Luke 18

1 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
2 He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man;
3 and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Vindicate me against my adversary.'
4 For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor regard man,
5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'"
6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says.
7 And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?
8 I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, 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 despised others:
10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.'
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."
18 And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
19 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
20 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'"
21 And he said, "All these I have observed from my youth."
22 And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
23 But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich.
24 Jesus looking at him said, "How hard it is for those who have riches 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 man to enter the kingdom of God."
26 Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?"
27 But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
28 And Peter said, "Lo, we have left our homes and followed you."
29 And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
30 who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life."
31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished.
32 For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon;
33 they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise."
34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hid from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging;
36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant.
37 They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
38 And he cried, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
39 And those who were in front rebuked 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 "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me receive my sight."
42 And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well."
43 And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all 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.

Luke 18 Commentaries