Luke 17

Luke 17:3 - Jesus here says "Pay attention to yourselves!" That makes me think that I need to watch out for my own sin, but immediately following he says "If your brother sins, ..." Clearly the 'yourselves' was a collective one, not individual. We are our brother's keeper. If we sin in another, we are obligated, frankly commanded, to confront it. Not something we like to hear. We like to think of ourselves as having a personal relationship with Jesus. Our actions are between us and him. There's truth in that, but that's not the whole truth. Jesus here says that our sin is our brother's business.

It's challenging because it puts our relationships on the line. Wouldn't we rather just walk away, mulling over their failings in our mind? Or worse, gossiping about it with others. This command to rebuke sin is born of love and all the other teachings of Jesus about how to treat people on still apply. We cannot just say "Jesus said to rebuild you, so here it comes." But we are not to simply let sin go by in each other unchallenged.

Luke 17:5 - The disciples ask Jesus (perhaps in response to his call to confront and forgive) for more faith. Jesus response indicates that they don't need more faith, but perhaps a better understanding of what faith can do. It only takes a little to do a lot. Isn't that proven over and over in Jesus' ministry? Think about the woman who only needed to touch his clothing and was healed, or the man who didn't even need Jesus to come to his home for his servant to be healed, or the thief on the cross who only needed to humbly acknowledge who Jesus was. All these did was believe that Jesus was who he said he was, and they received huge changes in their lives.

Luke 17:22-37 - This passage brings to mind a familiar image of the rapture. Life going on as normal, the suddenly Jesus comes with a blinding flash. Don't go back for your stuff! Some will be taken, some will be left behind. I have to wonder if we really understand it at all. I'm sure there are hundreds of interpretations and explanations, but somehow I suspect they all miss the mark. What's the point? Be ready. Live for God, all your days, as if he were around the next corner or in the next room listening. Because we don't know. Whether by death or the return of the savior, we don't know when it will be our time. We ought to be ready to meet him now, rather than looking for signs that he's near.

But the passage ends with one of those weird Jesus twists that really make me think I don't get it. After all of this talk of being ready and that some will be taken, the disciples ask "Where, Lord?" Why did they ask 'where'? All this talk about 'when' and they ask 'where'. It doesn't follow, it seems disconnected somehow so I wonder what I'm missing. Jesus' response is even more odd:

"Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather."

Mmm-kay, that clears things right up then. Anyone have any insight on this?

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Traditional amillenial interpretation: Jesus was warning the people that Jerusalem would be sacked. We hear this as a warning about what to do in 70 ad when they hear the Roman armies are on the march.

I dunno, Doug. Jesus says a similar thing in a similar context in Matthew 24:28. It is almost as incongruous there, so not much help.

Possibilities:

He's talking about His return as in Matthew, warning them not to fall for fakers who claim that He's back in the flesh ... or that they are Him. So don't go after a body like a hungry vulture. Expect Him in Spirit.

He's talking about the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome (which makes more sense, since being changed in the twinkling of an eye doesn't give you much time to go back anywhere for anything). He's warning them to light out of Jerusalem and leave the dead to bury their dead. He's ignoring the unspoken question "When?" (intending to deal with it down the road in chapter 21) and the spoken question "Where (will they be taken)?" The rapture by the Romans will be random.

He's talking about both, concatenating His return with the destruction of Jerusalem. Personally, I favor this one. I think he's talking of the destruction of Jerusalem as a sign that reveals Him for Who He truly is. It means the end of the Jewish faith as they know it. It signals the beginning of an ongoing redemption, a continuing "return" through His Spirit and a re-uniting with Him for everyone who loves Him as their lives on this world end. These bodies die. The bodies He will give us cannot.

My best guess, bro.



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  • I dunno, Doug. Jesus says a similar thing in a similar context in Matthew 24:28. It is almost as incongruous there, so not much help. Possibilities: He's talking about His return as in Matthew, warning them not to fall...

    Keith Brenton
    Luke 17
  • Traditional amillenial interpretation: Jesus was warning the people that Jerusalem would be sacked. We hear this as a warning about what to do in 70 ad when they hear the Roman armies are on the march. ...

    codepoke
    Luke 17
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