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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Luke 17

 

 

Introduction

Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:14.—Lk. now more than atones for his great omission (of Mark 6:45 to Mark 8:26) by a great insertion. This section is mainly peculiar to Lk. It describes incidents of the last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem.


Verses 1-37

Luke 17. The chapter illustrates the difficulty experienced by Lk. in using the material at his disposal. He here brings together without any clear connexion of thought a selection of sayings of Christ, mostly paralleled in Mt., together with a miracle.

Luke 17:1 f. stumbling-blocks. Mark 9:42*, Matthew 18:6 f.* (note the reversed order).

Luke 17:3. Take heed to yourselves probably belongs to Luke 17:2.

Luke 17:3 f. The Duty of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:15; Matthew 18:21 f.*).—Mt. is altogether fuller and adds the illustrative parable.

Luke 17:5 f. The Power of Faith (Mark 11:22 f.*, Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:21*).—Mt. connects the saying with the disciples' failure to cast out demons, and again (like Mk.) with the withering of the fig tree. Note that Lk. has a tree here ("sycamine," i.e. fig, or perhaps mulberry) for Mt. and Mk.'s "mountain."

Luke 17:7-10. Parable of the Servant Plowing (Lk. only).—"You do not wait on your slaves, so why should you, who are God's slaves, claim any reward for what you do in His service?" Syr. Sin. omits "unprofitable" in Luke 17:10; the stress in any case is on the noun. It is interesting to find Jesus speaking of God and man as Master and slave (Matthew 21:28-32*). Whatever good a man can do he can never exceed his obligation. Merit does not live from man to God; what we receive from Him is all of grace. Cf. the complementary teaching of Luke 12:37. Merx suggests that Luke 17:9 originally ran "Has that servant any ‘thank' (i.e. special favour, cf. Luke 6:32 ff.) because," etc.

Luke 17:11-19. Healing of Ten Lepers.—A. time note is introduced (Luke 17:11) to remind us that Lk. is, in this main section of his Gospel (Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:14), professedly dealing with the journey to Jerusalem though Jesus is not far advanced on it (see below on Luke 17:11). Lk. alone gives us this incident. If it is a variant of Luke 5:12-16 (=Mark 1:40-45, Matthew 8:1-4) it is a very wide one. The sufferers are healed without a touch (cf. Naaman, 2 Kings 5:11) Of the ten only one shows any gratitude, and he is a Samaritan, a "foreigner" as compared with Jews. This incident thus typifies the Gentile appreciation of Christianity in contrast with the Jewish disregard of it.

Luke 17:11. the midst of Samaria and Galilee, the boundary between the two districts, perhaps in the valley of Bethshan leading to the Jordan.

Luke 17:20-37. Apocalyptic Sayings.—There are several parallels with Matthew 24. In ch. 21 Lk. takes up the subject again.

Luke 17:20 f., addressed to the Pharisees, is found in Lk. only. To a question about time Jesus gives an answer about manner. The Kingdom is not coming "as you hope to catch sight of it" (Moffatt).—with observation: so that its signs can be externally seen or foreseen. Only such tokens are given to "this generation" as belong to the nature of the Kingdom itself. Cf. Matthew 12:38 ff.

Luke 17:21. within you, i.e. the Kingdom is here regarded (a) as already present, cf. Luke 11:20, (b) as a spiritual principle working in men's hearts like the leaven in the meal (Luke 13:21). It is strange that Jesus should say this to the Pharisees, but the "you" is not necessarily confined to them. Some scholars insist that Lk.'s preposition means "among"; even then the Kingdom is already present (though some hold that Jesus only means that it is imminent; "you discuss it and look eagerly for it, but lo! it is upon you," cf. Scott, The Kingdom and the Messiah, pp. 108f.), but only in an outward objective form. A further suggestion in this direction is to read "will be" for "is"; men need not be anxious about signs, when the Kingdom comes it will be suddenly present to all. This is to force the saying into conformity with the following section (esp. Luke 17:23 f.).

Luke 17:22. Lk. only. A time will come when the disciples will look in vain for the Advent; cf. 2 Peter 3:4

Luke 17:23 f. Matthew 24:23-27*.

Luke 17:25. Lk. only; possibly an interpolation.

Luke 17:26 f. Matthew 24:37-39*.

Luke 17:28-30. This additional illustration from the destruction of Sodom is given by Lk. only.

Luke 17:31 f. Mark 13:15 f.*, Matthew 24:17 f.* Lk. clinches the warning by a reference to Lot's wife, whose fate was due to her reluctance to leave her property. The verses have a better context in Mk. (flight from the destruction of Jerusalem).

Luke 17:33. Cf. Luke 9:24, Mark 8:35, Matthew 10:39, John 12:25.—gain: preserve for oneself.—preserve: endue it with life.

Luke 17:34 f. Mt. (Matthew 24:40) sets the two men in the field; some inferior authorities (cf. AV) add this here as Luke 17:36.—taken: saved from the catastrophe; left: to be overwhelmed, to perish as those who are slain and devoured by the carrion vultures.

Luke 17:37. Matthew 24:28*. Wherever there is corruption (as in the world of Noah and Lot), the Advent with its Judgment will be operative. The saying holds true of morally dead hearts and of decadent nations. It may not be unnecessary to note again that in this chapter Lk. is stringing together sayings uttered on various occasions and having reference to different aspects of the coming of the Son of Man.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Luke 17:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/luke-17.html. 1919.

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Monday, February 17th, 2020
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