Luke 18

1 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.
2 He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people.
3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, "Grant me justice against my opponent.'
4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, "Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone,
5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.' "
6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says.
7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?
8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt:
10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.'
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."
15 People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it.
16 But Jesus called for them and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.
17 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."
18 A certain ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
19 Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
20 You know the commandments: "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.' "
21 He replied, "I have kept all these since my youth."
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
23 But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich.
24 Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!
25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
26 Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?"
27 He replied, "What is impossible for mortals is possible for God."
28 Then Peter said, "Look, we have left our homes and followed you."
29 And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
30 who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life."
31 Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.
32 For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon.
33 After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again."
34 But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
35 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.
36 When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening.
37 They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
38 Then he shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
39 Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
40 Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him,
41 "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me see again."
42 Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has saved you."
43 Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised 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.

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Gk [he]
  • [b]. Or [so that she may not finally come and slap me in the face]
  • [c]. Gk lacks [the money]
  • [d]. Gk [the Nazorean]

Luke 18 Commentaries