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Bible Commentaries
Luke 17

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

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Verse 1

Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him , through whom they come!

See Trapp on " Matthew 18:6 " See Trapp on " Matthew 18:7 "

Verse 2

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

See Trapp on " Matthew 18:6 " See Trapp on " Matthew 18:7 "

Verse 3

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

See Trapp on " Matthew 18:15 "

Verse 4

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

See Matthew 18:21 .

Verse 5

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

Lord, increase our faith — A most necessary request in this case. For the more any man believeth that God for Christ’s sake hath pardoned him, the readier he will be to pardon others.

Verse 6

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed — Faith as a grain of mustard seed is parva, humilis, sed et acris, fervida, small and low, but also sharp and lively; it must have acrimony and vivacity, and then it may remove mountains.

Ye might say unto this sycamine tree, … — That was a senseless slander of the Jews, that Christ stole the true name of God out of the holy of holies, by which means he wrought all his miracles; and that, lest he should lose it, he cut a hole in his thigh, and sewed it therein. Get we but the true faith of God closed up in our hearts (that most holy faith, as St Jude Judges 1:20 calleth it), and you may work wonders. See Trapp on " Matthew 17:20 "

Verse 7

But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

But which of you, … — Whereas the disciples, having begged increase of faith, might presume to obtain it as having deserved it; Christ shows here that God is debtor to none; and that they must do their utmost in duty, and expect God’s leisure and pleasure for the reward. It is a mercy in God (so David accounteth it) "to render to a man according to his works," Psalms 62:12 .

Verse 8

And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?

Gird thyself and serve me — It implies, first, readiness; secondly, nimbleness, handiness, and handsomeness. A loose, discinct, and diffluent mind is unfit to serve God. The deacons cried of old in the Church meetings, Oremus, attendamus, Let us pray, let us attend to prayer, …

Verse 9

Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

Doth he thank that servant — God owes us no thanks; and yet of his grace he even thanks us, and thinks himself beholden to us. See 1 Peter 2:19 . See Trapp on " 1 Peter 2:19 " See also Luke 6:34 . This is dignatio stupenda, a wonderful condescension.

Verse 10

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

We have done that was our duty — Or, our debt; and it is no matter of merit to pay debts. This made William Wickam, founder of New College, …, profess he trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation: Charles V did the like, when he came to die. Cade of the Church, Parei Medul. 883. And in times of Popery, the ordinary instruction appointed to be given to men upon their death beds, was, that they should look to come to glory, not by their own merits, but by the virtue and merit of Christ’s passion, that they should place their whole confidence in his death only, and in no other thing; and that they should interpose his death between God and their sins, between them and God’s anger. (Dr Usheir in a sermon on Ephesians 4:13 )

Verse 11

And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

He passed through Samaria and Galilee — Albeit he had forbidden his apostles to pass into those parts till after his death; yet he manifested by many arguments that the gospel belonged, and should shortly be preached, to those poor pagans, that as yet sat in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Verse 12

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

Stood afar off — For so they were charged, Leviticus 13:45-46 , as also to cover their lips, for fear of infecting others.

Verse 13

And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

And they lifted up their voices — These sought themselves only in their prayers, as do hypocrites; and nought esteemed the love of Christ. So did those that fasted to themselves, Zechariah 7:6 ; more to get off their chains than their sins. Ephraim "is an empty vine, he beareth fruit to himself," Hosea 10:1 . The Church keeps her fruit for her Beloved.

Verse 14

And when he saw them , he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

Go show yourselves unto the priests — As if ye were already cleansed. They did so though they saw no sense for it; and before they came to the priests they were cleansed indeed. Make your "requests known to God with thanksgiving,"Philippians 4:6; Philippians 4:6 . As who should say, Make account to speed, and be ready with your thanks, as if you had what you ask of God.

Verse 15

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

And one of them — It is ten to one if any return to give thanks. Men make prayer their refuge, but not their recompense. Hezekiah returned not according to his receipts.

And with a loud voice — He was as earnest in praises as be had been in prayers. Our thanks should be larger and louder than our requests, because God prevents us with many mercies, and denies nothing; we have it either in money or money’s worth.

Verse 16

And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

Giving him thanks — A thankful man is worth his weight in gold. Sed perraro grati homines reperiuntur, saith Cicero ( pro Planc.). Plerique ut accipiant importuni, donec acceperint, inquieti; ubi acceperint, ingrati, saith the father. Most pray, but pay not.

Verse 17

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

Were there not ten cleansed? — Christ keeps count how many favours men receive from him, and will call them to a particular account thereof. He is an austere man this way.

But where are the nine? — Erasmus tells of a Popish dolt, that thought he could prove that there were ten worlds from those words of Christ, Nonne decem facit sunt mundi? Are there not ten created worlds? Another presently disproved him with the words following, Sed ubi sunt novem? But where are the nine?

Verse 18

There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

There are not found — The Syriac and some others read these words question wise, and so it is more emphatic. Are there not found that returned? … q.d. That is admirable, that is abominable.

Verse 19

And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Thy faith hath made thee whole — Whole on both sides. Thus gratitude ingratiates with Christ, and gets more grace.

Verse 20

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

When the kingdom of God, … — This they asked in scorn: q.d. You tell us often of the kingdom of God, and that it is at hand; but when comes it once? All things continue as they did, …

Cometh not with observation — That is, with outward pomp or superstitious seeking after.

Verse 21

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

The kingdom of God is within you — It is spiritual, Romans 14:17 . Or, it is among you, but that you cannot see wood for trees. You seek me as absent, whom you reject present.

Verse 22

And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it .

And he said unto his disciplesq.d. This doctrine concerns you also, as well as the perverse Pharisees. You shall be ere long at a great loss for me; look to it, therefore, and bestir you.

Verse 23

And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them , nor follow them .

See Matthew 24:23 ; Mark 13:21 .

Verse 24

For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

For as the lightningq.d. From mine ascension, and so forwards, you are not to look for me again till I come to judgment; and then I come on a sudden. Many devices there are in the minds of some, to think that Jesus Christ shall come from heaven again, and reign here upon earth a thousand years. But they are, saith a good divine, but the mistakes of some high expressions in Scripture, which describe the judgments poured out upon God’s enemies, in making a way to the Jews’ conversion, by the pattern of the last judgment. (Mr Cotton upon the Seven Vials.)

Verse 25

But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

But first must he suffer — He must, because God would have it so. Voluntas Dei, necessitas rei.

Verse 26

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

See Trapp on " Matthew 24:27 " See Trapp on " 1 Peter 3:20 "

Verse 27

They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

They did eat, they drank — An elegant assyndeton. For the reason whereof, See Trapp on " Matthew 24:38 "

Verse 28

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

They did eat, they drank — It is not said here, as Luke 17:27 , they married wives; they affected rather those odious concubitus, qui non utrinque resolvunt (Ovid). The Turkish pashas have their catamites, A boy kept for unnatural purposes. ŒD which are their serious loves; for their wives are used but to dress their meat, to laundress, and for reputation, saith one that had been among them. Sodomy (saith he) in the Levant is not held a vice. (Blount’s Voyage.)

Verse 29

But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

But the same day — A fair sunshine morning had a foul dismal evening. Nescis quid serus vesper vehat. Thou knowest not what a great bellied day may bring forth. Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum. Think every day thy last day. (Horat.)

Verse 30

Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

Even thus shall it be — Security ushereth in destruction. The Judge standeth before the door, as is easy to foresee: watch, therefore,James 5:9; James 5:9 .

Verse 31

In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

He which shall be on the housetop — A hyperbolic expression, usual among the Jews, to denote matter of haste.

Verse 32

Remember Lot’s wife.

Remember Lot’s wife — Who either out of curiosity or covetousness turned her back, and she was turned. We are as hardly drawn off the world as a dog from a fat morsel. a Those who set forth of Italy with Galeacius, Marquis of Vicum (who left all for the liberty of conscience at Geneva), many of them when they came to the borders of Italy, and considering what they forsook, first looked back, afterward went back again, and were taken by the Spanish Inquisition, and made publicly to abjure the Christian religion. Remember the horrible history of Julian of old, and the lamentable case of Spira of late, said the Lady Jane Grey, prisoner, to Harding, the apostate. Lege historiam (saith one), ne fias historia; lege iudicia, ne fias exemplum iudicii.

a Ut canis ab uncto corio.

Verse 33

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

See Trapp on " Matthew 16:25 " See Trapp on " Matthew 10:39 "

Verse 34

I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.

See Matthew 24:40-41 . See Trapp on " Matthew 24:40 " See Trapp on " Matthew 24:41 "

Verse 35

Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

See Matthew 24:40-41 . See Trapp on " Matthew 24:40 " See Trapp on " Matthew 24:41 "

Verse 36

Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

See Matthew 24:40-41 . See Trapp on " Matthew 24:40 " See Trapp on " Matthew 24:41 "

Verse 37

And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is , thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Where, Lord? — Or, whither, Lord, viz. shall they be taken of whom thou speakest? To heaven, saith he. See the notes on Matthew 24:28 .

There the eagles — Those vulturine eagles that are said to fly two or three days before to the place where armies are to meet and carcases shall be.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 17". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/luke-17.html. 1865-1868.
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