The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
 "One will be taken and the other left"

Scripture:  Luke 17:26-37

26 As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man.  27 They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed  them all. 28 Likewise as it was in the days of Lot -- they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all -- 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot's wife. 33 Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left." 37 And they said to him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."

Meditation: What can nature teach us about the judgments of God? Jesus quoted a familiar proverb to his audience: Where the body is, there the eagles (or vultures) will be gathered together. Eagles, like vultures, are attracted to carrion.  The Book of Job describes the eagle spying out its prey from afar (Job 39:29).  What's the point of this analogy?  It's  inevitable that a thing will happen when the necessary conditions are fulfilled.  The return of the Lord is certain, but the time is unknown. The Lord's judgment comes swiftly and often unexpectedly.  Jesus warns his listeners to not be caught off guard when that day arrives. It will surely come in God's good time!

What does Jesus mean when he says that one will be taken and another left? Intimacy with a godly person does not guarantee that one will enter heaven on the day of judgment.  Some may try to pass off personal responsibility to someone else, such as spouse, kin, or friend.  God's judges each person individually according to how they have lived their life and  responded to his grace.  No one can discharge his or her duty by proxy or association.  The good news is that God gives grace, security, and refuge to those who seek him with faith and contrition.  He gives us the grace to know him personally and to accept his lordship over our lives.  And he gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to live each day for his kingdom, and the readiness to receive him when he returns.  God's judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source of all truth, beauty, goodness, love and everlasting life. The people in Noah's time ignored the Lord's warning of judgment. They missed the boat, literally! Whose boat are you taking -- the world's boat to success and happiness or God's boat to heaven and bliss with him? Those whose hope is firmly anchored in heaven will not be disappointed when God's judgment comes. They rejoice even now that they will see the Lord in his glory! Is your hope firmly placed in God and his kingdom?

"Lord Jesus Christ , you are my hope and salvation.  Help me to never lose sight of the goal of heaven and give me fresh joy and zeal to live each day for your kingdom."

Go to | Gospel of Luke | Parables of Jesus | Daily Reading & Meditation Index |
 (c)1999, 2000 Don Schwager