Law 1: leading another into sin brings judgment (Luke 17:1-2).
Law 2: forgiving others is essential (Luke 17:3-4).
Law 3: faith is essential and powerful (Luke 17:5-6).
Law 4: to obey God is a duty, not a service (Luke 17:7-10).
1. Leading another person into sin brings heavy judgment. Yeshua is speaking to His disciples. The disciples needed to guard against this serious sin. The disciples were going to be the ambassadors of the King and His Kingdom and they were always subject to temptation, and if they yield to it, they were going to mislead others. Sin is inevitable. Note the exact words of Yeshua, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come.”
Committing sin is certainly not a good thing, but leading others to sin is far worse. To be a stumbling block is trip someone who is walking in a direction that by inference is on right path. Who are these who cause others to stumble? It is anyone who practices sin, and who continues in sin.
A stumbling block is anyone who leads others to sin. Yeshua here is speaking to his disciples and when followers of Yeshua are in the habit of grumbling, complaining, and criticizing, or being worldly and materialistic or being conceited and prideful, or living loose and immoral lives or of cursing and speaking profanely they are likely causing others who know they are Yeshua followers to disregard the Good News of Messiah.
A stumbling block is anyone who claims to be a follower of Yeshua, but who by their actions are undermining that claim. The person who makes a false profession dishonors the name of Yeshua and causes others to stay away and to detest Messiah and the church. False professors not only shut themselves out of the kingdom, but they lead their children into a false, hypocritical religion which hurts and affects them.
(Mark 9:42) “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. (2 Corinthians 6:3) We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
2. Luke 17:3-4 The second law is that of forgiving others. If a person sins against us, we are to rebuke him; but if he repents, we are to forgive him. There is to be no sense of unforgiveness among God’s people, no matter how grave the sin against us is.
The word “rebuke” is important. It means to be emphatic with. The believer is to confront the person who offends you. We are to do what we can to correct an offending brother, but the correction is to be done in love and compassion, not in a censoring and judgmental spirit. Galatians 6:1;2:11.
The whole theme of this instruction is forgiveness, which means that a spirit of love and compassion exists. The instruction does not mean that the believer is weak or indifferent to sin, but rather that he responds to being mistreated by being loving and compassionate.
(Psalm 141:5) Let a righteous man strike me–it is a kindness; let him rebuke me–it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. (Proverbs 10:17) He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (Proverbs 15:5) A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence. (Ecclesiastes 7:5) It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.
The command to forgive is strong. In fact, this is one of the most beautiful pictures of God’s unlimited forgiveness. He continues to forgive and forgive. The believer does not have license to sin; the Bible is very clear about this (Romans 6:1-2; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16). The believer is not to take advantage of the forgiveness of God, for judgment awaits the person who so abuses the grace of God.
However, the Bible is equally strong in proclaiming that God forgives and forgives the believer who truly repents—even if he sins time and again. It is God’s unlimited forgiveness that requires the believer to forgive anyone who offends him and truly repents. (Matthew 5:7) Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Micah 6:8).
3. Luke 17:5-6 The third law is that faith is essential; faith is a powerful force. The disciples realized that their faith was weak—too weak to ever live like Yeshua was talking about. He was insisting on a faith so strong that they would be free from ever causing another person to stumble and to be so loving and compassionate that they could forgive a person time and again, even seven times in a single day.
Genuine faith is what needed, not great faith. The stress is not quantity, not on how much faith a person has. It is not a matter of increasing faith; it is a matter of possessing and having genuine faith. The smallest amount of genuine faith can do the impossible. Nothing is impossible to him who has a faith that is real, even if the faith is the smallest amount possible. (Hebrews 11:1) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:6),(Psalm 37:4-6).
4. The fourth law concerns obedience: to obey God is a duty not a service. There is danger that believers will become prideful and puffed up because of the gifts and power God gives, especially if they begin to live a life of faith as just described (Luke 17:5-6). Yeshua used an illustration of servants to combat this danger.
The believer is a servant who serves his Master. He is a bond slave. The believer is to serve and obey the commandments of God until all the work is done. The illustration used is tough work feeding the cattle and plowing the fields, then after all that work is done to serve the household by feeding and waiting on tables.
The servant labors all day and all through the evening until all others have gone to bed. He goes to bed after all others have and he arises before all others. What a lesson Yeshua lays out for his talmudim. How few serve the Lord so diligently! How many arise before others in order to spend time alone with the Lord, and then spend the last minutes of a day with the Lord after all others have retired? (Mark 10:42-45), (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
The believer is to be humble in his service for the Lord. No matter what we do for Messiah, it is our duty to do it. We are unworthy of the privilege to serve Him. No man can claim he has done all he should; we know this. We all come short, no matter how much we do or how great the work. There is no room for pride or arrogance or boasting. God commands perfection; therefore, He expects humility. (Matthew 5:44-48).
The Pharisees asked when the Kingdom of God was going to come. The Kingdom of God was the focus of Jesus’ teaching. It was the topic being buzzed about by everyone. The Messiah had come and the Kingdom of God was to be ushered in. The Pharisees in particular were interested because it meant great blessings both for Israel and for them personally as religious leaders.
Their curiosity was aroused, and they wanted to know when to expect it. Jesus answered their question in a very simple statement in verses 20-21. Then He turned to His disciples (Luke 17:22) and explained to them about the coming day of God’s Kingdom and His return. There are two stages of God’s kingdom covered here: the spiritual kingdom that is within a person (Luke 17:20-21), and the coming kingdom to be set up on earth when the Messiah returns (Luke 17:24).
The Kingdom of God cannot be seen with the eye. The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way that men can say, “its here or there”. It comes with a silent influence. It is coming, and its coming will permeate the whole world. The Lord’s kingdom is not of this world, not of the physical and material dimension of being. It is not the kind of kingdom men see when they observe the nations of the world. The Kingdom of God is “within you”).
God is already beginning to rule and reign in the lives of those who allow Him into their hearts as ruler. The Kingdom of God is spiritual, it is the changing of hearts, the rule and reign of God within men’s lives. It is the power of God to take a sinful, self-willed man and change him into a servant of God.
Luke 17:22 – The Kingdom of God is internal, but it is to be external also. The term the “days of the Son of Man” refers to the Messianic kingdom. The Son of Man is the title used by Daniel when describing the kingdom of the Messiah (Daniel 7:13-14). Men cannot control the Kingdom of God. They may wish to see the kingdom as being prepared by the hands of men, or coming soon, with God ruling and reigning, but man has nothing to do with its control. No matter how much men may desire to see one of the days, they cannot create a single day of the kingdom so that they control it.
What is it that makes a believer long to see the Son of Man and to be with Him in His kingdom? Terrible trials, persecution, personal abuse, torn families, death, but in every one of these situations, God takes His children and meets their need. God draws his children near Him and gives His child a sense of His presence and care and love. Even at the moment of his child’s death, God draws near and carries His child in His arms of love through the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4).
However, the point made by Yeshua here is not the closeness of His presence in the death of the believer. It is the closeness of His presence through the trials and
troubles of life that causes the believer to long for heaven.
Luke 17:23-25 – Another aspect we are told about the Kingdom of God is that there is also an external kingdom, which will come suddenly and visibly like the flash of lightning (Matthew 24:2). Since the day cannot be known, believers are to be busy about their labor for the Lord. The day cannot come until some things happen first, including the Messiah’s death for atonement and his resurrection. It was His death that would make it possible for His kingdom to come to earth (John 14:1-3;Philippians 2:8-11).
Luke 17:26-30 The day will be as the days of Noah and Lot; men will be occupied with normal, routine affairs of life without giving any attention to God or to the warnings of coming judgment (Mat 24:37-39). Noah and Lot believed God’s Word when He said to prepare for the flood and for the coming judgment of fire. Despite all their shortcomings and failures, when the Word came to prepare, they believed and they prepared.
While the people of Noah’s and Lot’s day did not believe and did not prepare. They were caught unaware and unexpectedly and suddenly the judgment came. This point here is that when the Son of Man returns, the world will be the same as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. True believers have prepared themselves and will be delivered (Ezekiel 33;Titus 2:12-13).
Luke 17:31-33 – The Lord’s return is imminent, which means that it could happen today or 10 days or 10 years or even a thousand years. We do not know the day or the hour.
Jesus said, “I come quickly.” Since He is coming soon, there is no possessions that should distract us prevent us from our devotion and attention to God and His will for us.
We are told to “remember Lot’s wife.” She illustrates the consequences of turning back lingering and thinking about going back. She came close to being saved; she was faithful to her husband, listening to his warnings, walking with him through the Sodom toward God’s safety. But she tried to hang on to the old life she loved in Sodom (Luke 9:62; 2 Peter 2:20). The call of God is to leave as Abraham left Ur never to return. This is what commended Abraham and Noah to God (Matthew 19:29; John 12:24; Philippians 3:8).
Luke 17:34-37 The day will be a day of separation. The when all of a sudden, unexpectedly, one here and there will be taken and the other left behind. The believer who has truly prepared himself will be taken home to the Lord. Those who reject and oppose the Lord will be left behind (Matthew 13:30;25:32). The day will be worldwide. The disciples asked where His return and kingdom was to take place.
Jesus used an illustration to teach that His return would be universal. The word translated “eagles” can mean either eagle or vulture. It probably should be translated vulture here, for they are the ones who gather where the dead are and feast on them. Since death is universal, vultures are found everywhere. The moral corruption throughout the world necessitates the Lord’s return in divine judgment (Matthew 24:30;Revelation 1:7).