by Dr. Samuel Lee   11/17/1995     0 reads



Luke 17:20-37

Key Verse: 17:25

"But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by

  this generation."

Study Questions

1.  Read verse 20. What kind of kingdom was probably in the minds of

  the Pharisees? What was their human and spiritual situation?

2.  How did Jesus answer them? (20,21) What did Jesus mean by "careful

  observation"? What does he mean by, "The kingdom of God is within

  you"? (Jn 4:24) Why did the Pharisees need to hear this message?

3.  What does Jesus teach his disciples about God's time and the

  kingdom's coming? How will the world know when Jesus comes again?

  What warning does Jesus give about false messiahs? (22-24)

4.  What must Jesus do before coming in glory? How does he reveal God's

  will for world salvation? (Mk 13:10) What was wrong with the people

  of Noah's and Lot's times? (25-37) Why must we live as the holy

  pilgrims? How?




Luke 17:20-37

Key Verse: 17:25

"But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by

  this generation."

People are extremely distressed and suffering and staring at one

another with dreadful premonitions. Today Jesus tells us what kind of

mission we must accomplish in this world as the children of God.

First, the kingdom of God is within you (20-21).

Once, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come.

When the noble Pharisees asked about the kingdom of God to Jesus,

obviously they had an ulterior motive. For example, even during the

time from Abraham to Jesus, there had been an Arab world. Now, there

are 19 Arabic countries. Among them, we sent missionaries to eight

Arabic countries. Geographically speaking, Israel is part of the Arab

world. Strangely, it is where Abraham bought a piece of land from

Ephron the Hittite, one of the hundreds of petty kings of the Arab

world at that time. In view of history, all the civilizations and

people of the Arab world, even the civilizations of Egypt and

Mesopotamia and Greece, were buried in the earth and they are now being

excavated little by little. Because of this, classical scholars, who

had believed the Bible was a kind of myth or episode, began to believe

that the Bible is the written word of God. The most striking fact is

that Abraham bought the land and Abraham's descendants preserved it. It

has been preserved for the last 4,000 years. As we know well, the

Arabic world is aggressive and belligerent. In the ancient world,

Israel could not racially flourish because of enemies' constant attack.

The modern time is the same.  Arab nations in 1929 attacked Israel

ferociously. They again attacked in 1936 and virtually wiped it out.

When Israeli soldiers entered Hebron during the Six-Day War in 1967,

not one Jew had lived there during one generation. But a modest

settlement was reestablished in 1970. God was with his people Israel.

Because of unbearable hardships, within and without, the majority of

Israelites emmigrated and lived outside the country. But there were

always remnants who kept God's covenant with Abraham and lived in


When Jesus was on the earth to do the Messianic ministry, the people

of Israel were under the Roman rule. Most religious leaders could not

but compromise with Roman authority so as to maintain their own faith.

At that time it was good, but their children were corrupt. They were

like modern Christians in China. But because of their unbearable

suffering, they fell into hallucination. Most Pharisees who wanted to

keep their national identity and their faith heritage had to have a

realistic hope. It was the earthly messianic kingdom; and it was their

sheer hallucination. They were like drowning people who want to grab a

piece of ice on the surface. Anyway, they formulated the messianic

kingdom by quoting many Old Testament Bible verses. Their hope in the

earthly messianic kingdom was the power source to overcome their hard

lives. We know how Romans oppressed Israelites. But they never curbed

their pride and belief, because they had an idea that the messianic

kingdom would come.

How did Jesus answer them? Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does

not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it

is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you"

(20-21). Of course, in Bible terms the kingdom of God comes after death

as well as after the judgment of God. Therefore, the kingdom of God is

spiritual and it is forever. The kingdom of God is invisible. Yet the

kingdom of God is perceived by those who believe in God who is spirit

(Jn 4:24).  There are two kinds of people.

The first kind says that the earthly kingdom of God is coming. The

second kind is those who claim that the kingdom of God came and that

"he" or "she" is the Messiah. They mainly deceive naive and fearful

Christians. Three years ago, there was a noisy commotion. Many sincere

Christians were deceived by psychological witches.  They insisted that

Jesus would come on October 28, 1992, at 9:00 p.m. Then they could

enjoy rapture. But it did not happen. They cried because they again had

to go back to the realities of the world. Historically this has been

repeated from the first century to the twentieth century, repeatedly

and persistently.

The Pharisees wished that the messianic kingdom would come and

Jerusalem would be the political power center and rule the whole world.

Of course, we understand that their hallucination painfully stemmed

from endless suffering. What was Jesus' answer to them? Jesus answered

them very clearly, "the kingdom of God is within you." Jesus' answer

was not what they had expected. They wanted political power. But Jesus

answered that one man's spiritual growth is the beginning of

experiencing the kingdom of God. Of course Jesus could tell them many

things about the coming of the kingdom of God. But to the Pharisees it

was a proper answer. Jesus is saying that they should receive the

spirit of repentance, repent and grow spiritually until they can see

and enter the kingdom of God.

We can see many examples of those who saw the kingdom of God and

obtained the qualification of entering the kingdom of God. There was a

Roman centurion under whom 100 soldiers were allotted. It is easy for

us to understand a centurion when we think about Massala in the movie,

"Ben Hur." He could have been very arrogant and he could have treated

his servant like spoiled food when he became useless. But this

centurion was different. His joy was to see his slave boy polish his

boots and hear him say, "Good morning Captain, sir!" But one day, the

slave boy buried his head between his legs; he was having breathing

difficulties due to a high fever. The centurion saw that the slave boy

was dying. Suddenly, his tears flew down, streaming on his cheeks. He

was inspired to visit the elders of the synagogue to ask their favor to

go to Jesus and ask him to heal the boy. The elders were happy to grant

the centurion's request, because they knew that he was a good man.

Usually, the Pharisees would fully dress up when they went out

somewhere. But this time, they ran to Jesus in their pajamas and

explained the situation of the centurion. Jesus was happy to see the

kindness of the centurion toward the sick slave boy and healed the boy.

To this centurion, his Roman citizenship or his position of centurion

or himself was less than nothing. In other words, he was a humble man.

He loved and valued one slave boy's life because he loved God in his

heart. Maybe he heard the gospel of Jesus by the mouth of others.

There was another centurion who was dispatched to Judah. According

to gospel narratives, he was possibly the captain of the soldiers who

were appointed to execute Jesus on the cross. In the world of soldiers,

"order is order" and "duty is duty," that's all. As a centurion, he had

to execute the order for the crucifixion of Jesus. Humanly speaking, he

was the one who nailed Jesus on the cross and shed his blood. But

through dying Jesus, he saw the Son of God. And through Jesus' prayers

on the cross, he could hear the divine voice from heaven. Luke 23:47

says, "The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said,

'Surely this was a righteous man.'" In other words, he meant he is God,

for no one is righteous in the world. The centurion saw righteousness

in Jesus. He saw the kingdom of God in Jesus. His occupation was

killing and destroying and nothing else. But he had spiritual eyes to

see the Son of God in Jesus, because God made him one of his precious

sons. In this part, we are greatly moved by the fact that Jesus really

wanted his chosen people to repent and take care of God's flock with

all their hearts. So he said, "The kingdom of God is within you."

Second, but first he must suffer many things (22-25).

Then Jesus said, "The time is coming when you will long to see one

of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it" (22). This

tells us that the kingdom of God comes at God's appointed time. But the

disciples of Jesus were not privileged to see the coming of the kingdom

of God. The disciples were startled because they had the same idea as

the Pharisees that the earthly messianic kingdom would come through

Jesus, because it had been long awaited. After saying this, Jesus

warned them, "Men will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not

go running off after them." When the world is extremely evil, most

people despair. After they come back to their senses, they hope for

messiahs to come. Then clever people disguise themselves and claim to

be messiahs. Jesus told his disciples not to be deceived by these

people. We must know that there was a danger even for Jesus' disciples

to be deceived by the false messiahs.

Jesus said in verse 25, "But first he must suffer many things and be

rejected by this generation." This indicates that before the coming of

the kingdom of God, God's will for world salvation must be fulfilled as

was promised. For this, Jesus must suffer many things and be rejected

by this generation. Most people think that when they believe in Jesus,

they would be abundantly blessed and their lives would be like

paradise. But Jesus said, "But first he must suffer many things and be

rejected by this generation." When he saw the world, Jesus could have

despaired and abandoned the world as it was. But Jesus said in Mark

13:10, "And the gospel must first be preached to all nations." Jesus

did not see the vicious world situation. But Jesus had on his mind

God's will for world salvation. The gospel must be preached to the

whole world. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the

kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all

nations, and then the end will come."

When we think about Jesus' words, "he must suffer many things," we

learn that the children of God also suffer much to proclaim the gospel

of salvation to the whole world. When we do so, instead of paychecks,

we receive much persecutions. The children of God, however, must be

willing to participate in the remaining suffering of Jesus to save the

world. This was quite contrary to the wishes of the disciples. Jesus

clearly told them that they must participate in the suffering of Jesus.

They must be despised and rejected by men in order to proclaim the

gospel of salvation to the whole world. What a ridiculous idea compared

with the earthly messianic kingdom.

Jesus taught them that the proclamation of the gospel of salvation

is not easy because the world is evil. He gave two examples. First is

the time of Noah. The characteristic of Noah's time was that people

were slaves of the social consensus. They did not listen to the gospel

of salvation through Noah. They enjoyed physical pleasures until the

water of judgment came up to their necks and soon to their breathing

noses.  Jesus explained to his disciples the hard world in which the

proclamation of the gospel of salvation is difficult. But Jesus

encouraged his disciples to participate in the remaining suffering of

Jesus and fulfill God's world salvation purpose. Now we pray that God

may make America a kingdom of priests and a holy nation and raise

10,000 Bible teachers in our generation. Jesus knows that it is not

easy for us to carry out this mission. But we did not choose God, God

chose us and appointed us to bear much fruit (Jn 15:16). For this, we

must suffer and give our hearts.

Third, one will be glorified, the other will be condemned (30-37).

Why did Jesus order this impossible task to his disciples as well as

to us?  Because of the living hope of the kingdom of God. Verse 24

says, "For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which

flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other." Again, verse

30 says, "It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is

revealed." These verses tell us that Jesus comes again to take us back

to his kingdom. These verses also give us clear direction how to live

in this generation. We should not live like Lot's wife. We should not

despair. We should suffer to proclaim the gospel of Jesus as Jesus


There are many people who say, "I am a born-again Christian." These

kinds of people are countless like the stars in the sky. But Jesus

warns in verse 34, "I tell you, on that night two people will be in one

bed; one will be taken and the other left." May God take up everyone to

heaven together with your coworker. Verse 35 is the same example. Jesus

said this so that we may have a personal faith and a living hope of the

kingdom of God and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus said this

so that we may be right with God as pilgrims on earth. The disciples

were surprised to hear this.  But Jesus replied, "Where there is a dead

body, there the vultures will gather" (37).  It means that holy

pilgrims finally enter the kingdom of God. But ungodly people will be

under the power of death.

In this passage, we learn that the world is very hard. But we must

believe that the kingdom of God comes at God's right time. We must

proclaim the gospel of salvation and rejoice to live as the holy

pilgrims until the glorious day comes.