Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 16:31-17:8

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Luke 16:31

persuaded . . . rises. Later, Jesus would raise another man named Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44). Though some believed in Jesus, others knew of the sign and plotted against him (John 11:45-48). Moreover, Jesus himself would die and rise again for the salvation of his people (9:22; John 2:18-22; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Afterward, he appeared to many people (1 Cor. 15:5-8). Yet, some refused to believe in Jesus and bribed witnesses to deny what they saw (Matt. 28:11-15). Miracles do not produce faith. God's word produces faith (Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 4:1-6).

Luke 17:1

disciples. Jesus spoke to his disciples, though others may have been present. Previously, he had taught with the Pharisees in mind (16:14-31). sin. Jesus was realistic about the sinfulness of the world in which we live (Rom. 8:22). There will always be temptations to sin. But we must be careful not to be the source of temptation for others (1 John 2:10). woe. See note on 6:20-26.

Luke 17:2

Death would be better than suffering God's judgment for causing one of his people to sin (v. 1). millstone. A round stone that was used to grind up grain. They varied in size from something small (Jdg. 9:53) to others which were turned in circles by donkeys. little ones. Refers to God's people (Matt. 18:6), perhaps those new to the faith. The disciples need care and protection like a parent over children.

Luke 17:3-4

See WCF 15.6.

Luke 17:3

Watch. The word implies constant, ongoing watchfulness (see Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 16:13). The warning concludes Jesus's instruction from vv. 1-2. rebuke. Jesus not only warned against personal sin (vv. 1-3a), but taught how to deal with others' sin. Jesus identified the sinning person as a brother which meant they are a disciple. We are to address other believers honestly about their sin, especially if it against us (Lev. 19:17; Matt. 18:5-20). This preserves relationships in the church (Eph. 4:1-3), protects others from sin (Jas. 5:19-20), and promotes Christ's honor (Eph. 3:21). repent. The goal of the rebuke. forgive. When a confronted sinner repents, the person sin against should forgive completely (v. 4).

Luke 17:4

The number seven represents completion. Thus, Jesus is not prescribing a limit to forgiveness, but its perfection. His disciples are called to continually forgive others who sin against them. This reflects God's forgiveness of his people (11:4; Eph. 4:32; Col 3:13).

Luke 17:5

The apostles understood that Jesus's calling (vv. 3-4) was difficult. Therefore, they asked for greater faith. Only by trusting God, can we overcome our own sin and forgive others. We can ask for faith because faith is a gift (Eph. 2:8; see John 3:3; Rom. 8:7-8).

Luke 17:6

mustard seed. See note 13:18-19. mulberry tree. Uprooting and casting into the sea any tree would be a miraculous feat! Jesus used this picture to speak about the power of God for forgiveness. faith. Jesus's responded to the disciples (v. 5) by explaining that the size of one's faith doesn't matter. It is the quality and object of one's faith that matters. By faith, God is our help. He is able to overcome our thirst for justice and longing for vengeance and enable us to forgive others completely (v. 4). This reflects Jesus's own willingness to forgive those who crucified him (23:34).

Luke 17:7-8

A servant was hired to serve, not be part of the master's family. The servant's needs came second to the master's.

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