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Luke  ◦   Chapter 17

1Jesus told his interns: "Things that lead people to deviate from God's design for life will occur in this world, but sorrow and pain will be the portion for those through whom the deviations come.2It is better to drown in the sea with a heavy stone tied around one's neck than to lead a person with childlike trust to deviate from God's design for life.3So stay alert. If someone you love — like your own family member — deviates from God’s design, then go to them and explain it, seeking to bring them back into harmony with God’s design for life. If they are sorrowful and turn back, then be reconciled to them and forgive them.4If they act selfishly toward you seven times in a day, and seven times come back to you and say, ‘I was wrong. It’s selfishness in my heart. I hate being this way. I’m sorry. Please forgive me!’ — then forgive them."

5The interns said to the Lord, "Increase our confidence and trust in you!"

6He replied, "If you had the confidence in your purpose for me that a mustard seed has in its purpose, then — when it is in harmony with my purpose — you could say to the mulberry tree, 'Pull yourself up and go and grow in the sea,' and it would happen.

7"Suppose one of you had a servant whose purpose it was to serve you. When he comes in after working all day plowing your field or tending your sheep, do you deny him the privilege of serving you by waiting on him?8Would you not rather grant him the joy of service and say, 'Prepare supper, change clothes, and serve dinner; and when that is done, then you may eat and drink'?9Would you praise the servant for fulfilling his purpose and doing as instructed?10So it is with you: When you have fulfilled your purpose and followed your instructions, say, 'It has been a privilege to serve; we have fulfilled our purpose.' "

11Heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus traveled the border between Samaria and Galilee.12As he was entering one village, ten lepers came to him. They stayed a respectable distance away13and shouted, "Lord Jesus, have mercy on us!"

14When he saw them, he smiled and said, "Go to the priests and let them examine you." And as they went, they were healed.

15One of the ten, after he was healed, came back shouting praises to God.16He fell down at Jesus' feet and thanked him profusely; he was a Samaritan.

17Jesus said, "Weren't ten lepers cured? What happened to the other nine?18Did no one return to give thanks to God except this foreigner — the only one not raised in church?"19Then he told him, "Get up and go; you trusted me, and that is why you are healed."

20Once one of the theologians of the Pharisee sect asked Jesus when God's kingdom would come, and Jesus said, "God's kingdom of love does not come by calculating prophetic dates or careful observance of rules,21nor will it be found in any specific geographic location, because God's kingdom of love is the principle upon which life exists and is written upon your hearts and minds."

22Jesus turned to his interns and said: "The time will soon be here when you will long for these days we have spent together, but they will be gone.23If people tell you, 'Jesus is here!' or 'He's over there!' don't believe it and don't follow them.24For my return will be impossible to miss: it won't be some secret thing, but will be like lightening blazing across the entire sky.25But first, I must complete my mission here; I must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

26"The conditions on earth when I return in glory will be like it was in the time of Noah:27People were caught up in their routines, focused on themselves, working to put food and drink on the table, marrying and planning for their families' future, right up until Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and put them all in the grave.

28"It was the same in Lot's day; People were consumed with self-gratification, partying, making money, and building estates.29But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire came out of heaven and destroyed them all.

30"Sadly, the condition of people on earth will be like this, absorbed with self, on the day the Son of Man is revealed.31On that day, don't let anything tie your hearts to this world of sin and selfishness. Be ready to let it all go: no matter where you are, don't turn back for your favorite possessions.32Remember Lot's wife: her body did leave the city, but her heart did not.33Whoever holds to the survival-of-the-fittest principle and seeks to save their life, hasn't been healed and will lose it, but whoever, having taken the Remedy, dies to self, will be healed and live eternally.34The truth is, on that night two people will be in one bed, one will have taken the Remedy and be ready to go to heaven; the other, having rejected the Remedy, won't.35Two women will be working at the mill; one will have taken the Remedy and be ready to go to heaven; the other, having rejected the Remedy, won't.36Two men will be working in the field; one will have taken the Remedy and be ready to go to heaven; the other, having rejected the Remedy, won't."

37"Where will we find you, Lord?" they asked. He said, "You can be certain you will not find the Son of Man where people seek to speak with the dead. Think of vultures eating corpses, for that is what's happening there."