Luke 17


Luke 17:3

“Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

(a) If he repents. In Luke’s account repentance is a condition for forgiveness. But in Matthew’s version, we are exhorted to forgive the sinning brother unconditionally.

(b) Forgive him means don’t hold his sin against him. See entry for Forgiveness.


Luke 17:4

“And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

(a) If he sins seven times… forgive him. In other words, be extravagant with your forgiveness. Forgive as Christ forgave you – without hesitation, reservation, or qualification (Col. 3:13).

(b) I repent. See previous verse.


Luke 17:5

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

.Increase our faith! Many Christians have prayed the same thing, but as Jesus is about to explain, we don’t need more faith.

Since God has given every one of us a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3), it’s inaccurate to say “I have no faith.” Your faith may be weak like an undeveloped muscle, but you have faith none the less. You don’t need extra faith any more than you need extra arms and legs. You just need to use the faith you have (Rom. 12:6). Just as you build your muscles with use, you can grow your faith by putting it to work (2 Cor. 10:15, 2 Th. 1:3).


Luke 17:6

And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.

(a) Faith like a mustard seed. We don’t need great faith to draw upon the abundance of God’s grace; we just need to believe.

(b) This mulberry tree. In Matthew’s account, Jesus said our faith could move mountains (Matt. 17:20).


Luke 17:13

and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Mercy is how grace appears to the needy. See entry for Mercy.


Luke 17:19

And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

(a) Your faith has made you well. It is the grace of God that brings healing, but since grace only comes by faith (Eph. 2:8), Jesus said what he said.

(b) Made you well can also be translated made whole. The original word (sozo) is usually translated as save (e.g., Matt. 1:21), but it also implies healing. When Jesus healed the sick, he sozo ed them; he healed them (Mark 5:23), delivered them (Luke 8:36) and made them whole (Matt. 9:21). See entry for Salvation.


Luke 17:33

“Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

(a) Keep his life. The original word for life (psuchē) usually refers to soul-life. (The word psychology comes from the word psuchē.) It is the fleshly life we inherit from Adam.

(b) Will lose it. Live for the appetites of the flesh and you will lose your true self. Run after the inferior pleasures of the world and you will lose your soul. What profit is that (Matt. 16:26)?

(c) Loses his life. There are two ways to lose your life. The first is to be consumed by your own appetites until your life is little more than eating and drinking and running after fleeting pleasures. The second is to turn your back on that inferior life because you have found something better by far.

(d) Will preserve it. Real life – the kind Jesus offers – is found in fellowship with God.

The bottom-line hasn’t changed. God is inviting us to a love-relationship based on trust. He wants us to look to him as our Source (Matt. 6:25). See entry for New Life.


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