Read Luke 17

Highlights:

Necessity of forgiveness; ten lepers; second coming of Jesus foretold; more parables; children blessed; rich young ruler; death and resurrection foretold.

And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1).

What did the young man mean when he came running, then knelt and asked: What shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 18:18). What a searching question! He was no hypocrite, but felt a desperate need as he knelt down before Jesus, with no concern as to what others might think. Clearly, he understood there was an eternity beyond this physical life. In one's lifetime, no question could be of greater importance. To be misdirected in the destiny of one's soul would mean eternal separation from God.

Luke referred to the “young man” as a certain ruler indicating this was not a parable but a true story. Three of the Gospels mention his great wealth (Matt. 19:20-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23). His question concerning eternal life indicates that he was a Pharisee. For eternal life was one of their major doctrinal convictions while the Saducees did not believe in an afterlife.

After the young man asserted he had kept all the commandments, Jesus, recognizing what was at the heart of the matter, said to him: Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich (Luke 18:22-23). He refused to give up the pleasant life he loved so well and the things he prized so highly. He was very religious and very sincere, but also very covetous.

Jesus clearly said that eternal life can not be earned by self-effort. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

It may seem a simple thing to keep the Law, but when the word “love” is substituted for the word “Law,” and with the Lord's response on how to gain eternal life, Jesus was demanding a test of faith in Him. The Lord was asking for the man to surrender his riches, and to follow Him with the promise of treasure in heaven.

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt:6:33).

Thought for Today:

God always hears and answers the prayers of His children — although it is not always a definite yes or no, sometimes it's wait!

Cross Reference:

For Luke 18:20: See Ex. 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20.

Word Studies:

17:8 sup, eat, dine; 17:9 trow not, think not; 18:1 faint, give up; 18:3 Avenge me of, Provide justice and protection against.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Country: Benin (6 million) in western Africa • Major languages: French and tribal languages • Some hostility toward Christians • 59% animism and voodoo; 17% Muslim; 16% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Amidst uncertainty, seek the guidance of God (Is. 42:16).

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:33-34