Luke 17:1. It is impossible but that offences will come. Such as the disciples had just seen, the contempt and derision evinced by the pharisees; but woe to the man, and woe to the nation which shall despise the gospel. At the same time be of a forgiving temper; pardon on apology, and do not think that by practising the higher graces of true religion, in overcoming evil with good, that you merit any thing as a debt of your heavenly Father. By rendering evil for evil you would multiply sins, and bring your own souls into condemnation. On the other hand, the world have a right to expect those graces in you, else how are they to know that a divine principle now operates in your heart. Man who owes all to his Maker, can never be a creditor to heaven; he is still an unprofitable servant. Even angels, whose services are perfect, never talk of merit, but veil their faces in presence of the Lord.
Luke 17:2. Better that a millstone, used in the handmills of families, were hanged about his neck, and he drowned as a culprit, that he may no more rob, slander and stumble, and drive one of these young converts out of the way. This was an ancient punishment among both the Greeks and the Romans for detestable offenders, as Suidas records. Matthew 18:7.
Luke 17:12. There met him ten men that were lepers. This was an incurable disease, and has generally been reckoned so by physicians of every age. — See on Leviticus 13. Mark 1:41.
Luke 17:20. The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, or parade. The accession of a prince to a throne, and the conquest of a kingdom, fill the world with noise and eclat; but the conversion of a poor fisherman in Galilee, and of a young man in Damascus, were to the church much greater events; and yet they were not noticed by the world. By and bye however, the kingdom of God shall come with power, and all flesh shall see his salvation. By and bye, the zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish all the glorious things spoken of the city of God.
Luke 17:21. The kingdom of God is within you. The Messiah’s kingdom, the cheering theme of the prophets, and the key-word of John’s preaching, Matthew 3:2; which shall gain the judgment by truth, and win the heart by grace. As Satan and all moral evil entered the heart by the fall, so Christ shall bind the strong one, and cast him out, and spoil his goods, that is, destroy the works of the devil. Then grace shall reign through righteousness, and be the power of God to an endless life. The Father and the Son will make his promised abode in our heart, and fill us with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. With men thus converted Christ will fill the church, and populate the earth.
Luke 17:34. There shall be two in one bed. See the note on Matthew 24:40.
In addition to what is said in Leviticus 13:14. and Matthew 8., on the case of leprosy, we may here add, that the virtue of Christ was infinite: it was not diminished by healing ten or ten thousand. This is a most encouraging consideration to induce poor sinners to come to Jesus, either alone or in crowds. He can assuredly purge the conscience of guilt, and cleanse the heart of leprosy by a word, or a touch.
But let sinners approach him with reverence and prayer. The lepers, like the publican, stood afar off and cried. Deep humility and abasement before the Lord are the qualifying dispositions for the reception of grace.
Faith is essential in order to pardon and purity. Go show yourselves to the priests. This, the lepers did not dare to do, till their flesh exhibited some marks of healing; for the penalty of violating their precincts of separation was forty stripes. Hence the ten lepers obeyed the Lord in faith; and behold, as they went, their skin assumed its fair and natural appearance. Their faith, imperfect as it was, produced a greater and a more speedy effect than they themselves had expected. So when mercy dissipates the frowns of vengeance, she smiles with comfort exceeding the hopes and conceptions of men.
Gratitude must follow conversion; it becomes the just to be thankful. One of the ten, a Samaritan, felt his heart glow with a gratitude which obstructed, his journey. Something whispered in his heart to make the first offering of his praise to him who had cleansed his body, and refreshed his soul. Gratitude is the sweetest incense a saint can offer to God, and its fragrance fills the whole church with a cloud of delight and joy. Oh my soul, offer thou the praise of all thy mercies at thy Saviour’s feet, for he pointedly complains of those men touched by his grace, who do not return to give glory to God. Were there not ten cleansed; but where are the nine? — Sinner, moved by the Lord’s complaint, stop and count thy mercies, thy cures, thy comforts; and ask what returns are expected, yea what base and most ungrateful returns thou hast made. Alas, thou art numbered with the nine who returned not to give glory to God.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 17". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany