Luke 17:20-37 – Smile – Teaching Notes

Luke 17:20-37

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come? Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God isn’t ushered in with visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘Its over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is among you!”


Jesus defines the Kingdom of God.

  1. The pharisees were asking about the Kingdom. From the response of Jesus, I believe it is safe to conclude that they were looking for tangible proof that the Kingdom was real.Consider the answer: “The Kingdom of God isn’t ushered in with visible signs.” This is not to say it is not visible. It is to say, there is not a specific event coming.

    • The word for, “visible signs,” literally means, “ocular evidence.” It is proof based upon making an observation.

    • “Kingdom of God,” is literally translated, “the walking of a sovereign.” It is used to describe the authority or rule of any given King.

    Therefore, the question was, “When are we going to see the evidence of God’s rule on Earth?”

  2. Jesus responds with a tutorial about where it is that God intends to rule.
    1. The rule of God is not geographically located, it is a reality. -do not look here or there
    2. The rule of God is uniquely tied to people. -word for among, is actually, “entos”-It is a unique word in the text, used only in one other place in Matthew. The situation Jesus used this word in was again in reference to the inside attitude of the Pharisees, “first clean the inside of the cup…”
    3. The Kingdom is the reality that flows from connection to Jesus. When He is present in a life, the Kingdom is present. All of the Kingdom is accessible when Jesus is in any persons life.

    This principle was important enough, that Jesus followed the conversation up with his disciples.

Later he talked again about this with his disciples.

All of this conversation is in reference to the question from the Pharisees. Jesus is downloading understanding of His Kingdom.

Luke 17:22-24

The time is coming when you will long to share in the days of the Son of Man, but you won’t be able to,” he said. Reports will reach you that the Son of Man has returned and that he is in this place or that. Don’t believe such reports or go out and look for him. For when the Son of Man returns, you will know it beyond all doubt. It will be as evident as the lightning that flashes across the sky.

The phrase, “Days of the Son of Man,” refers to a very specific time period, one they were in at that time. It is directly connected to the gift of having Jesus physically with them. A paraphrased version of this could be, “In the future, you are going to wish you could come back to just one of these days we are in now.”


  1. It was a reminder to them to enjoy the moment they were in because there would be a time when them would want to come back to it.

    I wonder if that is a word for us today? Could we hear the Lord challenge us to savor the moments we live in? Doesn’t life pass quickly? I see Jesus teaching the disciples an important lesson:

    Each moment of life you are in is a gift. Enjoy it.

  2. They were not to stress about His return.

It will be obvious to His own. There is no way your Father would leave you out. Don’t even give these reports recognition.

The interesting thing is that from this teaching, Jesus essentially says, “Be about what I am giving you to do on Earth. Don’t get caught up in hunting for my return.”

Why? Because we can rest in the reality that He is watching over us, and we have a task to do. We have a life to live, a Kingdom to extend.

This entire line of logic is rooted in relational trust. It is a trust that dispels fear.

We can live out His purposes in our lives without fear.

Consider the implications of that. What does it look like to live that secure in Him?

3. There is clearly a teaching in this text that was intended to help them, encourage them, strengthen them in their lives when Jesus was gone. We live in that day.

He was essentially prophesying to them:
“you are going to get discouraged, wishing it could be as it was. When this happens, here is what you need to focus on: The reality that I am going to return.”

Therefore, it is applicable to us. It becomes for us, a reminder of how to handle the difficulty and discouragement that we will face in our lives. We are to allow the fact that He is coming back to shape our view.

Discouragement is part of life. Jesus gives us a supernatural way to deal with it: Remember He is in control.

Luke 17:25

But first, the Son of Man must suffer terribly and be rejected by this generation.

The Cross is the beginning of the end days process.

We must remember that time is different in eternity. It doesn’t exist as we know it. The suffering of Jesus was the beginning of the season of grace on the earth. The Father has a process, an agenda. It will be accomplished.

If we live our lives with this perspective, we can rest, do our roles, and trust that He is in control. It actually allows me to enjoy each day as a gift.

Luke 17:27-31

When the Son of Man returns, the world will be like the people were in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came to destroy them all. And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building —until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns. On that day a person outside the house must not go into the house to pack. A person in the field must not return to town.

We can sense the time by watching the culture.

Noah’s day / Lot’s day: “enjoyed banquets / parties / weddings,” “people went about their daily business,”

There was no desire to focus beyond the moment.

We know the condition of the world in these days. The sin patterns of people had become so overwhelmingly out of control, that a system reboot was necessary. These reboots were grace.(discussion of the events of those days)

If we look at the days of Noah and Lot, we find two seasons in which the Lord gave a substantial time for repentance, where Noah and Lot communicated the message from the Lord to repent, but people ignored it, and instead, continued in what mattered to them. In this way, we can consider this season we live in as one where people are being given the opportunity to repent.

The need for the Gospel…
The central message of the gospel is, “God has dealt with your sin. Come have relationship with Him.” This is the cry of this season we live in. To the lost, to the world, our life cry is to be, “Heaven is at rest with you, through Him.”

What does it look like to live in a way that communicates that reality?

It should look relaxed, intentional, and focused. We smile, we love, we work hard…all for the opportunity to show people the truth that we know: God is not mad at you. He loves you and would love to walk through life with you.

If we go back to the statements Jesus made to the Pharisees, we see that what we are really doing is awakening the Kingdom of God that is in every person.

The impetus in this season is much more grave. There is no reboot coming. This is a, “Now or not at all,” season. Does that grip us? Does that challenge the way we live towards those He is trusting us with?

Luke 17:28

Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! Whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life save it.

This verse stands alone in the original text. It is a shift in focus. We were looking at the lost, but now we are challenged to look at those being saved. There is a way we are to live in this season. We are to stay focused on the vision / calling in front of us. We are to maintain purity, insuring that the level of mixture that was in Lot’s wife does not get into us. Why? Because her love for everything in the world caused her to miss the destiny God had for her, and her fear that the best was behind her killed her ability to move into the vision of God for her life.

That cannot be our story. We are to let the memory of that moment remind us of the possibility that it could happen to us, therefore, we must not become arrogant in our day and time. The pull of the world is real on us. There will be fear in moving into vision. Diligence to encountering the Presence of Jesus is the only surety.

The idea of, “clinging to life versus losing life,” is one of perspective. If we count this life as loss, then we live in it, as a gift, realizing two very important things:

  1. The pursuit of Life is not our primary goal.
  2. The “I better enjoy everything I can, cause I am not going to live forever,” perspective is wrong.

Making a mental shift, insuring that my eternal perspective trumps my earthly perspective is the key.

Luke 17:24-35

That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken away, and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.”

“Lord, where will this happen?” the disciples asked.
Jesus replied, “Just as the gather of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.”

What is coming is real. It is sure. It is final. People will be separated, lost, and the window to fix it will be over.

Can we hear the heart of a Father calling us to live in our day with that passion, His passion, to reach the unreached? To chase His vision for us without fear? To enjoy the gift of life, and allow that joy to communicate to the world around us?