-Jesus begins this section of teaching with a warning about being a stumbling block, especially to young ones. *Application* It always grieves my spirit to hear of parents, leaders, and teachers of the young who do not use their influence in a Godly way. In fact the news is filled with horrific crimes that are committed against the young and innocent almost constantly. Take this warning seriously. You have a part in training up the next generation. They will stumble if you neglect the Lord’s command.
-Verse three and four give us some sage advice concerning sin and repentance. *Application* We are to rebuke sin rather than tolerate and accept it. We are also to have a loving and patient spirit with those who are repentant and forgive them even if it is seven times a day.
-The call to increase faith is beckoned for with the disciples. Jesus boldly states that if they had even the faith of a small mustard seed they could uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea. It would obey them.
-Next, Jesus teaches on the expectation of being a slave to the Lord. *Application* We are to do the things that He asks as our duty to a benevolent Master.
-The ten lepers are healed on the way to Jerusalem while passing between Samaria and Galilee. Only one returns to give Him thanks and he was a Samaritan. Jesus plainly told him that it was, again, his faith that had made him well. *Application* May we be a thankful people who recognize the good things that the Lord does for us.
-Jesus answers the Pharisees as to when the Kingdom of God was coming. Jesus’ response was that it would not come with signs to be observed. In other words, there would not be a distinct change in the earthly political structure and forms of religious worship. This Kingdom was to begin quietly and humbly, a tender shoot (Isaiah 53:2). However, as Daniel predicts (Daniel 2:44-45), this Kingdom will grow and take over the entire earth. This Kingdom was in their midst even though they did not realize it. Jesus goes on to relate some events for His second coming, which will be like lightening in its quickness and suddenness. *Application* Some will use this passage as evidence of an ingathering of believers (i.e. rapture) before the Great Tribulation of the world. The main point however is that we need to lose our lives if we intend to preserve it eternally.
Verse to Memorize: Luke 17:3
-Jesus tells a parable intended to show that people should pray and not lose heart. This is the story of the persistent widow who eventually gets the legal protection she wants from a godless, disrespectful judge. The point is this, if a ruthless, non-God fearing man will do something favorable due to consistent request, how much more will God bring about justice quickly for those who cry out to Him? He won’t delay long over the ones who beseech Him earnestly. However, Jesus’ remark is stark at the end of this parable. Will He find faith on this earth when He returns? *Application* If we are around, Jesus should absolutely find faith.
-Now a parable about the self-righteous with proud contempt is given. The point of this illustration is justification and exaltation through humility. The self-exalted ones will in fact be humbled and unjustified. *Application* Come humbly to Jesus for forgiveness and restoration in His cleansing power.
-The babies were being brought to the Savior for blessing. The disciples were rebuking them and trying to prevent this from happening based on a cultural norm. In their society it was not expected for the humble children to come to a rabbi (teacher, great man) for attention and honor. Jesus again defies the norm by telling them to permit the children to come unto Him and not to hinder them (reference back to Luke 17:1-2). Then He makes an import comment, “for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all (Luke 18:16-17).” *Application* We must consider the ways of children if we are to enter the Kingdom of God. Here are some qualities of children that we would need to meditate on for Kingdom acceptance. Children are full of faith, trust, and believing, they want to learn, they are excited and impressionable, they submit to authority or humble, and they are totally dependent on someone for their care.
-After this occurrence with the little children, there is a contrast to the proud and arrogant nature of the rich young ruler who was self-righteous in his own thinking. Jesus broke through his hypocrisy by telling him to sell all he had, give to the poor, and follow Him for the possession of the heavenly treasure. This man could not do this because of his love of wealth and lack of compassion for people. In essence the rich young ruler had broken the two most fundamental commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). He loved money (an idol) more than the Lord, and he did not love his neighbor as much as he loved himself. *Application* It is impossible to be saved apart from the life changing gift of God through His Holy Spirit. He allows us to be willing to give everything up for His Kingdom. The promise here is noteworthy too. No one who leaves it all behind to follow Him will lack. They will receive back many times as much in this life and eternal life in the age to come. Not a bad deal, right?
-Jesus takes His twelve aside and began to tell them again of His coming sacrifice and suffering under the Gentiles. He prophesied His death and third day resurrection, but the understanding and comprehension was still not there with the disciples.