Luke 18

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The Parable of the Persistent Widow

1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought 1always to pray and not 2lose heart.
2 He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who 3neither feared God nor respected man.
3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.'
4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 4'Though I neither fear God nor respect man,
5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'"
6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says.
7 And 5will not God give justice to 6his elect, 7who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?
8 I tell you, he will give justice to them 8speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, 9will he find faith on earth?"

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 He also told this parable to some 10who trusted 11in themselves that they were righteous, 12and treated others with contempt:
10 "Two men 13went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee, 14standing by himself, prayed[a]15thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 16I fast twice a week; 17I give tithes of all that I get.'
13 But the tax collector, 18standing far off, 19would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but 20beat his breast, saying, 'God, 21be merciful to me, a sinner!'
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For 22everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Let the Children Come to Me

15 23Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they 24rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, 25"Let the children come to me, and 26do not hinder them, 27for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
17 28Truly, I say to you, whoever does not 29receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."

The Rich Ruler

18 30And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to 31inherit eternal life?"
19 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
20 You know the commandments: 32'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'"
21 And he said, 33"All these I have kept from my youth."
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. 34Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have 35treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
23 36But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, 37"How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter 38the 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 39the kingdom of God."
26 Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?"
27 But he said, 40"What is impossible with men is possible with God."
28 And Peter said, "See, 41we have left our homes and followed you."
29 And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, 42there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[b] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
30 who will not receive 43many times more 44in this time, and in 45the age to come eternal life."

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

31 46And taking the twelve, he said to them, "See, 47we are going up to Jerusalem, and 48everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.
32 For he will be 49delivered over to the Gentiles and will be 50mocked and shamefully treated and 51spit upon.
33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on 52the third day he will rise."
34 53But they understood none of these things. 54This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar

35 55As he drew near to Jericho, 56a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.
36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.
37 They told him, 57"Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
38 And he cried out, "Jesus, 58Son of David, have mercy on me!"
39 And those who were in front 59rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him,
41 60"What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me recover my sight."
42 And Jesus said to him, "Recover your sight; 61your faith has 62made you well."
43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, 63glorifying God. And 64all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

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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.

Cross References 64

  • 1. Luke 21:36; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; [Luke 11:5-9]
  • 2. 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16; 2 Thessalonians 3:13(Gk.)
  • 3. [2 Corinthians 8:21]
  • 4. [Luke 11:8]
  • 5. Revelation 6:10; [Isaiah 63:4]
  • 6. Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; Titus 1:1; See Mark 13:20
  • 7. Psalms 88:1
  • 8. Hebrews 10:37
  • 9. Luke 17:26-30; [Matthew 24:12]
  • 10. Luke 16:15; [Matthew 5:20]
  • 11. 2 Corinthians 1:9
  • 12. Proverbs 30:12; Isaiah 65:5; John 7:48, 49
  • 13. 2 Kings 20:5, 8; Acts 3:1; [ver. 14]
  • 14. Matthew 6:5; Mark 11:25
  • 15. [Revelation 3:17]
  • 16. Matthew 9:14
  • 17. Luke 11:42
  • 18. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 19. Ezra 9:6
  • 20. Luke 23:48
  • 21. Psalms 79:9; Ezekiel 16:63; Daniel 9:19
  • 22. See Luke 14:11
  • 23. For ver. 15-17, see Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16
  • 24. ver. 39
  • 25. Matthew 18:3
  • 26. [Mark 9:39]
  • 27. Matthew 18:3
  • 28. [John 3:3, 5]
  • 29. [Luke 8:13; James 1:21]
  • 30. For ver. 18-30, see Matthew 19:16-29; Mark 10:17-30; [Luke 10:25-28]
  • 31. [Matthew 19:16]; See Matthew 25:34
  • 32. Romans 13:9; Cited from Exodus 20:12-16; Deuteronomy 5:16-20; [Matthew 5:21, 27]
  • 33. [Philippians 3:6]
  • 34. Luke 12:33; [Luke 16:9; Luke 19:8; Acts 2:45; Acts 4:34, 35; 1 Timothy 6:18, 19]
  • 35. Matthew 6:19, 20
  • 36. [Ezekiel 33:31]
  • 37. [1 Corinthians 1:26]; See Matthew 13:22
  • 38. See Matthew 12:28
  • 39. [See ver. 24 above]
  • 40. Luke 1:37; Genesis 18:14; Job 42:2; Jeremiah 32:17, 27
  • 41. Matthew 4:20, 22; Mark 1:18, 20
  • 42. [Luke 14:26]
  • 43. [Job 42:10]
  • 44. [Matthew 6:33]
  • 45. Matthew 12:32; Ephesians 1:21; [Luke 20:35]
  • 46. For ver. 31-33, see Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34
  • 47. See Luke 9:51
  • 48. Psalms 22; See Matthew 1:22; Matthew 26:24
  • 49. Matthew 27:2; John 18:30, 31; Acts 3:13; [Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27; Acts 21:11]
  • 50. Matthew 27:26-31
  • 51. Mark 14:65; Mark 15:19; See Matthew 26:67
  • 52. See Luke 9:22
  • 53. See Mark 9:32
  • 54. Luke 9:45; [Luke 24:16]
  • 55. For ver. 35-43, see Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52
  • 56. John 9:1, 8
  • 57. Matthew 2:23
  • 58. See Matthew 1:1; Matthew 9:27
  • 59. ver. 15
  • 60. Mark 10:36
  • 61. Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48; Luke 17:19; Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:34
  • 62. Luke 7:3; Luke 8:36, 50
  • 63. See Luke 7:16; Luke 13:13
  • 64. [Luke 19:37]

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or standing, prayed to himself
  • [b]. Or wife or brothers and sisters

Luke 18 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.