You are on page 1of 6


(Luke 17:26-37)
August 14, 2016
Intro A real estate agent shows some property to an out-of-town prospect
saying, The climate here is perfect. Nobody dies here. Just then a funeral
procession passes by. The prospect says, Well, whats that? Quick as a
wink, the real estate agent says, Local mortician. Starved to death. Thats
like the denial most people live with. Consciously or unconsciously, they
reject the idea of a final accounting before God. Hitler, maybe, and Osama.
But everyone? No. Yet coming judgment is at the core of Jesus teaching.
Jesus disciples were expecting a kingdom where they would play lead roles in
a breath-taking universal rulership by Messiah widely predicted in the OT. But
Jesus has some startling clarifications for them. All of them relate to a 2nd
coming of Jesus that the disciples did not yet understand.
What seemed like a discrepancy in the OT the prediction of a mighty,
reigning Messiah, but also a suffering, humiliated Messiah -- is explained in
that He will appear on earth not once, but twice the first time to suffer, die
and make atonement for sin the second time to rule and reign forever. So
in Lu 17:22-37 Jesus is correcting expectations. He is not going to Jerusalem
this time for a coronation, but for an atoning death and resurrection.
But someday He will come again in a manner more in keeping with the
disciples expectations. Many spiritualize that 2nd coming. But, Beloved, if He
came bodily and literally fulfilled OT promises in His first coming, it is
irrational to think that He will not fulfill other promises just as literally in His
2nd coming. Hes coming again, and He characterizes that coming in 8 ways
for His disciples, the first five of which weve looked at.
Jesus Coming is Desired by True Believers (22) Longing for His coming
will not make it so, but true believers will always be looking.
Jesus Coming is Not Yet to the Disciples (22b) What they expect is
coming, yes. But while they can accept the spiritual rulership of their
Savior/King now the physical aspects of the kingdom are not yet.
Jesus Coming Will Be Unmistakable (23-24) No one will have to look for
Him in dark corners. His coming will get worldwide attention.
Jesus Coming Is Delayed By Rejection (25) Israels rejection caused the
delay. But delay isnt cancellation. Alls on time in Gods program.

Jesus Coming is Unexpected in Its Timing (26-28) Efforts to predict

when are fruitless; God wants us to be looking for it all the time!
That leaves 3 characteristics. All deal with judgment as Jesus explodes the
myth that people are not accountable. Gods patience has led many to believe
judgment is an illusion. Its not! As salvation was key to His first coming
preparing spiritually for the kingdom; judgment is key to His 2nd coming
preparing the physical dimension. Three critical points.

Jesus Coming is Characterized By Judgment (26-30)


Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of
Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in
marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and
destroyed them all. Dont be fooled by the appearance of normality. Picture
this cartoon. A trapeze artist swings out and releases his grip expecting to be
caught by his partner as hes done a thousand times before. But as he reaches
out for his partner he sees that there is no one on the 2nd trapeze. Instead there
is a note: Dear John, Theres no easy way to tell you this . . . Thats the
way it was in Noahs day when after hundreds of years of normalcy, and 120
years of preaching about a flood that never came suddenly it did come! And
there were a lot of surprised and horrified people. So imagine what it will be
like when Jesus comes again this time not to seek and save but to judge.
God has given previews. Occasionally God judges instantly to remind us
judgment deferred is not judgment denied. Aarons sons Nadab and Abihu,
priests who disobeyed God, so Lev 10:2 relates, 2 And fire came out from
before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
Instantaneous judgment. So, too, Uzzah in II Sam 6:6 when he reached out
to steady the ark in disobedience to Gods command not to touch it. Instant
death. Jesus tells us catastrophic events, like the tower that fell in Luke 18 is
the same thing warning by instant judgment the same awaits all who will
not repent. Augustine observed, When God wants to, He takes notice of
human sin and judges it; He doesn't defer for a moment. On the other hand,
when He wants to, he does defer judgment. Why? Bc if he never judged in
the present time, God would be thought not to exist; but if He judged
everything in the present time, nothing would be left for the judgment.
Rom 2:4 reminds us: Gods kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
God normally defers judgment to give opportunity. But judgment deferred is
not judgment denied. All who reject Christ will give account usually at

death. But Jesus 2nd coming will bring the same instantaneous judgment on a
whole generation as happened with Noah and Lot only that coming
judgment will set in motion the once-for-all cleansing of society as a whole.
It will be a great day unless you are a rejecter of the Lord Jesus.
The 2nd coming is very different from the first, isnt it? The 1st had the virgin
birth of an innocent baby laid in a manger in abject humility. But listen to the
2nd. Rev 19: 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one
sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and
makes war. If that should happen today, are you ready? For as surely as Jesus
came the first time He is coming again. And just as sure as He is coming
again, those who have denied His Lordship will be brought to account.
Normal ends the day we die or the day He comes again. That day the door
of opportunity will close forever.
A flight attendant announced: You are onboard Flight 1124 to Boston. If
Boston is not in your travel plans, please tell us. People continued getting
settled until shortly the door closed. The flight attendant came on again, You
are on board Flight 1124 to Boston. If Boston it not in your travel plans
today it is now! Thats how it will be for a lot of people when Jesus comes.
We are all sinners by birth and act. Weve been warned to repent, but if we
continue normal, soon when the door will close and the announcement will
be, You are on board Flight 1 to hell. If that is not in your travel plans
today it is now. Dont let that be you. Take action now. Repent now.

Jesus Coming is Characterized by Division (31-35)

Lets start with vv 34-35: 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one
bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding
together. One will be taken and the other left. Jesus coming will divide. Two
people who are equals and doing the same exact thing perhaps husband and
wife in one case will suddenly be separated without notice one taken and
the other left. Jesus coming will divide the whole world into two parts.
Now, the big question is the one taken, taken in judgment and the other left
to safety? Or is the one taken to safety and the other left to judgment? Great
commentators are almost equally divided on this issue! No dogmatism!
I think those taken are to judgment. 3 reasons. First, in v. 27, Jesus likens His
coming to the time of Noah. He makes the same comparison in Mt 24: 39 and
they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be

the coming of the Son of Man. In this parallel passage those swept away
are taken in judgment. Second, in Mt 25 Jesus speaks of dividing people at
His 2nd coming one group on His right (sheep) and another on His left
(goats). Those on the right are invited into His kingdom. But Mt 25:41:
Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the
eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Those taken are taken in
judgment. Third, immediately after this judgment, Jesus is going to set up his
earthly kingdom. Believers will be part of that, so it is more consistent to see
those taken as taken in judgment and those left as left to enter the kingdom.
We cant be dogmatic, but the main thing to see is that people will be divided
into two distinct camps at Jesus coming. Believers and non-believers. But the
previous verses add insight: V. 31: 31 On that day, let the one who is on the
housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and
likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lots wife.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will
keep it. Oftentimes this passage has been used to teach that in ones hurry to
escape judgment, he should not take time to grab anything just get out. And
language similar to this is used to teach exactly that in Mat 24:17-18 regarding
a time near the middle of the Tribulation. Get out of Dodge.
But this passage is at the end of the Tribulation. And the key to interpretation
is v. 32: Remember Lots wife. Lets do that. As God prepared to destroy
wicked Sodom, He graciously removed Lot and his family. But as they were
fleeing for their lives, Lots wife famously looked back longing for the
things she was leaving behind and turned into a pillar of salt. She shared in
the judgment that was falling because she loved her possessions, her position
and her earthly prestige this world -- more than she loved the Lord who was
rescuing her. Her rebellious heart was revealed and she was destroyed.
Jesus point is Dont do that! Dont go back and try to rescue your earthly
life when Jesus comes. That would show you have a heart that loves this world
more than it loves Jesus. It would reveal your self-centered universe and
expose you to the judgment that is coming on all who love this world. That is
the point of v. 33: 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life [on earth] will lose it,
but whoever loses his life [to Christ] will keep it. You try to save your life in
this world and youll lose everything. Jas 4:4, 4 You adulterous people! Do
you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore
whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
So, what do we love? Is something ahead of Him? Are we trying to hold Him
with one hand and our earthly life with the other? Which rules?

I Jn 2: 15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the
world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16) For all that is in the worldthe
desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of lifeis not from
the Father but is from the world. 17) And the world is passing away along with
its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Jesus question
is, whose will do you treasure? If it is not Jesus first, that may not show now,
but it will surely be revealed when He comes again. So wed better settle that
question in His favor and the sooner the better. In that day, World-lovers will
be divided from Jesus-lovers quickly, definitely and permanently.
When Pompeii was being excavated they found the body of a woman
preserved in the ashes of Vesuvius. Her feet were turned toward the city gate,
but her face turned backward toward something just beyond her outstretched
hands. What was it? A bag of pearls. With death hard on her heels, she
stooped to pick them up and was destroyed in the process. Contrast that with
six-year-old Matthew Huffman. His parents were missionaries in Brazil. One
morning he had a fever that soon became so intense he was losing his
eyesight. They put him in the car to rush him to the hospital. As he lay in
Moms lap he extended his hand into the air. Mom pulled it down, but soon He
reached up again, so Mom asked, Matthew, what are you reaching for? He
replied, Im reaching for Jesus hand. With those words he slid into a coma
from which he died 2 days later. Only 6, but hed learned who to reach for
when confronted with eternity. For whom or what will you reach? How
important is He really? Where is your treasure because thats where your
heart will be, and sooner or later at the moment of death or the moment
Jesus returns, your heart will guide your reach for Jesus or something
VIII. Jesus Coming is Characterized by Finality (37)

And they said to him, Where, Lord? He said to them, Where the corpse
is, there the vultures (not eagles as some translations) will gather. The
disciples wonder where all this judgment is going to take place. Jesus appeals
to realities again. We all know that when someone or some animal dies out in
the open, the vultures will gather. Likewise, Jesus is saying, Where unbelief
exists, judgment will find it. Jesus answer is less calculated to reveal some
exact place, but rather intended to emphasize that judgment is sure and final
on those who have rejected Him. It may be slow in coming, but when it does it
will descend with precision and purpose. Where the corpse of unbelief
resides, the vulture of judgment will find and consume it.

It is popular these days to say that people will have another chance to accept
Jesus after they die. Rob Bell, in Love Wins claims that Gods love will
eventually overwhelm even the most stubborn of sinners, tho it may take a
significant amount of time in hell to bring about that repentance. Clark
Pinnock takes much the same approach appealing to evangelicals to make
the shift to a more inclusive outlook, claiming that God will find faith in
people without the person even realizing he/she had it. He follows with the
assertion that people will be given another chance after death.
The problem is, these claims have no substantiation in Scripture. Just the
opposite. Heb 9:27 says, It is appointed unto man once to die and after that
comes judgment. Jesus is indicating the same thing here. When He comes,
the door of opportunity is closed forever. Just as the door to the ark was
eventually closed by God Himself, so the door of salvation through faith in
Christ closes at the moment of death or the moment when Jesus comes
again. Our fate is sealed. Our decision must be made now. Later will be too
Conc A few weeks ago I saw Bob Costas interview Wade Bogg, HOF 3rd
baseman for the Red Sox when they lost the 1986 WS to the Mets. Boggs was
shown crying as the last out was recorded, so Costas asked if the hurt ever
went away. Boggs said, No, but not for the reason you would expect. He
explained: The WS was four days after I buried my mother. Tragic [He
began to cry]. Thats why I was crying. I was crying in part because we lost
and because I knew I had to go home. I knew I had to go home and walk in
the door. My mom wasnt going to be there. It crushed me. Thats why I was
crying. I came back [from her funeral] knowing when I crossed the white
line I could play. And it would alleviate the hurt. But then the finality of the
last out. It was over. I didnt have the white line anymore. I knew I was
going home and through the door and she wouldnt be there. I never wanted
to face that door. But I had to once the last out was made.
Boggs could live in denial while things were normal on the field. But then
came the last out! And soon we will all face the last out, Beloved. Either thru
death or Jesus return. And well have to go thru that door. Are you ready to
go through that door? Does He have your heart? Is He your treasure? Dont
live in denial. Judgments coming. Be ready be in Christ. Lets pray.