Christ, or the Saviour of the world.

Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world that was presently under the authority of Roman rule. He was writing to a Roman official who was able to exercise his authority over men. Thus, Luke was able to contrast Jesus’ divine authority and power to that of the Roman rule. Jesus rightfully held the title as the Saviour of the world because of the fact that He had authority over mankind as well as the rest of God’s creation. Someone who saves and delivers a person does it because he has the authority and power over that which oppresses the person.

In a similar way, Matthew portrays Jesus Christ as the Messiah who fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Matthew’s presentation of Jesus as the King of the Jews supports His claim as the Messiah. John gives us the testimony of God the Father, who says that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. John uses the additional testimonies of John the Baptist, of His miracles, of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and of Jesus Himself to support this claim. Mark testifies of the many miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ by emphasizing the preaching of the Gospel as the way in which these miracles take place.

This major section of the public ministry of Jesus Christ can be subdivided into His prophetic testimonies. In Luke 4:31 to Luke 6:49 Jesus testifies of true justification in the Kingdom of God. In Luke 7:1 to Luke 8:21 Jesus testifies of His doctrine. In Luke 8:22 to Luke 10:37 Jesus testifies of divine service in the Kingdom of God as He sets His face towards Jerusalem. In Luke 10:38 to Luke 17:10 Jesus testifies of perseverance in the Kingdom of God as He travels towards Jerusalem. Finally, in Luke 17:11 to Luke 21:38 Jesus teaches on glorification in the Kingdom of God.

The Two-Fold Structure in Luke of Doing/Teaching As Reflected in the Prologue to the Book of Acts - The prologue to the book of Acts serves as a brief summary and outline of the Gospel of Luke. In Acts 1:1 the writer makes a clear reference to the Gospel of Luke, as a companion book to the book of Acts, by telling us that this “former treatise” was about “all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” If we examine the Gospel of Luke we can find two major divisions in the narrative material of Jesus’ earthly ministry leading up to His Passion. In Luke 4:14 to Luke 9:50 we have the testimony of His Galilean Ministry in which Jesus did many wonderful miracles to reveal His divine authority as the Christ, the Son of God. This passage emphasized the works that Jesus did to testify of Himself as the Saviour of the world. The emphasis then shifts beginning in Luke 9:51 to Luke 21:38 as it focuses upon Jesus teaching and preparing His disciples to do the work of the Kingdom of God. Thus, Luke 4:14 to Luke 21:38 can be divided into this two-fold emphasis of Jesus’ works and His teachings. [186]

[186] We can also see this two-fold aspect of doing and teaching in the Gospel of Matthew, as Jesus always demonstrated the work of the ministry before teaching it in one of His five major discourses. The narrative material preceding his discourses serves as a demonstration of what He then taught. For example, in Matthew 8:1 to 9:38, Jesus performed nine miracles before teaching His disciples in Matthew 10:1-42 and sending them out to perform these same types of miracles. In Matthew 11:1 to 12:50 this Gospel records examples of how people reacted to the preaching of the Gospel before Jesus teaches on this same subject in the parables of Matthew 13:1-52. We see examples of how Jesus handled offences in Matthew 13:53 to 17:27 before He teaches on this subject in Matthew 18:1-35. Jesus also prepares for His departure in Matthew 19:1 to 25:46 before teaching on His second coming in Matthew 24-25.

Jesus’ Public Ministry One observation that can be made about Jesus’ Galilean ministry and his lengthy travel narrative to Jerusalem is that He attempts to visit every city and village in Israel that will receive Him. He even sends out His disciples in order to reach them all. But why is such an effort made to preach the Gospel to all of Israel during Jesus’ earthly ministry? Part of the answer lies in the fact that Jesus wanted everyone to have the opportunity to hear and believe. For those who rejected Him, they now will stand before God on the great Judgment Day without an excuse for their sinful lifestyles. Jesus wanted everyone to have the opportunity to believe and be saved. This seemed to be His passion throughout His Public Ministry. Another aspect of the answer is the impending outpouring of the Holy Ghost and the sending out of the Twelve to the uttermost parts of the earth. Jesus understood the necessity to first preach the Gospel to all of Israel before sending out the apostles to other cities and nations.

Verses 5-10

Jesus Teaches His Disciples on Faith In Luke 17:5-10 Jesus teaches His apostles about faith. The context of Luke 9:51 to Luke 21:38 is on the training of the Twelve to become prophetic witnesses of the Gospel through faith in His name. Thus, Jesus teaches on faith within the context of training them for the work of the ministry of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. (See a similar passage in Mark 11:22-26.) We see from Luke 14:25 that a multitude began to follow Jesus. At some point, however, the publicans and sinners drew near to hear Him (Luke 15:1). Thus, it appears from the context of this particular passage in Luke 17:5-10 that Jesus is now responding to a question from the twelve while being with the publicans and sinners.

Luke 14:25, “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,”

Luke 15:1, “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.”

There is no parallel passage in the Gospels to this story, as is typical of much material in Luke’s Travel Narrative. In this teaching, Jesus is responding to the question of the Twelve in verse 5, “Lord, Increase our faith.” They were simply asking Jesus how they could walk in the faith and anointing as He walked, and how they could trust God for their needs as Christ looked to Him. Note the organized outline of Jesus’ response: explanation (Luke 17:6), illustration (Luke 17:7-9), and application (Luke 17:10).

Explanation (Luke 17:7 ) - Jesus first shows them the great potential of faith, that it can accomplish the impossible. He explains how faith works in Luke 17:6 by comparing it to the growth of the mustard seed. If faith is planted in one’s heart as a seed and allowed to grow, it allows a person to speak to mountains and they will be moved. Thus, the laws that govern the growth of faith in our lives are the same laws that govern seed-faith.

Illustration (Luke 17:7-9 ) - He then illustrates how faith grows in Luke 17:7-9 by comparing the disciples’ work to that of a common household servant. He tells us the story of the unprofitable servant, who serves his master out of obedience because that is his office and ministry. Obedience is translated into trust or faith in God in Christian service. In other words, when we obey His Words, we are placing our faith in His Words.

Application (Luke 17:10 ) - Finally, in Luke 17:10 Jesus tells His disciples to serve the Lord just like the unprofitable serves his master and their faith will grow. Our faith increases as we learn to abandon our will and desires in order to do the will of the Father. When we are serving the Lord with all of our heart, “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22)

Another passage of Scripture that gives us insight into the growth and development of faith in God is seen in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This verse teaches us that faith is imparted to us by hearing the Word of God. As we hear it and obey it, our faith develops and we become increasing confident that God’s Word, or the laws of faith, will operate in our lives.

Perhaps another way to understand the answer that Jesus gave His disciples in this passage is to look at the context of the narrative material in which it is found. In Luke 13:22 to Luke 17:10 Jesus is moving towards Jerusalem to face Calvary. His emphasis in this group of stories is about forsaking all to follow Him. The decision to leave all behind and follow Jesus begins with humility (Luke 14:7-11) and benevolence (Luke 14:12-14). A person then forsakes the cares of this world (Luke 14:15-24) as well as their own family bonds (Luke 14:25-35). They begin to seek and to save lost souls (Luke 15:1-32). Good stewardship to this calling is needed (Luke 16:1-13) and managing the riches that God entrusts to us (Luke 16:14-31). Only then can a person begin to understand what true faith in God involves (Luke 17:5-10). This kind of faith is not a one-time decision, but a series of daily decisions of being a faithful servant.

Faith and the Office of the Prophet The Gospel of Luke builds its testimony around the Lord Jesus Christ as He ministers in the office of the prophet. Thus, Luke 17:5-10 defines faith from the perspective of the office of the New Testament prophet. This prophet of God has the potential to cast the mulberry tree into the sea through prophecy (Luke 17:6). However, his divine office must be developed over a period of time as he learns humility and obedience to God’s Word, seen in the lives of the Old Testament prophets, so that his prophecies are unctioned by God and able to fulfill their destiny (Luke 17:7-9). The prophet of God cannot claim these powers for himself lest he fall and stumble, as did Balaam. He must remain humble and obedience in his service to God (Luke 17:10).

Illustration - In August 1988 I packed up my belonging in an old pick-up truck and left Panama City, Florida headed to Fort Worth, Texas. The Lord had laid on my heart that He had opened up a door for me to go back to school. I had stepped out of the Southern Baptism denomination and its largest seminary five years earlier in order to join a charismatic church. I did not understand much about these new teachings, but I knew that they seemed more powerful and anointed than the teachings I had been raised on. After a few dreams, the witness of my heart, and some obvious circumstances that confirmed this decision to go to Texas, I said good-by to my family and packed my few belongings. So, here I was, on the road, headed to Fort Worth in an old pick-up that I had paid $300.00 for. And my personal belongings easily fit in the bed, with plenty of room to spare. I had seen in a dream that my brother, who recently graduated from the Baptist seminary in Fort Worth, would soon leave this town. So, by faith, I drove out here and stayed with him and his wife for six months, at which time, they moved back to Florida, our home state. This had given me just enough time to find a steady job and rent a one-bedroom apartment.

I did not have much materially, but I had spent the last five years learning these new "full gospel" teachings, reading books by Kenneth Hagin, John Olsten and the Scriptures and I knew in my heart that I had faith in God. So, when the manager of the apartment complex asked me to work as a maintenance man, I was desperate for a steady job. I had to pick up the grounds in the morning, and work in apartments during the day. Fortunate, this manager was a Christian who believed like I did, so I joined her church.

After about six months, I came to her and suggested that we begin the workday with prayer and give all of the employees an opportunity to join us. We had both been thinking about doing this for several months prior to starting this early morning prayer. She was in agreement. So, I began leading prayer each morning for a few minutes before we began work. About three weeks into this commitment, I was praying along nice and normal so as not to offend some of the backsliders that would reluctantly join us each morning, when these words rolled out of my mouth, "Occupy 'till I come." I had not been thinking about this passage in Matthew when I prayed it, but had learned enough about the work of the Spirit to realize that the Lord was speaking to me by quickening this verse during prayer. As I went home later that night to re-read this passage, I picked up on the idea that the Lord wanted me to take spiritual authority over that apartment complex and begin to break the devil's strongholds off of our work place. So I began to use Scriptures and pray more aggressively than just, "Lord, bless so-and-so," or, "Lord, help us have a good day at work."

Several months later, as I was waking up, these words came into my heart, "Prophesy what the men of God in the Bible prophesied and pray for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit." Of course, I did not know what it really meant. I had heard of gifted ministers who could prophesy and certain men in the Bible and in the church today who were filled with the Holy Spirit. But as I simply began to do what I felt was a word from God, this morning prayer endeavor began to take on an entirely new meaning. He seemed to say to me, “Lay hands on others to be filled with the Lord.”, “David and Samuel, see what they prophesied to those around them and do the same.” Also, study what other men of God prophesied.

As I begin to explain what began to happen, I pray that it will somehow change your life as dramatically as it has changed my life. I did not realize until later that the Lord was teaching me how to set this time of early morning prayer in order and how to pray effectively. I studied the Scripture passages where men of God would speak a blessing over others. I studied Jeremiah, where God set him over nations and kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. All this was done simply by prophesying. All of a sudden, faith began to rise in my heart to speak the Scriptures in faith believing that they would also come to pass.

This teaching of the Scriptures began to open up to me unlike anything I had ever understood before. I began the workday calling things which were not as though they were. I began to call our apartment a delightsome land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and that nations were rising up and calling us blessed. How could I say this in faith? Because I was a tither and the Bible says that this would happen to those who tithe. Within a few months of praying this every day, the owners came and repaired and painted all of the buildings on the property. The apartment began looking like the Word of God said it should. Prospects would come into the office and comment on how nice this place was beginning to look (nations were rising up and calling up blessed). Out of Romans, chapter four, I began to call this apartment complex "filled with a multitude." I saw that the Lord began to call Abraham this name long before it came to pass, so I was doing the same.

Every time I would see a Scripture, I would add it to my list of confessions of faith. I knew that few people in our prayer group understood why I was praying like this, especially when the Christian manager and I would have to pray for months at a time with no one else joining in. I guess we looked and sounded pretty strange. However, I was on to something. I would find those passages where the priests in the Old Testament were to bless the children of Israel (Numbers 6:23-27), or where Boaz would begin the work day by saying to his workers, "The Lord be with you," and they would respond by saying, "The Lord bless thee," (Ruth 2:4). Or, out of Isaiah, I would call every desolate apartment inhabited. Where the Bible says, "there is none to say restore , " I began to prophesy restoration, for all of the years that this property had been under the curse and the locust, the cankerworm, the caterpillar and the palmerworm had consumed, I said, “Restore.” I would call to the north to give up, to the south to hold not back and to the east and west to bring good prospect from afar. I world rejoice when people would come from out of state to rent these apartments and they became filled with a multitude with high occupancy. During the mornings when I did not feel like prophesying, I would speak Joel 3:10, "Let the weak say, I am strong."

Also, I would pray for God to fill each of us with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, and of the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him... that we might know what is the hope of his calling, what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe. I prayed for wisdom out of James 1:5. I prayed for days, weeks, months, even years before seeing some of these things come to pass. When we are filled with the spirit of God and his wisdom and strength, we can do a better job at work each day. We will have inspired ideas, health and the courage to have a good attitude.

About one year into this commitment, the Lord spoke to me two verses in order to help me understand why the things that I were praying for were coming to pass. He spoke to me John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word." The Lord said to me that everything begins with the spoken word. And He gave me Genesis 1:2, "and the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said..." The Lord began to say to me that this is what many people's lives are like, their lives are without form or purpose and their heart are void and empty, that they walk in darkness each day groping about trying to find peace. The Lord also said to me that He would not have asked me to do something that He Himself would not have had to do also. You see, no one has ever faced a worse world of circumstances that God. And the way He handled it was that He began to prophesy and say, "Let there be..." When God spoke, life and circumstances began to conform to the word of God, and life began to take on purpose and direction. We too, are created in the image of God, even down to our tongue and our words. I saw that I no longer had to be ruled in life by circumstances, but rather a confession on faith in God's word, when spoken in faith, would prevail over any circumstance.

For four years I called Brown Trail Apartments the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. Finally, our property won the "best-overall-property-of-the-year" award and the most-improved-property-of-the-year award. I saw those two awards as a testimony to the power of God's word mixed with faith. At that time, in May of 1993, I was given a promotion into the regional office where the Lord set me over ten properties to prophesy. Jeremiah 29:7 says, "...seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace." I had sought and prayed for peace where I worked and was used to walking in that peace. I will never forget the change of atmosphere from a property where God's presence prevailed to a new office of honky tonk music, swearing and cigarette smoke. No believers worked in this office. So after hours, I would walk my new "city" and take authority over it. All but one of those employees are gone now, there is no worldly music, nor cigarette smoke here, because God's word prevails.

During the three years that I have been here, the Lord has continually given me favor with the president and vice-president of the company. God is teaching me how to be a Godly leader in this company and has given me much authority. I now have the authority to prophesy over every property in Texas. I have been calling DMJ Management Co. filled with a multitude of residents and new properties. This past year has seen the highest overall occupancies and income in history, and this coming year will be a time of buying more income properties.

I worked under two godly men who lift up my hands each day as I endeavor to lift up their hands. And this journey has taught me that there is nothing in my life that I cannot do or attain, if I base it on God's word mixed with faith in His word. I live in victory, and not defeat. I have more dreams and visions that I have time to pursue. Life and circumstances are not overcoming me, but rather I have learned to overcome life's circumstances. Praise be to the glorious name of Jesus.

Luke 17:5 “And the apostles said unto the Lord” - Comments - There were twelve men at this time that were called apostles (Luke 6:13). Jesus was addressing these twelve men. He gave this teaching to those who sought Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Luke 6:13, “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;”

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

We must come to Jesus and ask for wisdom and understanding, as His disciples did (James 1:5).

James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”


Mark 4:10-12, “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

Luke 17:5 “Increase our faith” Comments - That is, “Add to us faith.”

Luke 17:6 “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed” - Comments - Don Sunukjian says that of all the seeds used in Palestine during this period in history, the mustard seed would have been the smallest, [256] which is supported by Jesus’ statement in Mark 4:31, “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which…is less than all the seeds that be in the earth.” Mark 4:30-32 tells us more about the mustard seed.

[256] Don Sunukjian, “Mustard Seeds and Moving Mulberries Luke 17:5-10,” Evangelical Homiletics Society 2007 Conference, La Mirada, CA, 13 October 2007.

Mark 4:30-32, “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.”

Characteristics of the mustard seed:

1. It is the smallest of seeds.

2. It is sown in the earth.

3. It grows up to become greater than all herbs. It shoots out branches.

Characteristics of the faith:

1. God has given a measure to each man (Romans 12:3).

2. Faith must be sown. How? Mark 4:14; Mark 4:20. The Word of God is sown in a man’s heart (Romans 10:17). The heart must be fertile ground, or receptive, to order for faith to grow. So obedience is what follows as faith grows in our hearts.

3. Faith grows - More faith is give to obedient servants (Mark 4:24)

4. There are different levels of faith. There is no limit.

Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Mark 4:14, “The sower soweth the word.”

Mark 4:20, “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”

Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Mark 4:24, “And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.”

Luke 17:6 ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea” Comments - Don Sunukjian says the sycamine, or mulberry tree, was one of the largest trees in Palestine, standing about three stories high. He adds that, according to the Jewish rabbis, the root system of this tree was enormous, spreading up to forty feet. This largest of trees stands in contrast to the smallest seed, the mustard seed. [257]

[257] Don Sunukjian, “Mustard Seeds and Moving Mulberries Luke 17:5-10,” Evangelical Homiletics Society 2007 Conference, La Mirada, CA, 13 October 2007.

The plucking up of a tree by faith into the sea is not just hypothetical, but literally true. Figuratively, faith can help us overcome any problem in life. Thus, the need of more faith in God.

Luke 17:6 “and it should obey you” - Comments - Through the parable of verses 7-9, we learn that we first must obey God before His creation will obey our words, as it obeyed Elijah.

James 5:17-18, “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”

Luke 17:6 Comments The Enormous Potential of Faith - Luke 17:6 illustrates the enormous potential of faith. In 1 Corinthians 13:2 Paul makes a reference to the gift of faith, “…and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Jesus makes several references to the great potential of faith in Mark 11:23 and Luke 17:6. He also operated with this gift when He spoke to the storm and it ceased, and when He cursed the fig tree; for Jesus used this statement in Mark’s Gospel to explain how the fig tree had withered.

Mark 11:23, “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”

Paul tried to describe the potential of faith in Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

Jesus states the potential of faith again in Luke 18:27:

Luke 18:27, “And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

Mark 9:23, “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

God is able to able to do above our expectations.

Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”

We can see other passages that illustrate the phrase, “according to the power”:

Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

Acts 6:8, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.”

Colossians 1:11, “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”

Power comes from the Holy Spirit:

Ephesians 3:16, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”


Philippians 2:1, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,”

How to Nourish the Seed of Faith Deposited in the Believer’s Heart - To every believer God imparts a measure of faith (Romans 12:3), a seed of faith deposited into the heart of spirit of the new believer. It is the believer’s responsibility to cherish and nourish this seed so that it grows into great faith. As natural soil needs water and nutrients for seed growth, this spiritual soil of the heart in which the divine seed of faith has been planted must provide similar characteristics. The heart must have a humble attitude of servanthood and obedience to God’s Word. As the believer studies God’s Word, he is to respond in obedience in order for spiritual growth to take place. God will allow His Word to be planted in our hearts as He quickens it to us for specific tasks; however, we must be willing to obey His commands.

Luke 17:7 “having a servant plowing or feeding cattle” Comments - Agriculture and shepherding were two common occupations in Palestine. Jesus uses simple and vivid illustrations well known to people of this agricultural background. The servant class was a familiar part this society.

Luke 17:8 Comments - In the Greek text, Luke 17:8 is a question with an implied “yes” answer.

It may sound cruel that the servant must wait until his master has eaten, but this is the servant's duty.

If we are faithful, God will serve us in heaven.

Luke 12:37, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

Luke 17:9 Word Study on “thank” The Greek construction ( χάριν ἔχω τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ) or ( χάρις τῷ θεῷ ) [258] or some variation of this phrase is found no less than thirteen times in the Greek New Testament (Luke 17:9, Romans 6:17; Romans 7:25, 1 Corinthians 10:30; 1Co 15:57 , 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 9:15, Colossians 3:16, 1 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:3, Philemon 1:7 [t.r.], Hebrews 12:28). It is properly translated in a variety of ways; “I am grateful to God,” or “I thank God,” “Let’s give thanks,” or “with thanks to the Lord.”

[258] Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, M. Robinson, and Allen Wikgren, eds., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993, 2006), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), Luke 10:9.

Luke 17:9 Comments - Why does the master not thank his servant? Verse10 shows that it was the servant's duty. In the Greek, this is a question with an applied “no” answer.

Luke 17:7-9 Comments - Illustration of the Unprofitable Servant In Luke 17:7-9 Jesus illustrates His point made in the previous verse (Luke 17:6) by telling about the rules that govern a servant. The point of this story is that the servant’s will is entirely subject to the will of his master. Luke 17:8 illustrates that our duty to God never ceases, but is always a part of our life. An excellent example of the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant within the context of teaching on faith is found in the story of the centurion’s great faith by telling Jesus to speak the word only, and his servant would be healed (Matthew 8:5-13). This servant went on to explain the principle of submission to the words of those in authority. Chuck Pierce says, “Faith is linked with authority. To the extent that we submit to the authority God has placed in our lives, our faith has the opportunity to be stretched and strengthened. Faith is the overcoming agent that God’s people have on this earth (see John 14:12); therefore, if the Church is to overcome, we must understand and submit to proper authority.” [259]

[259] Church D. Pierce, The Future War of the Church (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2001), 32.

Note that to be a faithful servant, you cannot be a lazy person. In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) the opposite of “faithful” is “slothful.” Note also that the servant’s will is involved. He must choose to be a hard worker with this attitude of duty towards his master.

Luke 17:10 “when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you” - Comments - This is a reference to God’s Word.

Matthew 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Luke 17:10 “We are unprofitable servants” - Comments That is, “We are mere servants.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 7:22-23)

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

1 Corinthians 7:22-23, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”

We can claim no righteous of our own merit before God.

Job 41:11, “Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.”

Psalms 50:12, “If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.”

Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

We should judge ourselves lest we be judged:

Matthew 25:30, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Luke 17:10 “we have done that which was our duty to do” - Comments We must understand that we, as Christians, are obligated to do His word, and that we are not to take it lightly. Obedience and faith in God’s Word go together. They are inseparable.

Note the obedience in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me :”

Illustration - Paul was a “bond servant”:

1 Corinthians 9:16, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me ; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”

Paul's attitude is, “Woe to us if we do not do God’s Word.” So, we must fear God. How do we learn to fear God?

Proverbs 2:1-5, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD , and find the knowledge of God.”

Psalms 49:3, “My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.”

We need to be about the doing of God’s Word, and about the Father’s business, serving Him.

The conclusion is that faith abounds towards those who serve the king, or those who do God’s Word.

Luke 17:10 Comments This parable is applied to us today. We must see ourselves as God’s servants, denying our own personal selfish ambitions and doing the Father’s will. Elijah’s prayer of faith is an excellent example just the type of faith described in Luke 17:5-10. This prophet was a man who served God diligently. When he heard from God he could speak in faith, fully persuaded that God would do it. This is example of the potential of great faith. It is out of such intimacy that a man of God can speak God’s purposes and plans, and they will come to pass. The impossible comes out of a lifestyle of “faithfulness.”

Rick Joyner, in his book The Call, gives a good explanation of the meaning of this passage, “Your words will have this power when you abide in Me,” Wisdom interjected. “I did not call you to preach about Me; I called you to be a voice that I could speak through. As you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will bear fruit that will remain. By My word, the creation was brought forth, and by My word the new creation will come forth in you and in My people. My words are Spirit and Life. My words give Life. You are not called to just teach about Me, but to let Me teach through you. As you dwell in My presence, your words will be My words, and they will have power.” [260]

[260] Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1999), 176.

Scripture Reference - Note:

Luke 12:37, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

Verses 11-19

Jesus Heals Ten Lepers In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus heals ten lepers. The emphasis in this story is the importance of having a heart of thankfulness in the Kingdom of God while awaiting Christ’s Second Coming.

Luke 17:12 “which stood afar off” - Comments Lepers were placed outside camps and cities as unclean. They stayed in leper colonies.

Leviticus 13:46, “All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.”

Numbers 5:2, “Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:”

Numbers 12:14, “And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.”

2 Kings 7:3, “And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?”

2 Kings 15:5, “And the LORD smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house. And Jotham the king's son was over the house, judging the people of the land.”

2 Chronicles 26:21, “And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land.”

Luke 17:12, “And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:”

Leprosy symbolized sin, which was dealt with in the same manner in the New Testament church.

1 Corinthians 5:5, “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

2 Thessalonians 3:6, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.”

If sin is not dealt with in the church, it will affect the entire body.

Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

Luke 17:14 Comments Going to the priest was an act of faith on the part of the lepers. They already had been declared lepers (Leviticus 13:2). A leper was to go to the priest only after the cleaning of leprosy (Leviticus 14:2). So, these ten lepers went in obedience to the words of Jesus to see the priest before the cleansing came.

Note in the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant (verses 5-10), that faith without works is dead (James 2:17).

James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Also, note that faith is perfected with works:

James 2:22, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?”

Luke 17:17 Comments Praise, worship, and thanksgiving are important things to do when healing occurs.

Verses 11-37

Glorification: Jesus Testifies on the Kingdom of God (Passing thru Samaria and Galilee) - In Luke 17:11 to Luke 21:38 Jesus testifies about the Kingdom of God as He passes through Samaria and Galilee towards Jerusalem. This part of the journey will take Jesus into the Temple to teach the people for the last time. At this time the emphasis of Jesus’ teachings focuses on eschatology, or His Second Coming and the Kingdom of God.

He first enters a village and heals ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19) and is able to teach His disciples about thankfulness. He then responds to a question by the Pharisees and teaches about the coming of the Kingdom of God and tells them the importance of watchfulness (Luke 17:20-37). Jesus followed this teaching with the Parable of the Persistent Widow in order to explain to them how to persevere in faith while awaiting His Second Coming (Luke 18:1-8). To the self-righteous Jesus taught on humility using the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus then blesses the children who are brought to Him in order to teach on childlikeness (Luke 18:15-17). When a rich young ruler asks Jesus about inheriting eternal life, Jesus teaches him and those with Him on the dangers of riches and covetousness (Luke 18:18-30). Thus, each one of these stories tell us virtues that we are to pursue as children of the Kingdom of God awaiting His Second Coming. Jesus concludes this teaching session with a prediction to His twelve disciples about His pending death (Luke 18:31-34). After healing a blind man (Luke 18:35-43), dining with Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), and teaching of faithfulness in the Kingdom of God (Luke 19:11-27), Jesus gives three prophecies concerning His arrival in Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-47), His rejection (Luke 20:1-19), and His exaltation (Luke 20:20-47). This major division closes with an eschatological discourse (Luke 21:1-38).

Here is a proposed outline:

A. Narrative: Jesus Teachings (Thru Samaria & Galilee) Luke 17:11 to Luke 19:27

B. Discourse: Jesus Instructs (Into Jerusalem) Luke 19:28 to Luke 21:38

Luke 17:11 to Luke 19:27

Narrative: Jesus Teaches on the Kingdom of God in Samaria and Galilee As Jesus makes His way to Jerusalem through Samaria and Galilee, He turns His focus upon the Kingdom of God.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Healing of the Ten Lepers (Thankfulness) Luke 17:11-19

2. Jesus Instructs Disciples on Second Coming Luke 17:20-37

3. Jesus Instructs Disciples on Prayer Luke 18:1-8

4. Corrects Pharisees on Humility Luke 18:9-14

5. Jesus Instructs Disciples on Childlikeness Luke 18:15-17

6. Jesus Teaches Disciples on Covetousness Luke 18:18-30

7. Jesus Predicts His Death Luke 18:31-34

8. Jesus Heals a Blind Man Luke 18:35-43

9. Jesus Dines with Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10

10. Jesus Teaches on the Faithfulness in the Kingdom Luke 19:11-27

Verses 20-37

Jesus Teaches on the Coming of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:23-28 ; Matthew 24:37-41 ) In Luke 17:20-37 Jesus is asked by the Pharisees about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus responds by teaching them about this event. He first gives the Pharisees a brief answer by focusing on their need to believe on Him from their heart, thus emphasizing His First Coming (Luke 17:20-21). He then turns to His disciples and gives them further teaching on the Pharisees’ question about the Kingdom of God, but with emphasis upon His Second Coming and the need to be ready and watchful (Luke 17:22-37). The emphasis in the two stories of Noah and Lot in this passage is the importance of having a watchful heart while awaiting Christ’s Second Coming.

Jesus will then teach on the perseverance of the saints (Luke 18:1-8), then later rebuke those who reject this teaching (Luke 18:9-14).

Luke 17:20-21 Comments - Jesus Answers the Pharisees - The change that comes when God’s kingdom comes on earth begins within a man’s heart, as he is now a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Luke 17:22 Comments Jesus is referring to His departure after His Resurrection.

Luke 17:24 Comments Jesus is referring to His Second Coming.

Luke 17:25 Comments Jesus is referring to His Passion.

Luke 17:32 Comments Lot’s wife sought her own life, as testified in the next verse (Luke 17:33).

Luke 17:31-33 Comments Turning Back - When Jesus returns we will have the opportunity to turn back to our earthly treasures, as Lot’s wife did.

Luke 17:34 Comments Within the context of Jesus’ teaching on His Second Coming (Luke 17:20-37), the phrase “in the night” is figurative of the Tribulation Period, which is coming upon the earth.

“As it is written: Today is the day of salvation, and again: Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, for the night cometh. Yea, and My wrath shall be poured out upon the ungodly, and there shall be no hand stretched forth to save.” [261]

[261] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 59.

Luke 17:35 Comments Luke 17:35 describes the domestic duties of women at home grinding the grain that the men harvested in the field, which is referred to in the next verse (Luke 17:36).

Luke 17:36 Comments Luke 17:36 describes the duties of the men in the field planting and harvesting, while the domestic duties of the women are described in the previous verse (Luke 17:35).

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Luke 17". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/luke-17.html. 2013.
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