ON His way to Jerusalem, our Lord was met by ten lepers beseeching Him for mercy. He simply told them to go and show themselves to the priests as cleansed persons, and we read that “as they went, they were cleansed.” What a lesson in faith! They could have said, “What? Go to the priests as though we are healed! We are not going to witness to what we don’t have!” But faith simply took Jesus at His word, and as they walked by faith the wonder was wrought. We demand that we see before we believe. Faith steps out, looking no better and feeling no better, but believing that He is faithful who promised. As we go, we are cleansed.
Only one of the ten returned to give thanks, but he was rewarded by being made whole not only in body but entirely! The entire story (Luke 17:11-19) sets forth the blessing of God when we simply obey like Naaman—who went to wash in the Jordan though he felt no better, and it looked like a fool’s errand.
In the remaining verses of this chapter, the Pharisees demand to know when the kingdom of God would come. Jesus replies that the kingdom is “in the midst” of them. He did not mean that it was within those self-righteous Pharisees, but that in Himself the kingdom was among them—but they refused it. During the present Church age the kingdom is a spiritual matter and not outward, but when the Lord returns to reign it will be an outward matter, visible to all. The Bible speaks of that day and says it will be as it was “in the days of Noah.” We are living in such a time now. Men are eating and drinking and marrying wives and buying and selling and planting and building. They are indifferent to the Lord’s return; and even professing Christians ask, “Where are the signs of His coming?”
But He will come. Many, like Lot’s wife, will be looking back upon the city of Sodom. In verses 26 and following, there may be a reference first of all to the fall of Jerusalem… but that was a type of the Lord’s return. Our Lord’s strange statement: “Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together,” has its primary application in the Roman soldiers who wrought God’s vengeance upon Jerusalem… but broadly it means, “Wherever there is sin and national putrefaction, there will the avenging forces fall in judgment.” This carnage will reach its climax at Armageddon, the last great battle.