Luke 18

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

1 He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged:
2 "There was a judge in one town who didn't fear God or respect man.
3 And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.'
4 "For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or respect man,
5 yet because this widow keeps pestering me, [a] I will give her justice, so she doesn't wear me out [b] by her persistent coming.' "
6 Then the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says.
7 Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [to help] them? [c]
8 I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith [d] on earth?"

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else:
10 "Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee took his stand [e] and was praying like this: 'God, I thank You that I'm not like other people [f] -greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth [g] of everything I get.'
13 "But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest [h] and saying, 'God, turn Your wrath from me [i] -a sinner!'
14 I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Blessing the Children

15 Some people were even bringing infants to Him so He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 Jesus, however, invited them: "Let the little children come to Me, and don't stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
17 I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

The Rich Young Ruler

18 A ruler asked Him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
19 "Why do you call Me good?" Jesus asked him. "No one is good but One-God.
20 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother. " [j]
21 "I have kept all these from my youth," he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, He told him, "You still lack one thing: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me."
23 After he heard this, he became extremely sad, because he was very rich.

Possessions and the Kingdom

24 Seeing that he became sad,[k] Jesus said, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!
25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
26 Those who heard this asked, "Then who can be saved?"
27 He replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
28 Then Peter said, "Look, we have left what we had and followed You."
29 So He said to them, "I assure you: There is no one who has left a house, wife or brothers, parents or children because of the kingdom of God,
30 who will not receive many times more at this time, and eternal life in the age to come."

The Third Prediction of His Death

31 Then He took the Twelve aside and told them, "Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. Everything that is written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished.
32 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and He will be mocked, insulted, spit on;
33 and after they flog Him, they will kill Him, and He will rise on the third day."
34 They understood none of these things. This saying[l] was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

A Blind Man Receives His Sight

35 As He drew near Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging.
36 Hearing a crowd passing by, he inquired what this meant.
37 "Jesus the Nazarene is passing by," they told him.
38 So he called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
39 Then those in front told him to keep quiet,[m] but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
40 Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him. When he drew near, He asked him,
41 "What do you want Me to do for you?" "Lord," he said, "I want to see!"
42 "Receive your sight!" Jesus told him. "Your faith has healed you." [n]
43 Instantly he could see, and he began to follow Him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Images for Luke 18

Luke 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

The parable of the importunate widow. (1-8) The Pharisee and the publican. (9-14) Children brought to Christ. (15-17) The ruler hindered by his riches. (18-30) Christ foreshows his death. (31-34) A blind man restored to sight. (35-43)

Verses 1-8 All God's people are praying people. Here earnest steadiness in prayer for spiritual mercies is taught. The widow's earnestness prevailed even with the unjust judge: she might fear lest it should set him more against her; but our earnest prayer is pleasing to our God. Even to the end there will still be ground for the same complaint of weakness of faith.

Verses 9-14 This parable was to convince some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. God sees with what disposition and design we come to him in holy ordinances. What the Pharisee said, shows that he trusted to himself that he was righteous. We may suppose he was free from gross and scandalous sins. All this was very well and commendable. Miserable is the condition of those who come short of the righteousness of this Pharisee, yet he was not accepted; and why not? He went up to the temple to pray, but was full of himself and his own goodness; the favour and grace of God he did not think worth asking. Let us beware of presenting proud devotions to the Lord, and of despising others. The publican's address to God was full of humility, and of repentance for sin, and desire toward God. His prayer was short, but to the purpose; God be merciful to me a sinner. Blessed be God, that we have this short prayer upon record, as an answered prayer; and that we are sure that he who prayed it, went to his house justified; for so shall we be, if we pray it, as he did, through Jesus Christ. He owned himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty before God. He had no dependence but upon the mercy of God; upon that alone he relied. And God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. Justification is of God in Christ; therefore the self-condemned, and not the self-righteous, are justified before God.

Verses 15-17 None are too little, too young, to be brought to Christ, who knows how to show kindness to those not capable of doing service to him. It is the mind of Christ, that little children should be brought to him. The promise is to us, and to our seed; therefore He will bid them welcome to him with us. And we must receive his kingdom as children, not by purchase, and must call it our Father's gift.

Verses 18-30 Many have a great deal in them very commendable, yet perish for lack of some one thing; so this ruler could not bear Christ's terms, which would part between him and his estate. Many who are loth to leave Christ, yet do leave him. After a long struggle between their convictions and their corruptions, their corruptions carry the day. They are very sorry that they cannot serve both; but if one must be quitted, it shall be their God, not their wordly gain. Their boasted obedience will be found mere outside show; the love of the world in some form or other lies at the root. Men are apt to speak too much of what they have left and lost, of what they have done and suffered for Christ, as Peter did. But we should rather be ashamed that there has been any regret or difficulty in doing it.

Verses 31-34 The Spirit of Christ, in the Old Testament prophets, testified beforehand his sufferings, and the glory that should ( 1 Peter. 1:11 ) that they would not understand these things literally. They were so intent upon the prophecies which spake of Christ's glory, that they overlooked those which spake of his sufferings. People run into mistakes, because they read their Bibles by halves, and are only for the smooth things. We are as backward to learn the proper lessons from the sufferings, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, as the disciples were to what he told them as to those events; and for the same reason; self-love, and a desire of worldly objects, close our understandings.

Verses 35-43 This poor blind man sat by the wayside, begging. He was not only blind, but poor, the fitter emblem of the world of mankind which Christ came to heal and save. The prayer of faith, guided by Christ's encouraging promises, and grounded on them, shall not be in vain. The grace of Christ ought to be thankfully acknowledged, to the glory of God. It is for the glory of God if we follow Jesus, as those will do whose eyes are opened. We must praise God for his mercies to others, as well as for mercies to ourselves. Would we rightly understand these things, we must come to Christ, like the blind man, earnestly beseeching him to open our eyes, and to show us clearly the excellence of his precepts, and the value of his salvation.

Footnotes 14

  • [a]. Lit widow causes me trouble
  • [b]. Or doesn't give me a black eye, or doesn't ruin my reputation
  • [c]. Or Will He put up with them?
  • [d]. Or faith, or that kind of faith, or any faith, or the faith, or faithfulness; the faith that persists in prayer for God's vindication
  • [e]. Or Pharisee stood by himself
  • [f]. Or like the rest of men
  • [g]. Or give tithes
  • [h]. Mourning
  • [i]. Lit God, be propitious; May Your wrath be turned aside by the sacrifice
  • [j]. Ex 20:12-16; Dt 5:16-20
  • [k]. Other mss omit he became sad
  • [l]. The meaning of the saying
  • [m]. Or those in front rebuked him
  • [n]. Or has saved you

Luke 18 Commentaries