Luke 17:33
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
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(33) Whosoever shall seek to save his life.—The better MSS. give a word which is rendered elsewhere by “purchase” (Acts 20:28; 1Timothy 3:13), and perhaps always suggests, as the other word for “save” does not suggest, the idea of some transaction of the kind. So here, the man must purchase, as it were, his lower life at the price of the higher, and he will be a loser by the bargain.

Shall preserve it.—Here, again, the English verb is weak. Better, shall give life to it. The same Greek word occurs in the better MSS. of 1Timothy 6:13, and is there rendered by “quicken,” and in its passive form in Acts 7:49, where it should be translated preserved alive, and this is clearly the meaning here. The man who is content to risk his natural life shall gain a life of a higher spiritual order.

Luke 17:33-37. Whosoever shall seek to save his life, shall lose it — The sense of this and the following verses is, Yet, as great as the danger will be, do not seek to save your lives by violating your consciences; if you do, you will surely lose them; whereas, if you should lose them for my sake, you shall be repaid with life everlasting. But the most probable way of preserving them now is to be always ready to give them up: a peculiar providence shall then watch over you, and put a difference between you and other men. Two men shall be in one bed, &c. — See on Matthew 24:40-41. The minds of your enemies shall be so overruled by God, that, in cases where two persons are equally in their power, one of them shall be carried off, and the other left to make his escape. And they said, Where, Lord, shall all these things happen? And he said, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered — As eagles find out, and gather round a carcass, so, wherever wicked men are, the judgments of God will pursue them; and particularly in whatever part of the land any number of the unbelieving Jews are, there will the Romans, the executioners of the divine vengeance upon this nation, be gathered together to destroy them. The expression is proverbial, and will appear to have been beautifully applied, when it is remembered, that the Romans bore in their standards the figure of an eagle; and that a certain kind of eagle, called περκνοπτερων, [black winged] mentioned by Aristotle, Hist. Ani., Luke 9:32, is found to feed on carcasses. — Macknight.

17:20-37 The kingdom of God was among the Jews, or rather within some of them. It was a spiritual kingdom, set up in the heart by the power of Divine grace. Observe how it had been with sinners formerly, and in what state the judgments of God, which they had been warned of, found them. Here is shown what a dreadful surprise this destruction will be to the secure and sensual. Thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. When Christ came to destroy the Jewish nation by the Roman armies, that nation was found in such a state of false security as is here spoken of. In like manner, when Jesus Christ shall come to judge the world, sinners will be found altogether regardless; for in like manner the sinners of every age go on securely in their evil ways, and remember not their latter end. But wherever the wicked are, who are marked for eternal ruin, they shall be found by the judgments of God.See the notes at Matthew 10:39. 33. Whosoever, &c.—(See on [1687]Lu 9:23-27). That is, whosoever, in disobedience to my command, shall use arts to preserve his life, shall lose it; and whosoever, at my command, shall be ready to lose it, shall preserve it, or if he loseth his breath, he shall preserve his soul. See Poole on "Matthew 10:39", See Poole on "Matthew 16:25", See Poole on "Mark 8:35".

Whosoever shall seek to save his life,.... By fleeing to some strong hold, or by continuing in the metropolis, and strongest city in the nation, Jerusalem:

shall lose it: there he will be in the greatest danger:

and whosoever shall lose his life; or expose it to danger, by fleeing to the mountains, or going to Pella, a small town beyond Jordan, of no strength, and where there might be thought no security;

shall preserve it; he shall be safe; See Gill on Matthew 16:25.

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall {e} preserve it.

(e) That is, will save it, as Matthew expounds it: for the life that is spoken of here is everlasting salvation.

33. Whosoever shall seek to save his life] See the same utterance, with slight verbal alterations, in Luke 9:24; John 12:25. St Paul’s high confidence as to the issue of his own apparently ruined and defeated life, furnishes us with a beautiful comment, 2 Timothy 4:6-8. For ‘to save’ (sosai) some MSS. read to ‘make his own,’ ‘to purchase’ (peri- poiesasthai).

Luke 17:33. Ζητήσῃ, shall have sought) [i.e. by delaying to flee to the Refuge]. See Luke 17:31-32.—ψυχὴν, life) We must understand this of the whole man, as distinguished from the natural or spiritual life, which are respectively determined and defined by whatever is added in the language of the passages where they are intended to be understood.—ζωογονήσει) [shall preserve alive: a word of the LXX.] See note, Acts 7:19.

Verse 33. - Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. Very deep must have been the impression which this saying made upon the early Church. So literally did many interpret it, that the wiser and more thoughtful men in the congregations during the days of persecution had often to prevent persons of both sexes recklessly throwing away their lives in the conflict with the Roman authorities. Very many in the first three centuries positively courted martyrdom. Luke 17:33Shall preserve (ζωογονήσει)

Only here and Acts 7:19. Originally to engender; thence to produce alive or endue with life, and so to preserve alive. Wyc., shall quicken it.

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