On Monday night we looked at Luke 17:11-18:34, which covers a portion of what happened as Jesus journeyed south towards Jerusalem towards the end of his ministry. Here are the notes:
17:11-19 – He’s still doing miracles
This was a notable miracle – 10 lepers at once healed – notable for its power and its mercy
- Mercy: leprosy was particularly bad suffering
- Power: this is 10 at a time, with just a word, at a distance. (also (v.14) they were an advanced group of heralds of the kingdom to the priests.)
- A gift and a sign of the goodness and power of the king
- (“Who is this king? He’s the leper healer…”)
- v.14-19 They were also another sign: (v.18)
- “The Nine” (v.17) = Israel, benefitting from his ministry but not giving thanks or repenting
- But the “foreigner” did repent. Israel wasn’t welcoming him as their king, but foreigners were…
- A gift and a sign of the goodness and power of the king
This issue for Israel, that they were about to reject his claim to be their king, comes up in the next section here…
17:20-37 – Two Questions about what it means for the kingdom to come
To the Pharisees
- Q: When will the kingdom come?
- A: [to the Pharisees] forget that—do you recognize who’s standing in front of you?
- Inference: because what you do with him determines whether you get to enter the kingdom (So, information is not given to the Pharisees, but it is given to his followers…)
To the disciples… Since you recognize me, here’s kingdom info:
- 1. (v.22) There’s going to be a delay…
- 2. (v.23) Don’t follow those who claim to see me secretly or even claim to be me. Notice: it’s similar as what he said to the Pharisees. (v.21) … it’s not about people pointing out that I’m coming. (inside knowledge). It’s about recognizing who Jesus is and was (1st coming). …and then being aware of how his second coming actually works…
- 3. (v.24) It will be very clear when I come.
- 4. (v.25) … some things have to happen first. (He needed to deal with the issues that were destroying the world before he could bring his kingdom and fix the world.)
- 5. (v.26-30) …so, because of the delay people will lose track, forget or just live in ignorance about Jesus’s work and God’s kingdom, and get caught up in judgment.
- 6. (v.31-37) When Jesus comes, it will introduce a separation between people, based on how they’re oriented towards him.
- A lot in their lives might have looked the same… (Same jobs, same house, etc…)
- v.37 is weird… but seems to be: Q: Where will this happen? A: You’ll know. It’ll be as easy to spot as an animal carcass lying out in the wilderness—the signs will be unmistakable.
- …or, are they asking, “Where will your followers be delivered to?” – A: “Wherever I am.”
18:1-34 Three Implications of the fact that the Jesus is returning and bringing the Kingdom of God. (Three “applications” or “action items.”)
18:1-8 – The Kingdom is coming…so pray.
- Notice v. 8 – this teaching on prayer is related to what he was just talking about—The moment he returns, and what state he wants to find his followers in when he comes.
- He wants to find faith when he comes (v.8) And how does he define faith here? Praying and not losing heart. So, the fact that believers in Christ continually bring their needs and requests to God in means they’re living by faith. It means they trust in God over other things.
- The fact that we keep asking God for the things we need shows we trust Jesus to return, and not just fix our lives, but fix the whole world.
- When Jesus returns, he wants to find a bunch of people that have been trusting God and Praying like that, right up to the end…
18:9-17 – The Kingdom is coming…so humble yourself.
- Notice v. 17—Jesus is still talking about the kingdom of God, and v.14 (“exalted”)
- What does “being exalted” or “receiving the kingdom” require? – Humbling yourself, especially in relation to your status before God…
- The issue with the Pharisee is not that he was a religious hypocrite, but that he:
- trusted in himself that he was righteous, and
- despised others.
…in other words, he saw himself as elite… and, he thinks God shares that opinion. He needs to humble himself.
- And so v.15-17 seem to illustrate this. What does “of such” (v.16) mean? Those who don’t live their lives in the lying hypocrisy of social positioning. (Those who don’t hope in being elite or have pride in an elite status. God sees no elite. And people who think they’re elite don’t belong in god’s kingdom.)
- Since Jesus will be returning, since the kingdom is coming, humble yourself before God, and start being humble towards others too.
- Fitzmeyer: “Jesus’ message is not meant for those…who think that they deserve a better fate than their neighbors, but for those who, in the midst of universal indifference and complacency, realize the desperateness of their situation and ask, “What must I do to be saved?”
18:18-30 – The Kingdom is coming…so hold riches lightly.
- What Jesus said to him was a hard thing…
- But…he told him he would have “treasure in heaven” –and what had Jesus been preaching? (The kingdom of heaven is coming…to earth.) Jesus wasn’t telling him to live for eternity without treasure, but to use his current treasure to ensure that he would have eternal treasure. Give it away now so he can have the eternal thing.
- His hold on riches made him unable to grasp the kingdom. He couldn’t hold on to both.
- The choice was: riches in this (fallen) world, or riches in the next. Jesus says a definite “yes” to riches in the time to come. Notice…
- ? So…It wasn’t that Jesus loved poverty or suffering, but he knows that, in order to get the true riches associated with the kingdom of God (v.30), it takes a willingness to lose riches now…
- Why? Because the world of humanity that generates wealth is corrupt and opposes God’s plan to bring his kingdom. (…Like owning property in a country that’s getting invaded.)
- And the way the power structures of this world (those who control wealth) treated Jesus when he was here proves the point…
18:31-34 – What must take place for the kingdom to come: Another Death Announcement
- He announces his death again. But they didn’t get it. Why? Maybe because they were having trouble disconnecting themselves in their hopes and dreams from the wealth and power structures of the times they knew?
- The lesson for current followers of Jesus is…we shouldn’t miss it like they did…
- Jesus died to destroy sin and its effects and clear the way to bring in the kingdom of God.
- The incident with the lepers shows us—the kingdom’s bringing blessing and healing to all—anyone who will seek Jesus as King, seek him for healing of their basic issues, and give him glory when he works in their life.
- When the kingdom comes, it will be after a delay, and it will be unmistakable, and some people will miss out because they ignore the claims and promises of Jesus live like the kingdom isn’t coming. And the coming of Christ will reveal that final separation.
- Because the coming of the kingdom will be delayed, and yet it still is inevitable, there are some things we need to keep in mind: We need to never lose heart, and start to think there’s no point in bringing our needs to God anymore. We need to keep praying while we wait for Jesus, and as a way of waiting for Jesus. We need to live in humility, since pride’s not part of the kingdom Jesus is bringing. And we need to be ready and willing to use the things we have presently for things that have meaning in the eternal kingdom.
Hey everyone, if you read this blog, and benefit from having the Monday notes posted, please hit me up and let me know if it’s something I should continue spending time on. Thanks!