Luke 17: 22-33; 22: 52-54; 23: 1, 20-25, 33, 34, 39-43
I want to speak about the days of the Son of man. I might read other passages earlier in Luke's gospel as we proceed. There was never a time like this in the earth’s history, when there was One here called the Son of man. For the young people, the Son of man is the Lord Jesus, and His life was made up of days. That thought came to me this morning in giving thanks for the emblems. The earth never saw anything like this before, the days in which Jesus went about, known as the Son of man. He has a kingdom and He is going to come in His kingdom. There is still His day to come, “thus shall the Son of man be in his day”, that is a day to come. The Son of man was here, and He moved amongst men and largely was despised. Luke tells us much about the days of the Son of man. I cannot go into it all but as you look through the pages of his gospel you will find that. I think he tells us more about the days of the Son of man, or the days of Jesus, than any other gospel writer. He makes this matter interesting, the days of the Son of man. The Son of man will come again, not in humiliation, but here He was a lowly Man, Jesus the Nazarene. He rose in the morning, and He listened with His ear to what His God would tell Him to do, “He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the instructed”, Isa 50: 4. His days were directed; every day He was in the liberty of sonship with His Father. Happy communion it was as He moved amongst men, taking account of the situation that man was in. He could compass what no one else could compass. He felt for man. The Lord Jesus as the Son of man was a Stranger. He was a Man of another kind, of another order. He was “the second man, out of heaven” 1 Cor 15: 47. He did not belong to Adam’s race. He was born of a woman, but she was the vehicle used to bring Him into this world. Man had no part in it.
Luke tells us about one of the days of the Son of man. In chapter 5 verse 17 it says, “And it came to pass on one of the days, the he was teaching, and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and out of Jerusalem; and the Lord’s power was there to heal them”. No matter what your standing in this world is, you need healing. There they were, Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, “and the Lord’s power was there to heal them”. They did not get the gain of it. It was one of the days of the Son of man, and they despised Him. There was a poor paralytic man, “And lo, men bringing upon a couch a man who was paralysed; and they sought to bring him in, and put him before him”, Jesus. “And not finding what way to bring him in” they went up on the housetop and opened the tiles and let him down, and he got the blessing, verses 19-24. The Lord says, “Days are coming, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man”, Luke 17: 22. Here they were. The Lord’s power was there to heal them, that was to heal the doctors of the law and the Pharisees, but they despised Him and this poor man got the blessing. He got blessing on one of the days of the Son of man; it is a sample day. What does he get? The Lord healed him physically, but also he forgave him his sins. In verse 20 He says, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee”, and in verses 24-26, “I say to thee, Arise, and take up thy little couch and go to thine house. And immediately standing up before them, having taken up that whereon he was laid, he departed to his house, glorifying God. And astonishment seized all, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day”. The Lord Jesus says, “that ye may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins”, v 24. For it had said, “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason in their minds, saying, Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who is able to forgive sins but God alone? But Jesus, knowing their reasonings, answering said to them, Why reason ye in your hearts? which is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?”, v 20-23. What was easier for the Lord to say, friend? It was easier for Him to say, “Rise up and walk” than to say, “Thy sins are forgiven thee”. Why? Because the Scriptures tell us that to forgive sins the Son of man was “made some little inferior to angels on account of the suffering of death”, Heb 2: 9. He had to go into death to forgive sins. That was one of the days of the Son of man.
There was another one. There are several in the book but I will not refer to them all. In Luke 8 the disciples were with Him in the boat, “And it came to pass on one of the days, that he entered into a ship, himself and his disciples; and he said to them, Let us pass over to the other side of the lake … And as they sailed, he fell asleep; and a sudden squall of wind came down on the lake, and they were filled with water, and were in danger; and coming to him they woke him up, saying, Master, master, we perish. But he, rising up, rebuked the wind and the raging of the water; and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said to them, Where is your faith? And, being afraid, they were astonished, saying to one another, Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”, v 22-25. The Son of man, a demonstration of His power, “Who then is this?” Have you and I got respect for the Son of man? There was no time like this on the earth, with this blessed Person, known as the Son of man, taking account of man in all his needs. A lonely Man, taking account of man, going around Galilee and Judaea. Somebody said that He never wrote a book, yet He is remembered by millions who have come to Him as their Saviour, the Son of man. Now it says here, “Days are coming, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and shall not see it”. That would be on account of His crucifixion. They cut Him off. Then it says, “And they will say to you, Lo here, or Lo there; go not, nor follow them. For as the lightning shines which lightens from one end under heaven to the other end under heaven, thus shall the Son of man be in his day.” When is that going to take place? Scripture is very interesting. There have already been two thousand years between the cutting off and the coming again of the Son of man. I was struck in reading Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me, because Jehovah hath anointed me to announce glad tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of Jehovah, and the day of vengeance of our God”, chap 61: 2. “To proclaim the acceptable year of Jehovah”, and then there is a comma, “and the day of vengeance of our God”. There have been already two thousand years between those statements. The Lord stopped when He preached the gospel as given in chapter 4 of Luke’s gospel at “to preach the acceptable year of the Lord”, v 19. It is very remarkable, because if you notice the construction of this passage, there is a semi-colon before it and a semi-colon after “our God”; but “the acceptable year of Jehovah,” “and the day of vengeance of our God” are only separated by a comma. But divine Persons had in mind about two thousand years of grace, “the acceptable year of the Lord”. The Lord Jesus is saying here, 'The day of the Son of man is coming'. It is a future day. So there was a day when He was here, one of the days of the Son of man when He was available to mankind, when He was still in flesh and blood condition, going about. The works of power of the age to come were taking place. Things that will take place in the millennial day, you might say, were taking place and persons were being healed. The man with the withered hand was healed, the paralytic man was healed. Persons were healed and demons were cast out of them. Chapter 8 of this gospel brings out certain women who followed him; they had been healed, v 2. What a time it was! It says, “And it came to pass afterwards that he went through the country city by city, and village by village, preaching and announcing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with him, and certain women who had been healed of wicked spirits and infirmities, Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered to him of their substance. And a great crowd coming together ...”, Luke 8: 1-4. These were the days of the Son of man.
I want to speak about the Lord’s sufferings before I come back to speak of the matters that come up in this section in chapter 17. A day came when the Lord Jesus says in chapter 22, “When I was day by day with you in the temple ye did not stretch out your hands against me; but this is your hour and the power of darkness”. You recall that when He preached the gospel in Luke 4 in Nazareth they were going to take Him and cast Him over the brow of the hill on which their city was placed, but He walked through their midst and they could not take Him, v 30. But here the Son of man is taken; the Ark goes into captivity, to use an Old Testament expression. He says, “but this is your hour and the power of darkness”. It was their hour and the power of darkness, but it was God‘s hour too. The Son of man, made a little lower than angels on account of the suffering of death, was going into death. I want you to consider the submission of Christ. It says, “And having laid hold on him, they led him away, and they led him into the house of the high priest”. There was no resistance. Man’s malicious ways were going to work out God’s thoughts and God’s ways. The Son of man was going into death. It says, “And the whole multitude of them, rising up, led him to Pilate”, another step in the humiliation of the Son of man. What a Person He is! The Son of man whom “thou visitest”, Ps 8: 4. God took account of the Son of man every day. This was the final day. It says in verse 66, “And when it was day”. God is with Him. “And the whole multitude of them, rising up, led him to Pilate”. Then you get that section where Pilate realised He was innocent; He was not guilty. Yet he assented to the desire to crucify Christ, crucify the Son of man. It says they would desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, but their opportunity on one of those days had gone. What a time it was, the life of Jesus here. It had never been seen before and would never, in that sense, be seen again. These persons, the Pharisees and the priesthood of Israel, were envious of the Lord Jesus. But He is submissive. So Pilate delivers Him up to their will. Their will was going to accomplish what God had in mind, but they will be held responsible for it. “They led him away” (v 26), and they laid hold of a Cyrenian to carry His cross. The Lord Jesus says, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. What were they doing? This blessed Person was going forward to take up the matter of sins. The Son of man must suffer. That is what He says in chapter 17, before the day comes when He comes again, “But first he must suffer many things and be rejected of this generation”, v 25. He suffered and was rejected of this generation. What a spirit was there in the Lord Jesus, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. They sneered at Him, they mocked Him, but one man laid hold of his opportunity. I want to say that, lay hold of your opportunity today. There is an opportunity, an opportunity to lay hold of Christ as your Saviour. It is an opportunity to put matters right with God. One man laid hold of his opportunity. One man knew that he was dying. He was on a cross beside Jesus. There were two malefactors and one rebuked Him. They both reproached Him at one point; the other gospels tell us that, they both reproached Him. I really value Luke’s gospel for this. He brings in what the others do not bring in, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. I think that broke this man down - that is my personal impression. When he heard the Lord Jesus say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”, he realised there was another kind of Man here. He laid hold of his opportunity. Lay hold of your opportunity to put matters right with the Lord. Lay hold of Him now. This man laid hold of Him and he says, “Remember me, Lord, when thou comest in thy kingdom”. Where did he get that from? You wonder about it. The malefactor, he was a robber and a murderer possibly too, and he says, “we indeed justly, for we receive the just recompense of what we have done; but this man has done nothing amiss”. He must have been convicted, I think, by the Lord’s statement. No other person on a cross would ever have said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”, because they were responsible for putting Him there. This man had light, and he says, “this man has done nothing amiss. And he said to Jesus, Remember me, Lord, when thou comest in thy kingdom. And Jesus said to him … To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise”. The Lord can cause you to receive light at any time. I think the confession “this man has done nothing amiss” made way for God to give this man light in the last moments of his life here of the fact that there was another kingdom coming. The Son of man was going to come in His kingdom and he wanted to be with Him. If you want to be with the Lord Jesus in His coming kingdom you have to accept Him as your Saviour, lay hold of your opportunity.
I want to show you from chapter 17 that God has always considered for man with what you would call grace. “And as it took place in the days of Noe, thus also shall it be in the days of the Son of man: they ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them”. Is that not the world that we live in? Are you going on with that world? Am I going to go on with that world and disregarding the gospel? The gospel is going forth in the world. It concerns the Son of man. It concerns the One who said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. It concerns the One who bore the awful judgement of God on the cross, the One who died, the One who was buried and raised again. But men go on. They did it in Noah’s day. Noah built his ark. He laid the keel, built the sides, and finished it. He built that ark every day. He built it for a hundred and twenty years and he preached righteousness, 2 Pet 2: 5. He told them he was building it for a place of salvation that they could have come into, and they laughed and they mocked at him till the day the door was shut; then it was hopeless. The flood came and destroyed all of them. Eight souls were saved. Think of that, eight souls out of a whole world of men and women. How many there were we do not know, but there was a population on the earth that was all destroyed, yet God gave every one of them the opportunity to listen to Noah and his preaching. He has given us the opportunity to listen to the gospel, to accept Christ as our Saviour. When He comes again the gospel is finished,
Then grace no more will say
“Yet there is room!”
Then again, the Lord says, “in the days of Lot” - Lot lived in Abraham’s day. He gave up his pastoral, nomadic life to become a magistrate in the city of Sodom, and he sat in the gate of Sodom and had influence there. God was concerned about the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. He heard about it in heaven. The scripture speaks about certain sins rising up to God in heaven in the Revelation (chap 18: 5), but He says, “I will go down now, and see”, Gen 18: 21. God came down in Christ to see the state of things in the world. The day of grace still continues. He came down in Lot’s day. And He went to see the city of Sodom, and Abraham interceded for that city because he knew Lot was there, but the people would not listen. Will you listen? Men and women around us do not listen; sometimes they do not. All the signs in this country at the present time are that man has little room for anything of God in his life. It is the character of things at the present time. The Lord says, “they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded”; it all went on till on “the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven, and destroyed all of them: after this manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed”. What a warning! The world is going to go on the way it is. There is not going to be any dramatic intervention from the divine side to show the Lord is about to come. The secret of the rapture is in the heart of believers. Men and governments will endeavour to explain away the rapture once it takes place. Thereafter is the public appearing of the Lord Jesus, and what follows then is judgement. Thank God for the day of grace, but be warned. I say to you again, how fair God is. He warns persons. He warned them in the day of Noah. What a world it was, a world of violence and corruption. The angels joined up with mankind. There were heroes and giants in those days. God had to remove them. But there was an opportunity for persons to listen to Noah’s preaching. In the days of Lot, God went down into Sodom and He laid hold of Lot and extricated him, but all those who remained perished, Gen 19: 16, 25. You do not want to perish, do you? God has come down in Christ, which is far greater than what He did in Abraham’s day. “That whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal”, John 3: 16. God has in mind another sphere of life for every man. He “desires that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”, 1 Tim 2: 4. And then He says in Luke 17, “Remember the wife of Lot”. Would you look back? Are you going to look back, back to the world you have been delivered from? She looked back to Sodom and became a pillar of salt, a testimony to the fact that her heart was there, Gen 19: 26. She had been taken out but her heart was there, “Remember the wife of Lot”. Then He says, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose it shall preserve it”. That is a conundrum. It means that the believer who loses his life for Christ’s sake shall save it. If you lose your life in this world for Christ’s sake, that is, that you accept the way of reproach, identification with the lowly Nazarene, accept Him as your Saviour, you will not be of much account in this world, but you will be preserved for another world. Whereas if you go on with this world, and do not heed the gospel, “whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it”; the day will come when grace no more will say, 'Yet there is room!'.
May the Lord attract every heart here to lay hold of Him as their Saviour, remembering the patience of God. For two thousand years He has gone on. “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some account of delay, but is longsuffering” (2 Pet 3: 9), desiring that men should be saved. That is His object. I thank God for that. The heart of the believer is desirous of Christ to come, awaiting the coming of the Son of man, no longer the lowly Nazarene but coming in the clouds with His saints, coming with His saints, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Revelation 19: 14 brings that out. That is the One who will come, “the Son of man coming ... with power and great glory”, (Matt 24: 30) to take up the reins of government, held for that blessed Man who stood before Pilate. Pilate was afraid. He knew there was a personality there that was greater than what he could see but he yielded, and is responsible for yielding, to the claims of those who desired the crucifixion of Christ. In the ways of God and the wisdom of God the Son of man had to go that way although men are responsible for what they did to Him. But the day of the Son of man is coming. The days of the Son of man as He was on earth are finished. “As the lightning shines which lightens from one end under heaven to the other end under heaven, thus shall the Son of man be in his day”. There will be no doubt regarding His coming.
May the Lord bless the word to each soul here. For His Name’s sake.
11th February 2007