Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Luke 17:28-29 as in the days of Lot

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, November 23, 2018

28 It was the same way in the days of Lot. They were eating, they were drinking; they were buying, selling, planting, and building,  29 but on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

Jesus turns from Noah to Lot. By how many years were those two men separated? About a thousand years? We can’t be certain, but they were connected by faith and by circumstance. Both men were flawed. Noah had a run-in with drunkenness, and Lot struggled with poor judgment on more than one occasion. But both men had faith in God in the world when few men did. In Lot’s case, his life in Sodom was a life surrounded by ungodliness and terrible sins. Even the young men who were found as potential husbands for his daughters were unbelievers, and they may have been the best of a bad lot. Jesus uses similar words as he did in describing Noah’s neighbors: they were eating and they were drinking, etc. The forms of these words in Greek (as in verse 26-27) are all the same, the imperfect tense, which indicates an ongoing act in the past. This is typical, usual behavior. They were also doing business in Lot’s city: “They were buying, selling, planting, and building.” Although people who knew a disaster was coming might still buy and sell especially provisions, they would not plant or build. Jesus shows us just how unaware the people of Sodom were that the end for them was imminent.

The account of the destruction of Sodom is told in Genesis 19:1-29. Warnings that Lot made to individuals were of no avail. Even his sons-in-law thought he was joking (Genesis 19:14). God destroyed everything there: the people, the animals, and even the vegetation. Watching from a distance, Abraham saw “dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace” (Genesis 19:28). It is not Lot’s righteousness that Jesus is holding up for us, although Lot is called a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7). It is the suddenness, the unexpectedness of the disaster that Jesus wants us to understand. There was no time for repentance, no time for a quick lesson in theology. So it will be on the Last Day. The Lord will appear, the sudden, violent end will come, and God’s people will be rescued, taken up into heaven along with those who have died. Paul explains: “We who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them [those Christians who died before] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). It’s here, as we read passages about the Last Day, that we need to remain cautious and vigilant to catch false teaching that tries to discuss a separate “rapture” of some (not all) Christians a certain amount of time (anywhere from seven years to a thousand years) before the final Last Day. Those teachers contradict what Jesus is saying here, that the end will come suddenly, with no warning at all. If there were some preliminary advent of Jesus (a “first” second coming), that would negate any need to be vigilant in the way that Jesus commands us. No, when Jesus comes again, it will be the very end, the very last day.

Be watchful. The Day of the Lord will come with no warning. But be confident of your faith. “Though I walk in the midst of troubles, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me” (Psalm 138:7). The Lord knows those who are his children, and he will preserve us. Whoever believes in Jesus will be saved (Mark 16:16). Through Jesus, we have everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

Browse Devotion Archive