Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 17:3-19

<< Previous Note(s)Luke Main PageNext Note(s) >>

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.

Luke 17:9-10

Regardless of how hard he works, the servant is still a servant. It's his job to serve the master. He should not expect thanks. unworthy servants. God is not moved to bless us by anything we do for him. He owes us nothing, but we owe him everything (1 Cor. 4:7). Rather than boast in our faithfulness (18:11-12), God's people boast in his mercy toward them (18:13; 1 Cor. 1:31).

Luke 17:10

See WCF 7.1; 16.4; 16.5; 19.6; BC 24; HC 63.

Luke 17:11-19

This account of a healed leper is similar to another healing recorded in 2 Kgs 5:1-15. In Jesus's day, it comes as a surprise that nine Jews were healed, but only the one Samaritan healed gives thanks. Many who should have received Jesus did not. Unexpectedly, many outsiders did trust him.

Luke 17:11

Jerusalem. See note on 9:51. Samaria. See note on 9:52.

Luke 17:12

lepers. See note on 5:12. far away. Because of their condition, these lepers had to live outside the city (Num. 5:2-4). They were declared ritually unclean. If anyone came with fifty paces, the lepers had to warn others by announcing: Unclean! Unclean! (Lev. 13:45-46). If touched by a leper, the healthy person would also be considered ritually unclean.

Luke 17:13

Master. More than an address of respect. This was a title only used by the disciples (5:5; 8:24, 45; 9:33, 49). The lepers recognized Jesus' authority and trusted he could give mercy. They were taking turns at taking a first step toward being disciples.

Related Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

<< Previous Note(s)Luke Main PageNext Note(s) >>