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Sin, Forgiveness, Faith, and Service

17 Jesus[a] said to his disciples, “Stumbling blocks are sure to come, but woe[b] to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him to have a millstone[c] tied around his neck and be thrown into the sea[d] than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.[e] Watch[f] yourselves! If[g] your brother[h] sins, rebuke him. If[i] he repents, forgive him. Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times returns to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive[j] him.”

The[k] apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”[l] So[m] the Lord replied,[n] “If[o] you had faith the size of[p] a mustard seed, you could say to this black mulberry[q] tree, ‘Be pulled out by the roots and planted in the sea,’[r] and it would obey[s] you.

“Would any one of you say[t] to your slave[u] who comes in from the field after plowing or shepherding sheep, ‘Come at once and sit down for a meal’?[v] Won’t[w] the master[x] instead say to him, ‘Get my dinner ready, and make yourself ready[y] to serve me while[z] I eat and drink. Then[aa] you may eat and drink’? He won’t thank the slave because he did what he was told,[ab] will he?[ac] 10 So you too, when you have done everything you were commanded to do, should say, ‘We are slaves undeserving of special praise;[ad] we have only done what was our duty.’”[ae]

The Grateful Leper

11 Now on[af] the way to Jerusalem,[ag] Jesus[ah] was passing along[ai] between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As[aj] he was entering[ak] a village, ten men with leprosy[al] met him. They[am] stood at a distance, 13 raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy[an] on us.” 14 When[ao] he saw them he said, “Go[ap] and show yourselves to the priests.”[aq] And[ar] as they went along, they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw he was healed, turned back, praising[as] God with a loud voice. 16 He[at] fell with his face to the ground[au] at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.[av] (Now[aw] he was a Samaritan.)[ax] 17 Then[ay] Jesus said,[az] “Were[ba] not ten cleansed? Where are the other[bb] nine? 18 Was no one found to turn back and give praise to God except this foreigner?”[bc] 19 Then[bd] he said to the man,[be] “Get up and go your way. Your faith has made you well.”[bf]

The Coming of the Kingdom

20 Now at one point[bg] the Pharisees[bh] asked Jesus[bi] when the kingdom of God[bj] was coming, so he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs[bk] to be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is[bl] in your midst.”[bm]

The Coming of the Son of Man

22 Then[bn] he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days[bo] of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 Then people[bp] will say to you, ‘Look, there he is!’[bq] or ‘Look, here he is!’ Do not go out or chase after them.[br] 24 For just like the lightning flashes[bs] and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.[bt] 25 But first he must[bu] suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just[bv] as it was[bw] in the days of Noah,[bx] so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People[by] were eating,[bz] they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage—right up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then[ca] the flood came and destroyed them all.[cb] 28 Likewise, just as it was[cc] in the days of Lot, people[cd] were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; 29 but on the day Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.[ce] 30 It will be the same on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, anyone who is on the roof,[cf] with his goods in the house, must not come down[cg] to take them away, and likewise the person in the field must not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife![ch] 33 Whoever tries to keep[ci] his life[cj] will lose it,[ck] but whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.[cl] 35 There will be two women grinding grain together;[cm] one will be taken and the other left.”[cn]

37 Then[co] the disciples[cp] said[cq] to him, “Where,[cr] Lord?” He replied to them, “Where the dead body[cs] is, there the vultures[ct] will gather.”[cu]

Footnotes

  1. Luke 17:1 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  2. Luke 17:1 sn See Luke 6:24-26.
  3. Luke 17:2 tn This term refers to the heavy upper stone of a grinding mill (L&N 7.70; BDAG 660 s.v. μυλικός). sn The punishment of drowning with a heavy weight attached is extremely gruesome and reflects Jesus’ views concerning those who cause others who believe in him to sin.
  4. Luke 17:2 tn Grk “if a millstone were tied…and he were thrown.” The conditional construction in Greek has been translated by English infinitives: “to have…and be thrown.”
  5. Luke 17:2 tn Or “to stumble.” This verb, σκανδαλίσῃ (skandalisē), has the same root as the noun σκάνδαλον (skandalon) in 17:1, translated “stumbling blocks”; this wordplay is difficult to reproduce in English. It is possible that the primary cause of offense here would be leading disciples (“little ones”) astray in a similar fashion.
  6. Luke 17:3 tn It is difficult to know if this looks back or forward or both. The warning suggests it looks back. For this verb, see Luke 8:18; 12:1, 15; 20:46; 21:8, 34. The present imperative reflects an ongoing spirit of watchfulness.
  7. Luke 17:3 tn Both the “if” clause in this verse and the “if” clause in v. 4 are third class conditions in Greek.
  8. Luke 17:3 tn Here the term “brother” means “fellow believer” or “fellow Christian” (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.a, contra BDAG 19 s.v. 2.c), but with a familial connotation. It refers equally to men, women, or children. However, because of the familial connotations, “brother” has been retained in the translation here in preference to the more generic “fellow believer” (“fellow Christian” would be anachronistic in this context).
  9. Luke 17:3 tn Grk “And if.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  10. Luke 17:4 sn You must forgive him. Forgiveness is to be readily given and not withheld. In a community that is to have restored relationships, grudges are not beneficial.
  11. Luke 17:5 tn Grk “And the.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  12. Luke 17:5 sn The request of the apostles, “Increase our faith,” is not a request for a gift of faith, but a request to increase the depth of their faith.
  13. Luke 17:6 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.
  14. Luke 17:6 tn Grk “said.”
  15. Luke 17:6 tn This is a mixed condition, with ἄν (an) in the apodosis.
  16. Luke 17:6 tn Grk “faith as,” “faith like.”
  17. Luke 17:6 sn A black mulberry tree is a deciduous fruit tree that grows about 20 ft (6 m) tall and has black juicy berries. This tree has an extensive root system, so to pull it up would be a major operation.
  18. Luke 17:6 tn The passives here (ἐκριζώθητι and φυτεύθητι, ekrizōthēti and phuteuthēti) are probably a circumlocution for God performing the action (the so-called divine passive, see ExSyn 437-38). The issue is not the amount of faith (which in the example is only very tiny), but its presence, which can accomplish impossible things. To cause a tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea is impossible. The expression is a rhetorical idiom. It is like saying a camel can go through the eye of a needle (Luke 18:25).
  19. Luke 17:6 tn The verb is aorist, though it looks at a future event, another rhetorical touch to communicate certainty of the effect of faith.
  20. Luke 17:7 tn Grk “Who among you, having a slave…would say to him.”
  21. Luke 17:7 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2.
  22. Luke 17:7 tn Grk “and recline at table,” as 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away. See BDAG 70 s.v. ἀναπίπτω 1.
  23. Luke 17:8 tn The question includes a Greek particle, οὐχί (ouchi), that expects a positive reply. The slave is expected to prepare a meal before eating himself.
  24. Luke 17:8 tn Grk “he”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  25. Luke 17:8 tn Grk “and gird yourself” (with an apron or towel, in preparation for service).
  26. Luke 17:8 tn BDAG 423 s.v. ἕως 2.b, “to denote contemporaneousness as long as, while…w. subjunctive…Lk 17:8.”
  27. Luke 17:8 tn Grk “after these things.”
  28. Luke 17:9 tn Grk “did what was commanded.”
  29. Luke 17:9 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative reply which is indicated in the translation by the ‘tag’ at the end, “will he?” Thanks are not required.
  30. Luke 17:10 tn Some translations describe the slaves as “worthless” (NRSV) or “unworthy” (NASB, NIV) but that is not Jesus’ point. These disciples have not done anything deserving special commendation or praise (L&N 33.361), but only what would normally be expected of a slave in such a situation (thus the translation “we have only done what was our duty”).
  31. Luke 17:10 tn Or “we have only done what we were supposed to do.”
  32. Luke 17:11 tn Grk “Now it happened that on.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  33. Luke 17:11 sn This is another travel note about Jesus going to Jerusalem in Luke 9:51-19:48, the so-called “Jerusalem journey” section of Luke’s Gospel. It is not a straight line journey, because to travel along the Galilean and Samaritan border is to go east or west, not south to Jerusalem.
  34. Luke 17:11 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  35. Luke 17:11 tn Or “was traveling about.”
  36. Luke 17:12 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  37. Luke 17:12 tn The participle εἰσερχομένου (eiserchomenou) is taken temporally.
  38. Luke 17:12 sn The ten men with leprosy would have been unable to approach Jesus (Lev 13:45-46; Num 5:2-3). A leper was totally ostracized from society until he was declared cured (Lev 13:45-46). For more on the condition, see the note on lepers in Luke 4:27.
  39. Luke 17:12 tn Grk “leprosy, who.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun was replaced with a personal pronoun and a new sentence started at this point in the translation.
  40. Luke 17:13 snHave mercy on us” is a request to heal them (Luke 18:38-39; 16:24; Matt 9:27; 15:22; 17:15; 20:31-32; Mark 10:47-49).
  41. Luke 17:14 tn Καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  42. Luke 17:14 tn The participle πορευθέντες (poreuthentes) is a good example of an adverbial participle of attendant circumstance. As such, it picks up the force of an imperative from the verb to which it is related (ExSyn 640-45).
  43. Luke 17:14 sn These are the instructions of what to do with a healing (Lev 13:19; 14:1-11; Luke 5:14).
  44. Luke 17:14 tn Grk “And it happened that as.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  45. Luke 17:15 tn Grk “glorifying God.”
  46. Luke 17:16 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  47. Luke 17:16 tn Grk “he fell on his face” (an idiom for complete prostration).
  48. Luke 17:16 sn And thanked him. This action recognized God’s healing work through Jesus.
  49. Luke 17:16 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the introduction of a parenthetical comment.
  50. Luke 17:16 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. The comment that the man was a Samaritan means that to most Jews of Jesus’ day he would have been despised as a half-breed and a heretic. The note adds a touch of irony to the account (v. 18).
  51. Luke 17:17 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  52. Luke 17:17 tn Grk “Jesus answering said”; this is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation.
  53. Luke 17:17 tn The Greek construction used here (οὐχί, ouchi) expects a positive reply.
  54. Luke 17:17 tn The word “other” is implied in the context.
  55. Luke 17:18 sn Jesus’ point in calling the man a foreigner is that none of the other nine, who were presumably Israelites, responded with gratitude. Only the “outsiders” were listening and responding.
  56. Luke 17:19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  57. Luke 17:19 tn Grk “to him”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  58. Luke 17:19 tn Or “has delivered you”; Grk “has saved you.” The remark about faith suggests the benefit of trusting in Jesus’ ability to deliver. Apparently the Samaritan benefited from the healing in a way the other nine did not.
  59. Luke 17:20 tn The words “at one point” are supplied to indicate that the following incident is not necessarily in chronological sequence with the preceding event.
  60. Luke 17:20 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.
  61. Luke 17:20 tn Grk “having been asked by the Pharisees.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in keeping with contemporary English style, and the direct object, Jesus, has been supplied from the context.
  62. Luke 17:20 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ teaching. The nature of the kingdom of God in the NT and in Jesus’ teaching has long been debated by interpreters and scholars, with discussion primarily centering around the nature of the kingdom (earthly, heavenly, or both) and the kingdom’s arrival (present, future, or both). An additional major issue concerns the relationship between the kingdom of God and the person and work of Jesus himself. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.
  63. Luke 17:20 tn Or “is not coming in a way that it can be closely watched” (L&N 24.48). Although there are differing interpretations of what this means, it probably refers to the cosmic signs often associated with the kingdom’s coming in the Jewish view (1 En. 91, 93; 2 Bar. 53–74). See D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1412-14, also H. Riesenfeld, TDNT 8:150.
  64. Luke 17:21 tn This is a present tense in the Greek text. In contrast to waiting and looking for the kingdom, it is now available.
  65. Luke 17:21 tn This is a far better translation than “in you.” Jesus would never tell the hostile Pharisees that the kingdom was inside them. The reference is to Jesus present in their midst. He brings the kingdom. Another possible translation would be “in your grasp.” For further discussion and options, see D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1414-19.
  66. Luke 17:22 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  67. Luke 17:22 sn This is a reference to the days of the full manifestation of Jesus’ power in a fully established kingdom. The reference to “days” instead of “day” is unusual, appearing only here and in v. 26, but it may be motivated merely by parallelism with the “days” of Noah there and the “days of Lot” in v. 28.
  68. Luke 17:23 tn Grk “And they will say.” The plural in Greek is indefinite, referring to people in general. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  69. Luke 17:23 tn The words “he is” here and in the following clause are understood and have been supplied from the context.
  70. Luke 17:23 sn Do not go out or chase after them. There will be no need to search for the Son of Man at his coming, though many will falsely claim its arrival.
  71. Luke 17:24 sn The Son of Man’s coming in power will be sudden and obvious like lightning. No one will need to point it out.
  72. Luke 17:24 tc Some very significant mss (P75 B D it sa) lack the words ἐν τῇ ἡμέρα αὐτοῦ (en tē hēmera autou, “in his day”), but the words are included in א A L W Θ Ψ ƒ1,13 M lat sy bo. On the one hand, the shorter reading is impressive because it has some of the best Alexandrian and Western witnesses in support; on the other hand, the expression ἐν τῇ ἡμέρα αὐτοῦ is unusual (found nowhere else in the NT), and may be considered the harder reading. A decision is difficult, but it is probably best to retain the words. NA28 rightly has the words in brackets, expressing doubt as to their authenticity.
  73. Luke 17:25 sn The Son of Man’s suffering and rejection by this generation is another “it is necessary” type of event in God’s plan (Luke 4:43; 24:7, 26, 44) and the fifth passion prediction in Luke’s account (9:22, 44; 12:50; 13:32-33; for the last, see 18:32-33).
  74. Luke 17:26 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  75. Luke 17:26 tn Or “as it happened.”
  76. Luke 17:26 sn Like the days of Noah, the time of the flood in Gen 6:5-8:22, the judgment will come as a surprise as people live their day to day lives.
  77. Luke 17:27 tn Grk “They.” The plural in Greek is indefinite, referring to people in general.
  78. Luke 17:27 tn These verbs (“eating…drinking…marrying…being given in marriage”) are all progressive imperfects, describing action in progress at that time.
  79. Luke 17:27 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  80. Luke 17:27 sn Like that flood came and destroyed them all, the coming judgment associated with the Son of Man will condemn many.
  81. Luke 17:28 tn Or “as it happened.”
  82. Luke 17:28 tn Grk “they.” The plural in Greek is indefinite, referring to people in general.
  83. Luke 17:29 sn And destroyed them all. The coming of the Son of Man will be like the judgment on Sodom, one of the most immoral places of the OT (Gen 19:16-17; Deut 32:32-33; Isa 1:10).
  84. Luke 17:31 sn Most of the roofs in the NT were flat roofs made of pounded dirt, sometimes mixed with lime or stones, supported by heavy wooden beams. They generally had an easy means of access, either a sturdy wooden ladder or stone stairway, sometimes on the outside of the house.
  85. Luke 17:31 sn The swiftness and devastation of the judgment will require a swift escape. There is no time to come down from one’s roof and pick up anything from inside one’s home.
  86. Luke 17:32 sn An allusion to Gen 19:26. The warning about Lot’s wife is not to look back and long to be where one used to be. The world is being judged, and the person who delays or turns back will be destroyed.
  87. Luke 17:33 tn Or “tries to preserve”; Grk “seeks to gain.”
  88. Luke 17:33 tn Grk “soul.” See the discussion of this Greek term in the note on “life” in Luke 9:24.
  89. Luke 17:33 sn The Greek word translated life can refer to both earthly, physical life and inner, transcendent life (one’s “soul”). In the context, if a person is not willing to suffer the world’s rejection and persecution in order to follow Jesus but instead seeks to retain his physical life, then that person will lose both physical life and inner, transcendent life (at the judgment). On the other hand, the one who willingly gives up earthly, physical life to follow Jesus (“loses his life”) will ultimately preserve one’s “soul” (note that the parallel in John’s Gospel speaks of “guarding one’s ‘soul’ for eternal life” (John 12:25).
  90. Luke 17:34 sn There is debate among commentators and scholars over the phrase one will be taken and the other left about whether one is taken for judgment or for salvation. If the imagery is patterned after the rescue of Noah from the flood and Lot from Sodom, as some suggest, the ones taken are the saved (as Noah and Lot were) and those left behind are judged. The imagery, however, is not directly tied to the identification of the two groups. Its primary purpose in context is to picture the sudden, surprising separation of the righteous and the judged (i.e., condemned) at the return of the Son of Man.
  91. Luke 17:35 tn Grk “at the same place.” According to L&N 46.16, this refers to a hand mill normally operated by two women.
  92. Luke 17:35 tc Several mss (D ƒ13 [579] 700 al lat sy) add (with several variations among these witnesses) 17:36 “There will be two in the field; one will be taken and the other left.” It is not well enough attested to be original. Further, it is an assimilation to the parallel in Matt 24:40, which marks the addition as secondary. The present translation follows NA28 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.
  93. Luke 17:37 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  94. Luke 17:37 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the disciples, v. 22) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  95. Luke 17:37 tn Grk “answering, they said to him.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation.
  96. Luke 17:37 sn The question “Where, Lord?” means, “Where will the judgment take place?”
  97. Luke 17:37 tn Or “corpse.”
  98. Luke 17:37 tn The same Greek term can refer to “eagles” or “vultures” (L&N 4.42; BDAG 22 s.v. ἀετός), but in this context it must mean vultures, because the gruesome image is one of dead bodies being consumed by scavengers. sn Jesus’ answer is that when the judgment comes, the scenes of death will be obvious and so will the location of the judgment.
  99. Luke 17:37 tn Grk “will be gathered.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in English.

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