Luke 17 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Luke 17)

Verse 2

[2] It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Little ones — Weak believers.

Verse 3

[3] Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

Take heed to yourselves — That ye neither offend others, nor be offended by others. Matthew 18:15.

Verse 4

[4] And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

If he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day return, saying, I repent — That is, if he give sufficient proof that he does really repent, after having sinned ever so often, receive him just as if he had never sinned against thee. But this forgiveness is due only to real penitents. In a lower sense we are to forgive all, penitent or impenitent; (so as to bear them the sincerest good will, and to do them all the good we can;) and that not seven times only, but seventy times seven.

Verse 5

[5] And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

Lord, increase our faith — That we may thus forgive, and may neither offend nor be offended. Matthew 17:20.

Verse 6

[6] And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

And he said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed — If ye had the least measure of true faith, no instance of duty would be too hard for you.

Ye would say to this sycamine tree — This seems to have been a kind of proverbial expression.

Verse 7

[7] But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

But which of you — But is it not meet that you should first obey, and then triumph? Though still with a deep sense of your utter unprofitableness.

Verse 9

[9] Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

Doth he thank that servant — Does he account himself obliged to him?

Verse 10

[10] So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants — For a man cannot profit God. Happy is he who judges himself an unprofitable servant: miserable is he whom God pronounces such. But though we are unprofitable to him, our serving him is not unprofitable to us. For he is pleased to give by his grace a value to our good works, which in consequence of his promise entitles us to an eternal reward.

Verse 20

[20] And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

The kingdom of God cometh not with observation — With such outward pomp as draws the observation of every one.

Verse 21

[21] Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Neither shall they say, Lo here, or lo there — This shall not be the language of those who are, or shall be sent by me, to declare the coming of my kingdom.

For behold the kingdom of God is within or among you — Look not for it in distant times or remote places: it is now in the midst of you: it is come: it is present in the soul of every true believer: it is a spiritual kingdom, an internal principle. Wherever it exists, it exists in the heart.

Verse 22

[22] And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

Ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man — One day of mercy. or one day wherein you might converse with me, as you do now.

Verse 23

[23] And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.

They shall say, See, Christ is here, or there — Limiting his presence to this or that place. Matthew 24:23.

Verse 24

[24] For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

So shall also the Son of man be — So swift, so wide, shall his appearing be: In his day - The last day.

Verse 26

[26] And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

The days of the Son of man — Those which immediately follow that which is eminently styled his day. Matthew 24:37.

Verse 31

[31] In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

In that day — (Which will be the grand type of the last day) when ye shall see Jerusalem encompassed with armies.

Verse 32

[32] Remember Lot's wife.

Remember Lot's wife — And escape with all speed, without ever looking behind you. Luke 9:24; John 12:25.

Verse 33

[33] Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

The sense of this and the following verses is, Yet as great as the danger will be, do not seek to save your life by violating your conscience: if you do, you will surely lose it: whereas if you should lose it for my sake, you shall be paid with life everlasting. But the most probable way of preserving it now, is to be always ready to give it up: a peculiar Providence shall then watch over you, and put a difference between you and other men.

Verse 37

[37] And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Matthew 24:28.