1–2. Things that make people fall into sin. See notes on Matthew 18:6-7.
3–4. If your brother sins, rebuke him. Note that a rebuke and forgiveness are both duties. Compare Galatians 6:1-2. See notes on Matthew 18:15-22.
5–6. Make our faith greater. The disciples ask for faith to be able to do the things he has just told them. If you had faith as big as a mustard seed. Godet writes: “The only real power of the universe is the divine will. The human will, which has discovered the secret of blending with this force of forces, is raised, in virtue of this union, to omnipotence.” But the gap between ourselves and God shows how far we are from that perfect union. See notes on Matthew 14:28-31. [The mulberry tree is a “fig-mulberry,” called a sycamine in some versions. It was large, with very deep roots.]
7–10. Suppose one of you has a servant. This parable is based on the custom of having the same servant work in the fields and in the house. The servant expected to serve his master first, and himself last! The servant does not deserve thanks for obeying orders. There is no special merit in doing what you are supposed to do. It is the same with you. Since in God’s sight no one can even fulfill their duty (Psalms 143:2), it is not possible for someone to do more than their duty. One who has great faith has no reason to be proud of what he does! God owes us nothing just because we do a good job. The eternal reward comes through grace, not debt (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:4-10). But notice the warning in Romans 6:1-2.
11–19. As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem. The time of this is uncertain. If this happened on his last tour, it would be just after he left Galilee, before he reached Perea. He went between Samaria and Galilee. From west to east, to cross the Jordan river. He was met by ten lepers. [Leprosy: see notes on Matthew 8:1-2.] Expelled from society, lepers banded together for company and protection. They stood at a distance. The Law required this (Leviticus 13:45-46). Go and let the priests examine you. The priest had to certify the leper as clean (see note on Matthew 8:4). Notice at this point they are still lepers. On the way they were made clean. This was a test of faith. Not one would have been healed, if he disobeyed. But when faith is action, their leprosy is gone! One of them... came back. To praise God and to thank Jesus! Where are the other nine? One returns to thank Jesus, and it is the foreigner [a Samaritan]. The others, saved from a living death, ate seen no more. Your faith has made you well. God says in effect: “You move, and I will bless you.” This man’s faith also showed itself in love.
20–21. When the Kingdom of God would come. These Pharisees, and the Jewish people, expected a political kingdom with the power and glory of David’s kingdom restored to Israel. Compare note on Acts 1:6. In such a way as to be seen. It was not to be material and visible. Is within you. “You are in fact the slaves of the master you obey” (Romans 6:16). The Kingdom of God is made up of people who have yielded their heart and loyalty to Christ—have become his disciples.
22–24. When you will wish you could see. In their restless eagerness to see a visible kingdom, many would be tempted to follow false prophets and false Messiahs. He warns them against this, telling them that just as the lightning lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will be his visible Second coming! “Look, he is coming with the clouds! Everyone will see him, including those who pierced him” (Revelation 1:7).
25. But first he must suffer. See notes on Luke 24:25-27.
26–37. As it was in the time of Noah. This is similar to parts of Matthew 24:17-41. See notes there. Remember Lot’s wife! By delaying and looking back, as they were fleeing Sodom, she lost her life. Compare notes on Matthew 24:16-18. Where, Lord? They still thought the things he spoke about were a local prediction. Jesus gave a proverbial answer. Sin will draw punishment and destruction to itself! Compare note on Matthew 24:28.
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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 17". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany