Luke 17:26-33

Good morning and welcome to Great Commission Church. 

If you are a guest here today, my name is Don McKenzie. 

I’m part of the church staff and we are delighted you are here today. 

Our pastor, Trevor Davis, is out of town and will be back next week. 

Today we are continuing our verse-by-verse study of the Gospel of Luke. 

Before we jump into our passage today, what are the 3 shortest verses in the Bible – anyone want to suggest one? 

[Get suggestions] 

Okay, here they are: 

Jesus wept - John 11:35 

Rejoice always. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16 

Remember Lot’s wife. - Luke 17:32 

The 3rd shortest verse in the Bible – Luke 17:32 - is in our text and it is the title of the message. 


Our goal this morning is to understand how Jesus ends up saying this and why He said: REMEMBER LOT’S Wife. 

In our passage today, Jesus answers at least 3 important questions about His 2nd Coming. 

Here they are: 

What will it be like here on earth before Jesus returns? 

What will happen when Jesus returns? 

Will those who have believed in Jesus be in any danger when He returns? 

Okay, first question, Lord Jesus, “What will it be like here on earth before You return?” 

His answer begins in Luke 17:26 

26    "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 

First, remember that the phrase, Son of Man, is a phrase Jesus used to describe himself. 

So, in the context, Jesus is talking to His disciples and says, the days of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah. 

Which makes me ask, “What are the days of the Son of Man?” 

They are the days from the time Jesus ascended until the day He returns. 

This will become clear as we work through these verses. 

Jesus said the days before He returns will be like the days of Noah. 

So, consider this verse about the days of Noah in Genesis 6:5 

5    Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 

Since the days of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah, my first reaction was that before Jesus returns, this world will be filled with evil and wickedness – just like in Noah’s days. 

And then Jesus answers the question with a curve ball in verse 27. 

27    "They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 


They ate, drank and got married? 

Where is all the perversion, all the evil, all the wickedness that God so abhors? 

And then Jesus does it again in verse 28: 

28    "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 

The days of our Lord Jesus will also be like the days of Lot. 

The activities of eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting and building are not what I think of when I think of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. 

Lot lived in a wicked city called Sodom with very wicked people. 

It was dominated by aggressive, homosexual behavior. 

Here is God’s commentary on Sodom in Genesis 13:13 

13    But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. 

Again, Jesus seems to ignore the overt wicked behavior and in verse 28, He says they also had normal, everyday lives filled with normal everyday activities. 

28    "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;i 

What does Jesus mean by focusing, not on their outward sinfulness, but on their normal, everyday lives? 

That question is best answered as we continue through this text so let’s look at Question #2. 

2.    What will happen when Jesus returns? 

Look back at verse 27 regarding Noah’s days because this is where Jesus starts answering this question. 

27    "They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 

Now look at verse 29: 

29    "but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 

And thus, we get the phrase, a fire and brimstone preacher. 

And then we have verse 30: 

Luke 17:30 

30    "Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 

Jesus said, “Even so” – just like Noah and just like Lot – so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 

Let me show you something that helped me better understand how Jesus was using these comparisons with Noah and Lot. 

I’d like you to notice how the Lord Jesus uses the difference between days, plural and a day, singular. 

26  in the days of Noah    27  until the day that Noah entered the ark 

28  in the days of Lot    29  on the day that Lot went out of Sodom 

The days, plural, speak of the time prior to the sudden, unexpected cataclysmic judgment of God which happens on the day, singular. 

Jesus skillfully does the same thing with His days and His day. 

26  in the days of Noah    27  until the day that Noah entered 

28  in the days of Lot    29  on the day that Lot went out 

26  days of the Son of Man    30  in the day when the Son of Man 

So, what time-period are we living in right now? 

We are living in the days, plural, of the Son of Man – the Days of Jesus Christ. 

What are these days? 

These are the days preceding THE day, singular, when Jesus actually returns and is revealed. 

The days, plural, are characterized by normal, necessary human activities – eating, drinking, marrying, kids, grandkids, working, business, building. 

And then suddenly THE day happens – just like THE day happened with Noah and Lot. 

Luke 17:30 

30    "Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 

So, what will happen when Jesus returns? 

Although He doesn’t actually say it in this verse, He clearly leaves it ominously hanging in the air and lets the reality of what He is saying hove over the moment. 

Like the flood, like the fire and brimstone from heaven, Jesus will return and be revealed from heaven with sudden, powerful, unstoppable judgment. 

Like the day of Noah and Lot, Jesus will destroy them all. 

And who will he destroy? 

ALL THOSE eating, drinking, marrying and working. 

See how that needs to settle for a minute to grasp the heaviness – the gravity – even the confusion of what Jesus is saying here? 

Is Jesus going to destroy every single living human being when He returns because doesn’t everyone basically eat, drink, marry and work? 

Well, did the Lord destroy Noah and his family when the flood came? 

No, because they believed God and lived their lives preparing so they were ready when the promise of God came. 

Were Lot and his two daughters destroyed? 

No, because they believed the promise of God, left Sodom and went to the city of safety. 

Everyone ELSE was destroyed. 

So, WHAT IS Jesus saying about eating, drinking, marrying and working? 

The Apostle Paul summarized this in 1 Corinthians 10:31: 

31    Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 

Jesus is telling us most people do not live for the glory of God. 

They live for themselves. 

People will be focused on their lives, their families, their futures, their dreams, their money, their businesses and their jobs. 

And when Jesus suddenly and unexpectedly returns, He will destroy all of those who are ignoring Him. 

What will happen when Jesus returns? 

Paul describes it like this in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1: 

1 Thessalonians 1:7-10 

7    …when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 

8     in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

9     These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 

10     when He comes, in that Day…. 

It’s going to be an awful day for all those who see no beauty, no value, no greatness in our Lord Jesus. 

They live life with their heads down and we must live with our eyes up. 

But, what about us who have our eyes up? 

Lord, what about us who have believed in Jesus? 

Well, that leads us to our 3rd question: 

Will those who have believed in Jesus be in any danger when He returns? 

Lord Jesus, you WILL save us like you did Noah and his family, right? 

We will be rescued from your awful judgment, like Lot and his family, right? 

Jesus’ starts His answer in verse 31. 

Luke 17:31 

31    "In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 

Jesus warns His disciples there are two choices in life. 

He illustrates this in verse 31 with 2 unnamed people - one is on his housetop, and one is out working in the field. 

It helps to know that houses in Israel had flat roofs, and many would have a staircase on the side of the house to access to the roof. 

So, the housetop would be like an open-air second floor to their house. 

The man on the rooftop and the man in the field each have their goods, their valuables, their important possessions stored inside their house. 

The contrast is about how they react on the day Jesus returns. 

On that day, will they choose their worldly goods first – or will they choose the Lord Jesus first? 

What does the Lord Jesus want His disciples to choose? 

He wants them to choose Him first. 

He tells the man on the housetop, don’t come down to get your goods, and he tells the man in the field to not turn back – to turn back to his house to get his valuables. 

Jesus is not warning His enemies here – He already said He is going to destroy them when He returns. 

Here, He is warning His disciples to not turn back. 

See, you can’t turn back unless you have first turned to. 

Jesus is telling his followers – who turned to Him from their old way of  
life – where they ate and drank and worked just for themselves - He is warning them to not turn away from Him and go back to life without Him. 

Remember, Jesus is answering the question: 

3. Will those who have believed in Jesus be in any danger when He returns? 

And do you see the answer? 

The answer is Yes, you are in danger if you turn back, because I will destroy you. 

Or the answer is No, you are not in any danger at all because you turned to Me and have not turned back. 

Jesus is warning His disciples of the one thing – the only thing that could bring them under His everlasting judgment instead of His everlasting saving grace. 

His warning is – DON’T TURN BACK. 

What is a warning? 

A warning from God is a promise that something bad will happen if you disobey Him. 

Do you know what makes a warning effective, helpful and even life-changing? 

Well, let me illustrate this. 

A mother tells her child – if you do that one more time, I’m going to spank you. 

So, what does the child do? 

He does it one more time and then, what does the mother do? 

She says, “If you do that one more time, I promise and I’m going to spank you and it’s going to hurt.” 

What does the child do? 

He does it one more time. 

Then the mother says, “Okay, this is the last time I’m going to tell you.” 

What then does the child do? 

Well, this child knows that when mom says, this is the last time – she really means it, so he stops what he’s doing. 

She gave him 3 warnings – which one was effective, helpful and even life-changing? 

Only the third one and why? 

On the third warning, he believed her, so he stopped because he didn’t want a spanking that was really going to hurt. 

Jesus is not this mamma. 

He does not issue fake or empty warnings. 

In our text, Jesus has issued a real warning about what will really happen if you turn back. 

He is telling us that is it possible, for someone who has turned to the  
Lord Jesus in faith, to turn back to this world. 

If you turn back after having turned to – Jesus will destroy you when He returns. 

This warning is ONLY for those who think they believe in the Lord Jesus. 

Now, to prove His point, that it is possible for those who have believed in Him – to turn back, Jesus gives us the 3rd shortest verse in the Bible – verse 32: 

32    Remember Lot’s wife. 

Jesus mentioned Lot earlier. 

He lived in Sodom with his wife and 2 daughters. 

The Lord sent angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and all the other surrounding towns. 

These angels were under orders that they could not destroy Sodom until they first escorted to safety, Lot and any of his family members who wanted to go. 

So, Lot, his wife and their 2 daughters left the city of Sodom while everyone else just ate, drank and worked. 

BUT they left Sodom and as they walked and walked toward the city of safety, Lot’s wife began to waiver. 

Her heart’s desire began to take control of her, and she longed to go back to what she loved – her life in Sodom. 

So, guess what she did? 

She turned back to Sodom. 

At the last minute, her true love was revealed, and she followed her desires. 

She stopped caring about the warning of God’s pending judgment and she turned away from safety and turned back to Sodom. 

Let’s read what happened to Lot’s wife since Jesus told us this was something we are to remember. 

Genesis 19:26 

26    But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 

Because of Jesus’ commentary about Lot’s wife, it seems clear she did not just glance over her shoulder to look back. 

She did exactly what Jesus warned believers NOT to do – she literally turned back. 

At first, she believed God, she left the city of destruction and was walking in the right direction. 

She was so close to complete safety – so close to being delivered from destruction but she stopped along the way and longed for her old life, and she turned back. 

She turned back into judgment as the fire and brimstone rained down and instantly petrified her body into some type of salty material. 

Here is Jesus’ point: Those who are saved and on their journey to final safety, can turn back and lose it all. 

Lot’s unnamed wife became the Old Testament poster child of a false conversion – of falling away – of apostacy – of someone who believed God and then drifted away and then turned back and then was destroyed by God. 

Jesus said of Judas in Mark 14:21 

21    “…woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born."ii 

Here is how Jesus finishes His answer about whether believers are in any danger at His return – verse 33: 

33    "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 

Jesus said this type of sentence at different times in His ministry. 

Here is how He said it in Mark 8:35 

35    "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 

Whoever seeks to save his life means to save his life on earth – this life of focusing on ourselves, and just eating, drinking, working and living. 

That person will lose this life and lose a future life filled with the joy of the Lord. 

What about those who spend their time focusing on the Lord Jesus – what about those who spend their money advancing the gospel of Jesus – aren’t they just wasting their lives and losing all that this life has to offer? 

No, not at all. 

They are saving their life both now and forever. 

I think most of us get what Jesus is saying here and it should make us wonder if we are still giving our lives over to Him as our greatest treasure – our greatest delight - our greatest love. 

Well, according to Jesus – we should be concerned – very concerned and that is why He told us to remember Lot’s wife. 

Over the years, I have seen a beloved pastor, Bible college graduates and countless church members fall away and turn back. 

In my past, I have drifted away from the Lord, and it looked to many that I had turned back to the world – and in a sense I did. 

But the Lord rescued me and pulled me back. 

What’s important is how you are doing right now because if Jesus returned right now – and He could – will He find you running to Him or consumed with the things of this world? 

Look at the verse again – what drives a person to focus on themselves or to focus on the Lord Jesus? 

It says, For whoever – what? 

DESIRES and that is the key Jesus is giving us. 

We are controlled by our desires. 

We follow what we want, and we want what we think will satisfy us the most. 

When we first believed in Jesus, it was because He became far better than the empty promises of the world. 

This is the heart of the issue. 

You turn toward what you think is better than what you are turning from. 

Do you get that? 

God made us to be drawn to what we think will bring us the most satisfaction, the most joy, the most pleasure. 

We are drawn to what we think is most beautiful, interesting and captivating. 

As sinners, we falsely think sin, money and worldly pleasures are the most fulfilling and satisfying thing available – so we chase after them. 

And then a heavenly miracle happens, and a person hears about Jesus dying for their sins and they hear the offer to trust Him and be accepted and forgiven by Him. 

That miracles brings a belief that Jesus is far, far better and we want better. 

What we desire most will determine the choices we make. 

The choices we make reveal what we desire the most. 

At some point, your desires can start to change back. 

Old desires begin to stir in us and call to us and we think about how satisfying or happy or fun that activity was or would be. 

Slowly or even suddenly, the old way seems better than the dry spell you are in with the Lord – better than the sadness you feel – better than the emptiness or loneliness, tiredness, anger, bitterness, joylessness you may feel and you desire something better – and it’s just no longer Jesus. 

You’ve tried, but Jesus is not as interesting anymore and you start filling your life with more interesting things in THIS life. 

Thoughts of Jesus are not as joyful and fulfilling as they once were. 

I need something more – something more than Jesus. 

When that happens in your soul – and it has and will happen to all of us – remember Lot’s wife. 

Remember Jesus’ warning to not turn back. 

But Lord – what am I to do? 

I can’t just snap my fingers and change my desires? 

You are right – we can’t just change our deepest desires. 

So, what do we do? 

Here are 3 things: 

First, hear Jesus’ warning and let His warning do a work in you. 

Jesus gave this warning because He loves us and knows that warnings help to avoid disaster. 

If His warning is a concern to you – great – it’s working!! 

Second, pray and pray and pray asking the Lord to change your desires and open your heart to see the greatness of Jesus – to see it more than you see it now. 

Third, study and learn more about Jesus. 

He is the only person who has ever lived that is completely lovely and completely perfect and beautiful, who is truly satisfying and joy filling. 

If you were to study me – you would find disappointing failures, awful sins, mangled emotions and hopelessness. 

Without Jesus, I’m just another sinner bound for hell. 

But not so with Jesus. 

If you take the time to peer into the person of Jesus – you will find yourself looking into an infinite vortex of all the fascinating character qualities of God all beautifully blended into one person. 

So, how do you get more life-changing desire for God? 

Hear the warning of Jesus, pray and pray and ask Him to give you new desires while you read the Scriptures to learn more and more about Him. 

God loves to answer that prayer. 

This is how the Lord Jesus has been renewing my heart and increasing my desires for Him and my joy in Him. 

Seek the Jesus in the Bible and enjoy the best God has to offer.  

Seek the best this world has to offer, and you will lose your life forever in hell. 

May our Lord help us to see and enjoy Him who is far, far better.