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Gospel of Luke Chapter 18
Theme: Parable of the unjust judge; parable of the Pharisee and the publican; Jesus blesses the little children; Jesus confronts the rich young ruler; Jesus heals the blind man as He enters Jericho.
Do you believe that Jesus was/is God, manifest in the flesh? Do you believe that Jesus was not any less God because He was Man? Do you believe Jesus was a perfect man? A real man?
What a privilege the apostles and friends of Jesus had, to be in His Presence, to see His joy and to hear Him laugh. Personally, I am not in favor of pictures (portraits) of Jesus. http://www.hisservants.org/pictures_of_christ_h_s.htm
Our Lord was SO human. I think the Lord Jesus often laughed. I think He had a great sense of humor. We are coming to an incident that I am sure made many people smile.
Luke concluded chapter 17 with Jesus’ discourse on the last days and the fact that He would be coming again. And He compared the coming last days to the days of Noah and Lot, in that they would be very evil days. Jesus now talks to them about a life that is totally lacking of faith. Faith is SO very important for this hour that is before us! We are living in days, as He indicated, when men's hearts are failing them for fear (Lk.21:26). What we have in this first parable, is an appropriate parable on prayer for the present hour. He says He spoke a parable to them for this purpose, that men should always pray, and not to faint.
He opens two alternatives to any man who is living in difficult days. You and I will have to do one of the two. You will have to make up your mind which you are going to do. Men in difficult days will either faint or they will pray. Either there will be days of fear or days of faith.
During World War II, when the bombing was so intense on the city of London, a sign appeared in front of one of the churches in London that read, "If your knees knock together, kneel on them!" That is practically a restatement of what our Lord has said, "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint." (2 Cor.4:16; Eph.3:13).
It is the same thought that Paul puts a little differently, "Pray without ceasing" (1Thes.5:17). This does NOT mean you are to go into a closet for an all-day or all-night prayer session. Prayer is an approach to life. It is more an outlook on life rather than a movement of the lips. Many times we do not have the right words to pray, but we pray just the same, because the Holy Spirit takes over for us! (Rom.8:26). It is our total life that is behind the words which are spoken that makes prayer effective.
Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8)
When the Lord Jesus told this story about the unjust judge and the widow, it probably was very well known to the hearers of that day. They knew exactly what He was talking about.
Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; (KJV)
And he spoke a parable unto them . . . to His apostles, to encourage them to pray, and be persistent in it; because there some bad times of trial and affliction that was coming to the Jews, of which He had spoken in the chapter 17; and such times specifically call for prayer (Ps.50:15).
To this end, that men ought always to pray . . . ought always to pray, as opposed to those who do not pray at all, or those who pray only in distress. Jesus wisely recommends that a man should pray as often as he has an opportunity; he should be constant and diligent at the throne of grace, and continue putting his requests to God, even though it seems as though God does not at the moment return a prompt answer.
And not to faint . . . do not weaken, or back off from prayer requests because of afflictions, temptations and delays in answered prayer. Prayer is the solution against fainting under pressure.
Luke 18:2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: (KJV)
Saying, There was in a city a judge. . . in every city in the land of Israel, there was a Sanhedrim, or court of justice; and in Jerusalem was the great Sanhedrim, consisting of seventy one persons; and in every city where there were an hundred and twenty men, or more, there was a smaller Sanhedrim, consisting of twenty three persons; and in a city where there were not an hundred and twenty men, there were three judges. The qualifications for one to be a judge, even of the bench of three, were wisdom, meekness (or modesty), and fear of God, and hatred of mammon, (or money,) love of truth, and to have the love of men, and to be masters of a good name, or to be a person of good report. It seems that the judge in this text, fell short of these qualifications. His character follows,
Which feared not God, neither regarded man . . . and therefore, according to the law, was disqualified from being a judge, since he had no fear of God; and seeing he did not respect men.
Luke 18:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. (KJV)
And there was a widow in that city . . . poor and helpless, and no one to counsel, direct and assist her, and take her part. A widow. This is a circumstance that gives great interest to the parable. Judges were bound to show particular attention to widows (Isa.1:17; Jer.22:3). The reason of this was that they were defenseless, most often poor, and were very likely to be oppressed by those in power.
And she came unto him, saying, avenge me of my adversary . . . Avenge me. Give me justice against my adversary. It does not mean vengeance or revenge, but simply that she wished to have justice done for her, a thing which this judge should have done, but which it seems he had no intention of doing. Adversary is enemy. In this case it seems that the judge was not willing to do justice, and probably took every advantage of her condition to oppress her.
Luke 18:4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; (KJV)
And he would not for a while . . . for a while, this probably means for a considerable time. It was his duty to attend to the claims of justice, but this was long delayed.
But afterward he said within himself . . . within himself, He thought, or came to a conclusion. He would not hear her cries, nor worry about her rights or her wrongs, and would not clear her of her adversary.
Though I fear not God, nor regard man . . . his iniquity is revealed quite clearly here. It is as if he was proud to glory in it.
Luke 18:5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. (KJV)
Yet because this widow troubleth me . . . she kept knocking at his door, with loud cries and intense appeals, and strong arguments. He could not get away from her flood of tears, and simply could get away from her.
I will avenge her . . . finally he says, I will hear her case, I will do her justice, and deliver her from her troublesome adversary.
Lest by her continual coming she weary me . . . it was not from his conscience of duty as a judge, or from pity of the poor widow's case; but it was selfish. He wanted peace, that his house might not be disturbed, and his ears would no longer hear her noise and crying. He wanted her to stop pestering him day after day.
Jesus told the story of the neighbor who was in need of bread for a visitor (Luke 11:5-10). The disciples had just asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1), and the lesson He is teaching through this parable is to be persistent in prayer. In that parable in chapter 11 and this one of the persistent widow and the unjust judge, Jesus tells us to keep on keeping on with prayer. Paul tells us the same thing: 1 Thes. 5:17 Pray without ceasing. (KJV)
Luke 18:6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. (KJV)
And the Lord said . . . The Lord Jesus Christ, who delivered this parable to His apostles.
Hear what the unjust judge saith . . . a parable is a story our Lord told to illustrate divine Truth. There are two ways Jesus did this. One is by comparison, but the other is by contrast.
Jesus is saying, "When you come to God in prayer, do you think that God is an unjust judge?" If you think this, you are wrong. God is not an unjust judge.
Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? (KJV)
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? . . . God is NOT an unjust judge. He is a merciful judge who really wants to hear and answer your prayer. Many act as if He is an unjust judge, and we have to hold on to Him or He will not hear us at all. God is not an unjust judge.
The great truth which our Saviour intended to teach is that we should to try to find., and here there can be no doubt what that truth is . . . that men ought always to pray and not to faint. This he teaches by the example in the parable; and the argument which it implies is this:
#1. A poor widow, only by her perseverance, obtained from an unjust man what otherwise she would not have obtained.
#2. God is NOT unjust. He is good, and willing to do justice and to bestow mercy. Consider, IF this wicked man by persevering prayer was induced to do justice, how much more shall God, who IS good, and who is NOT motivated by any such selfish principle, do justice to them who apply to him!
Avenge . . . do justice to or vindicate them. This may have a twofold position,
#1. To the apostles in the time of Jesus, who were about to be oppressed and persecuted, and over whom calamities were about to come, as if God did not regard their cries and had forsaken them. To them Jesus gives the assurance that God would hear their petitions and come forth to vindicate them; and that, even with all these calamities, He would yet appear for their deliverance.
#2. It may have a more general meaning. The people of God are so often oppressed and persecuted. They are few in number and feeble (Mat.7:14). They seem to be almost forsaken and cast down, and their enemies triumph over them. BUT in due time God will hear their prayers, and will come forth for their vindication. And even if it does not happen in this life, He will do it on Judgment Day, when He shall pronounce them blessed, and receive them to Himself forever.
His own elect . . . children of God, saints, Christians; so called because God has chosen them to be His own. The term is usually given in the Scriptures to the TRUE followers of God, and is a term of affection, meaning His great and special love in choosing them out of a world of sinners, and conferring on them grace, and mercy, and eternal life (Eph.1:4; Col.3:12; 1 Thes.1:4; 1 Pet.1:2). They are especially dear to Him; that He has a deep concern for their welfare, and He is always ready to come forth to their aid. The unjust judge felt no special interest in that poor widow, BUT he heard her; whereas God has a special concern, a tender love for His elect, and therefore He will hear and He will save.
Which cry day and night . . . this expresses a striking characteristic of the elect of God; they pray, and pray constantly. No one can have proof that a person is chosen of God if they are not a person of prayer. One of the best marks by which the electing love of God is known is that it disposes us to pray. This parable supposes that when the elect of God are in trouble, they will cry out to Him; and it confirms that when they do, He will hear their cries and answer their pleas.
Though he bear long with them . . . this has been variously interpreted. Although God may seem to put off avenging them, and greatly tries their patience, He shall avenge them. He tries their faith; He allows their persecutions and trials to sometimes continue a long time; and it almost seems as if He will not come to their rescue, but He will do it, and will save them. God will always come through at just the right time! His clock and ours, are not the same. (2 Pet.3:8).
Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily . . . just as He did in a few years after the death of Christ, when God's elect among the Jews were singled out, and gathered in from them, and were delivered from their persecutors, and saved from temporal ruin and destruction, while the Roman army made chaotic destruction of their enemies; and so too, will He do at the end of the world. (Ps.46:5; Heb.10:37; 2 Pet.3:8-9)
Nevertheless, when the son of man cometh . . . either to destroy Jerusalem, or to judge the world,
Shall he find faith on the earth? . . . either in the land of Judea, the believers being removed from there, and scattered among the Gentiles, and not a man, at least in Jerusalem, could be found that had any faith in Jesus, as the Messiah . . . OR in the world at the last day.
When Christ Jesus returns, it is my humble opinion that He will find very few who have faith in Him. There will be multitudes who have fallen away, because of the power worldly temptations have upon the weakness of mankind. It seems that faith here means the true and suitable effects of faith, growing out of it, as the fruit out of the firmly planted root. This really is a forewarning from the Saviour, which served as an outstanding caution to His apostles that they might watch, and take care that they might stay strong in their faith.
See end of this chapter for a comment on this verse.
Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14)
Now our Lord gives another parable on prayer. All God's people are praying people. Here earnest constancy and faithfulness in prayer for spiritual mercies is taught. The widow's earnestness prevailed even with the unjust judge: she might fear in case it would set him more against her; but our earnest prayer is very pleasing to our God.
Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: (KJV)
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous . . .
there are millions who think they are “good” and this parable was spoken by Jesus in order to expose their pride, vanity, arrogance and self-confidence.
And despised others . . . these self-righteous ones hate all the rest of mankind, all but themselves, considering them of no account; treating them as persons unworthy of the affection of God, and not fit to stand near them, or to be named with them.
Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. (KJV)
Two men went up into the temple to pray . . . the Temple is called an house of prayer (Isa.56:7), it seems that the Jews had the idea of praying in a place of religious worship, such as in the temple, or in a synagogue; thinking that their prayers were more acceptable to God, and would be heard by Him sooner that in a private place. Both these men no doubt, thought this way. They went up there, not by consultation, agreement and appointment; for these men were very different from each other.
The one a Pharisee . . . Pharisees are those that trusted in themselves, as righteous, and despised all others, especially publicans and sinners (Mat.3:7). This was the strictest sect among the Jews; they were men that prayed and fasted often, and were perfectionists for the ceremonies of the law, and the traditions of the elders, and did all they did to be seen of men.
And the other a publican . . . a publican is a Jew who gathered the Roman tax. There was great contempt of them by the Jews in general, nor would the Pharisees eat and drink and speak with them. (Mat.9:10-11).
Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. (KJV)
The Pharisee stood . . . standing was a praying posture (Mat.6:5), nor is this to be seen as if standing for prayer was incorrect. The sense is, he either stood in a place of prominence, that he might be seen of others; or he stood in a set, fixed posture, or he stood with great boldness and confidence. It was his manner that was incorrect.
And prayed thus with himself . . . maybe stood by himself and prayed. This would be typical of the of the Pharisees, who dreaded contact with others as polluting, and who were inclined to stay by themselves. Even though the Pharisee addressed himself to God, yet he praised himself, God I thank thee . . . there is NO petition in this prayer for pardoning grace and mercy; NO larger measures of grace; NO strength to perform duties, NO strength to persevere; NO petition for any favor whatsoever; and absolutely NO confession of his sin. So, all in all, it scarcely deserves to be called a prayer, for in it is only a thanksgiving . . . absolutely, thanksgiving in prayer is RIGHT! But. . . what did this Pharisee thank God for?
That I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers . . . he was the same as all other men, he was NOT any better! He was a sinner, just as all other men; he was a sinner by nature, just as everyone else! He had the same iniquities and corruptions in his heart as other men. He had no more goodness in him than other men, and he was just as far from true real righteousness as others. (Rom.3:10,23).
Or even as this publican . . . possibly looking at him, some distance away, with great scorn and disdain. This was his prayer, of thanksgiving???? From this, we can see that thanksgiving IS a part of prayer.
Consider: #1. We should speak truth. #2. We should not come to plead our righteousness before God.
But this Pharisee: #1. Speaks only the pride of his heart, in justification of himself. #2. Speaks with scorn and contempt of his neighbor. #3. Speaks as though he was not guilty of such great sins as others have.
Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (KJV)
I fast twice in the week . . . in addition to the public days of fasting required in the law of Moses, and they therefore made more a matter of merit of it because it was voluntary.
I give tithes of all that I possess . . . a tithe is a tenth part of any thing. A tenth part of the possessions of the Jews was required for the support of the Levites (Num.18:21). In addition to the tithes required strictly by law, the Pharisees tithed everything that they possessed, even the smallest matters: mint, anise, cumin (Lk.11:42; Mat.23:23). It was most likely this, on which the Pharisee so chiefly prided himself. Since this could not be proved to be strictly required by the law, it had a greater appearance of piety.
We may learn from the case of the Pharisee: #1. It is not the man who has the most established belief that has the most devotion to God. #2. People may be externally moral, and not be righteous in the sight of God. #3. People may assume a great appearance of holiness, and still be strangers to true godliness. #4. That boasting before God of what we are and of what we have done, is abominable in God’s sight.
Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. (KJV)
And the publican standing afar off . . . afar off from the temple. The place where prayer was offered in the Temple was the court of women. The Pharisee advanced to the side of the court nearest to the temple, or near as he could; the publican stood on the other side of the same court if he was a Jew, or in the court of the Gentiles if he was a pagan, as far as possible from the Temple, being conscious of his unworthiness to approach the sacred place where God had His holy habitation.
Would not so much as lift up his eyes unto heaven . . . it was a humble posture in which he stood.
But smote upon his breast . . . a person’s heart is the fountain of his sin. It expresses his action, his sorrow, and his repentance for sin.
Saying, God be merciful to me a sinner . . . this is the prayer of the publican; a short, but a very complete one, and SO much different from that of the Pharisee. This publican confesses that he was a sinner; being conceived and born in sin; and a sinner by practice, having committed many actual transgressions, which were attended with aggravating circumstances; admitting he is a guilty and filthy sinner.
Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (KJV)
I tell you that this man . . . the publican that so freely admitted to being a sinner, and by his conduct and manner, acknowledged he was unworthy of any favor; and who was treated with so much contempt by the Pharisee.
Went down to his house . . . from the Temple, which was built on a mountain,
Justified rather than the other . . . was accounted as a righteous person in the sight of God, justified from all his sins, and accepted by Him, when the other was hated and not answered. A humble manner is well pleasing and acceptable to God, when pride, arrogance, boasting and trusting in a man's own righteousness, are despised by Him.
For every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted . . . God will exalt or honor those who are humble, those who do not seek a high place among men. That is true religion, and it is God will and God shall reward it. (Mat.23:12).
God sees with what disposition and design we come to His holy Throne. What the Pharisee said, shows that he thought that he was righteous on his own. We may assume that he was free from gross and scandalous sins, which was commendable. This Pharisee was not accepted. Why not? He went up to the temple to pray, but was full of himself and his own goodness; the favor and grace of God he did not think was worth asking for. BEWARE!! We must not present proud devotions to the Lord, while despising others. The publican's prayer to God was full of humility, and of his repentance for sin, and his desire of God’s blessings to come to him. His prayer was short, but to the point! God be merciful to me a sinner. We are indeed blessed by God, to have this short prayer recorded! And also, as an answered prayer, we can be certain that he who prayed it, went to his house justified. Let us take this teaching to heart: for IF we shall so pray, as the publican did, we too shall go away justified. We must own ourselves as sinners as he did (Rom.3:10,23; 1 Jn.1:8-9), and plead guilty before God. We must depend on the mercy of God. God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. Justification is of God in Christ Jesus; therefore the self-condemned, NOT the self-righteous, are justified before God. (Rom.1:17; 3:22,26-28; 5:1,9,18).
Jesus Blesses the Little Children (Luke 18:15-17) Children are brought to Jesus
The little children loved to be with the Lord Jesus, and He loved to be with them. This parable was to convince those who trusted in themselves that they were NOT righteous.
Luke 18:15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (KJV)
And they brought unto him also infants . . . as well as older children and grown persons, that were sick, to be healed by Him.
That he would touch them . . . hoping that Jesus would cure them of diseases. One of the ways Jesus healed persons, was by touching them. (Mat.19:13-15).
But when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them . . . the apostles scolded the people who brought the children to Jesus. (Mat.19:13).
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (KJV)
But Jesus called them unto him, and said . . . Jesus called for the children to come to Him.
This shows, that these infants were not new born babies, or children at the breast, but such as were more grown up, since they were capable of being called to, and of coming on their own to Christ:
Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not . . . this reveals Jesus’ humility, that He was not above taking notice of anyone, young or old, and to teach His apostles to consider even the weakest believers, be they young or old. (Mat.19:14).
For of such is the kingdom of God . . . bringing the children was highly acceptable to Jesus, and He earnestly desired that children should be brought to Him; and it was very improper that the apostles should interfere. Neither the Kingdom as it now is, or the Kingdom as it will be, is composed of little children, BUT in both states of the Kingdom's existence, it is composed of persons with characters LIKE little children (Mat.18:1-6). It is greatly to be hoped, that all infants will be saved. No contrary doctrine is taught in the sacred Scriptures. But it does NOT appear to be the plan of this Passage to teach that all infants will be saved. NO one but Almighty God knows who will be saved and who will not be saved. This Passage simply means, that children are kind, likeable and loving and uncorrupted by the world, and have traits resembling those among TRUE Christians.
Luke 18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (KJV)
Verily I say unto you . . . Jesus takes this occasion from to teach His apostles humility, and guard them against pride and vanity.
Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God . . . the King Messiah, the doctrines of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it,
As a little child . . . without prejudice, pride, ambition and vanity, with meekness and humility,
Shall in no wise enter therein . . . how can someone "receive the Kingdom of God like a child"? Simply by a trusting and willing attitude that children show to adults on whom they depend. Jesus wants His people to enjoy prayer by delighting in His company. (Mk.10:15; 1 Pet.1:14).
Jesus Confronts the Rich Young Ruler (Luke 18:18-30)
He is unwilling to forsake his riches and position
Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (KJV)
And a certain ruler asked him . . . a young man, a ruler among the Jews, a civil magistrate, and a very rich man, ran after Jesus, and overtook Him in the way, as he was going towards Jericho.
Saying, good master . . . Rabbi or doctor,
What shall I do to inherit eternal life? . . . (Mat.19:16; Mk.10:17).
Luke 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. (KJV)
And Jesus said unto him . . . in answer to his question,
Why callest thou me good? . . . it was unusual to speak to men, even their Rabbis, under such a title.
None is good, save one, that it, God . . . just God alone (Mat.19:17).
Luke 18:20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. (KJV)
Thou knowest the commandments . . . meaning the ten commandments given to Moses, and delivered to the people; and which they were careful to teach their children; although there are only five mentioned here, and not in the order in which they stand. This suggests that these must be kept, or the law must he fulfilled, and satisfaction made for the violation of it, or there can be no inheriting eternal life. The five commandments mentioned are, the seventh, sixth, eighth, ninth, and fifth.
Do not commit adultery; Do not kill; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Honour father and thy mother . . . (Mat.19:17; Mk.10:19).
Luke 18:21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. (KJV)
And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up . . . even though he was very rich and in such a high position in life, being a ruler, it seems he was just a young man; and to be so serious and religious, in the midst so much riches and grandeur, even though it was external, was both remarkable and commendable. When he heard the answer from Christ, he was very pleased and overjoyed, Matthew 19:20 adds: what lack I yet?
Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. (KJV)
Now when Jesus heard these things . . . that he had kept all these commandments, and that ever since he was a child, and to that very time,
He said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing . . . granting, if he had kept them all, as he had said, yet one thing was deficient; that mainly was to mortify his pride and vanity.
Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven . . . neither the law of God, or the Gospel of Christ, demand this to be done by all men, at all times; for even though it is a duty, to relieve the poor and the needy, yet a man is NOT obligated to give all that he has to them (2 Cor.8:11-13). Neither does legal or Christian perfection come from doing this, because a man may give all his goods to the poor and still have NO love of God (1 Cor.13:3). The young man declared that he had kept the law. That law required, among other things, that he should love his neighbor as himself. It also required that he should love the Lord his God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind . . . meaning love God more than anything else! IF he had true love to God and man; IF he loved his Maker and fellow creatures more than he did his property, he would be willing to give up his wealth for the service of God and of man. Jesus thus commanded him to do this, to test his character, and to show him that he had NOT kept the law as he pretended; and thus to show him that he needed a better righteousness than he had (1 Cor.1:30). This man’s treasure was on Earth, NOT in Heaven where it should have been (Mat.6:20). This was and IS a very hard lesson for us to learn.
And come and follow me . . . IF the man had followed Jesus, He would have known that he was NOT keeping the first commandments which have to do with a man's relationship to God. Something was keeping him from going after the Lord, and it was his riches and power were his stumbling block. For you and for me it could be something completely different. To follow Jesus then, meant to be a personal attendant of His ministry; to go with Him from place to place, as well as to imitate and obey Him. Today it means: #1. to obey His commandments. #2. to imitate His example, and to live like Him. (Mat.19:21).
Luke 18:23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. (KJV)
And when he heard this . . . that one thing was lacking, and what it was, which was to part with all his worldly substance, and follow Christ.
He was very sorrowful, for he was very rich . . . when the young man heard that he should sell his worldly substance, and the money was to be given away to the poor, he was very sorrowful . . . NOT a godly sorrow for his sin and imperfections, but a sorrow of the world, which worketh death. 2 Cor. 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (KJV) He was ashamed and confused and also grieved that he had not arrived to perfection, which he had hoped, and of obtaining eternal life; and now, he was most of all troubled, that he must part with his worldly substance. Matthew 19:22 says that he had great possessions . . . which were very dear to him. He chose instead to turn his back on Christ . . . like millions today . . . and forget trying to obtain eternal life, rather than to part with the present, temporary enjoyments of this life. It was his wealth that was keeping him from the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, there are many things that keep people away from the Lord Jesus; riches is only one thing, there are many other things: pride, pleasure, self-righteousness, work, and the opposite of being rich, being poor. The truth is, church membership keeps many people from Christ because it protects them from facing their sins, and too, many churches teach falsely! They feel secure because they have been through the ceremonies or have made their confession, and/or walked the aisle. But my dear friend, they may be as unconverted (an unforgiven sinner) as any pagan in the darkest place of the Earth. Is there something that is separating you from Christ? Is there anything that is keeping you from Him? Get rid of it! For this young man, it was riches. (Mat.19:22; Mk.10:22).
Luke 18:24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! (KJV)
And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said . . . probably to His apostles, seeing by the young man’s looks and gestures; that he was not going to part with his possessions, and follow Him.
How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! . . . with great difficulty. Mark 10:24 adds: "How hard is it for them that trust in riches," meaning that it is very hard to overcome this idolatrous lust, but unless they do, they CANNOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Unless a person embraces the Gospel, and willingly submits to its ordinances, they deny themselves some of the greatest Promises God makes in His Book! Eternal life in Heaven tops the list of God’s blessings to us! (Mat.19:23; Mk.10:24).
Luke 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (KJV)
These words were spoken to the apostles again, and were a second address to them, after they had shown confusion at the first ones. (Mat.19:24; Mk.10:25). AGAIN, Jesus tells the apostles how hard it is to resist riches. For rich men to become TRUE followers of Christ is nearly impossible, and here He expresses Himself in this proverbial way.
For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God . . . many people miss the humor of the Lord, and this Passage is one of those times. There are some people who come up with the explanation that there was a gate in Jerusalem called "The Eye of the Needle," and that for a camel to go through, it had to kneel to pass through it. The first time I heard that, I thought that it sounded very logical. But when I started searching the Bible for that gate, I could NOT find it. It is NOT in there. The meaning of Jesus’ Words is . . . a man had to become HUMBLE to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which is also logical. But I think that misses the point too. I really believe that the Lord Jesus could be talking about a real camel and a real needle with an eye. I have seen some fairly large needles with some fairly large eyes, but NEVER one with an eye large enough for a camel to pass through. A question: Is it really possible for a real camel to go through the eye of a real needle? NO! No way! He will not make it! It is impossible. BUT . . . would it be possible for God to put a camel through a needle's eye? YES! With God all things are possible! God can do anything! And my dear friend, only God can regenerate a man. THAT is the point the Lord is making here. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Many people today think they are going to be saved, by who they are or by what they have, or what church they belong to. That is absolutely false! You are truly saved when you find out and admit that you are a sinner, a beggar in God's sight, with nothing to offer Him for your salvation. If a person thinks that he can do something to earn salvation or pay God for salvation, he can NO more be saved than a camel can go through the eye of a needle. JESUS is the only One who can get that camel through the eye of the needle . . . and JESUS is the only One who can get you into Heaven! My friend JESUS IS the Key to Heaven! (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12).
Luke 18:26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? (KJV)
And they that heard it, said, who then can be saved? . . . they, the apostles (Mat.19:25). The amazement of the apostles should be considered in connection with the incident which came after the astonishing remark. IF they had been thinking of rich men who trample the poor into the dirt, while they live extravagantly, they would not have been so surprised at Jesus’ words. But the incident before their minds was that of a rich man who lacked only the one thing from being perfect. It was Jesus’ statement that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for such a rich man to be saved, that amazed them and brought forward the question, "Who then can be saved?"
Luke 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. (KJV)
And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God . . . no matter who you are, you can apply for salvation IF you recognize and admit that you have NOTHING to offer God, and that you must come to Him like a beggar with empty hands. When and IF you come to Him like that, He can and He will save you, no matter what you have done in the past. With God all things are possible. (Mat.19:26).
Luke 18:28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. (KJV)
Then Peter said . . . to Jesus,
Lo, we have left all . . . Peter saw what was required of the young man, and how unwilling he was to meet the terms of it, and the difficulty in every rich man's way of entrance into the Kingdom of God, and he spoke as follows: they left all they had, their friends, jobs and worldly substance, and followed Jesus (Mat.19:27). Although the apostles’ worldly substance was not as large as the young man's, nor did they have large estates to sell, to give to the poor, BUT . . . they all had they left all they had for Jesus’ sake: their parents, wives, children, houses and jobs, by which they supported themselves and their families; and became disciples and followers of Christ, embraced His doctrines and submitted to His commands. They denied themselves, and suffering many hardships on His account. Matthew 19:27 adds: What shall we have therefore? . . . What is our reward for all this? What part in the Messiah's kingdom? What treasure in Heaven? They were referring to the promise of Christ, to the young man, that should he sell all he had, and give it to the poor, then he would have treasure in heaven.
Luke 18:29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, (KJV)
And he said unto them . . . to His apostles, mainly to Peter; since he was the one who asked.
Verily I say unto you, there is no man . . . not only you shall have special honor done you, as to sit on thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; but there is not a single person of a more private character,
That hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake . . . the twelve receive a silent rebuke in this general Promise. Jesus seems to say, "My promises are not just for you, my first followers, but to all who will follow me, NOT for any selfish hope of payment or reward, but for the Kingdom of God's sake. If anyone gives up what they hold dearest; there will be true happiness for them in this world, and in the world to come unspeakable joy will be their portion; because theirs will be a blissful life that knows no ending.” This meant not only the apostles of Christ, but any other believer in Him, in any age, that should be called to leave their homes, or leave their closest relations, friends, and substance, in this world; which may be understood either in spiritual things, the love of God, the Presence of Christ, the comforts of the Holy Ghost, the unity of saints, and the joy and pleasure felt in the enjoyment of these things, being a hundred times more and better to them (Mat.19:29), than all they have left or lost for Christ's sake; or in temporary things of the world. But, the happiness which His faithful are to enjoy in this world shall be accompanied with persecutions. It is the same teaching that Jesus had taught before: Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)
Luke 18:30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. (KJV)
Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time . . . Mark 10:29 adds, "now in this time". Not more houses, parents, brethren but that which is more desirable to them; such comfort, peace, satisfaction and pleasure. They would NOT receive for the leaving one house, a hundred houses; or for forsaking one brother, a hundred brethren . . . which is true, as to a spiritual relationship; but that the small meager amount of this world's goods, and the few friends they would have "with persecutions" along with them, and amidst them, would be so changed for the better to them, with the love and Presence of God, and that these would be more and SO much better to them than a hundred houses, fields, and friends, without them.
And in the world to come life everlasting . . . which was what the young man was eager to inherit. (Lk.18:18; Mat.19:29).
The children of God have the best of it, for they have been called, to quit worldly enjoyments for Christ's sake, and are favored with His Presence in the world to come, for they shall enjoy eternal glory and happiness with Him forever. There shall be a reward for ALL the saved ones who have sacrificed for Jesus' sake. Many unknown saints, of whom the world has never heard, will be given great rewards in His Presence someday. In that day I really think that many of the well-known Christian leaders who receive extensive praise in this life, will be ignored by Jesus, while many unknown saints of God will be rewarded. What a glorious and wonderful picture this presents to us!
Many people have much in them that is very praiseworthy, yet they shall perish for lack of some one thing. This young ruler could not accept the terms of Jesus, which would part him and his estate. Many who are reluctant to leave Christ, yet do leave Him. After a long struggle between their convictions and their corruptions, their corruptions win out in the end. They are very sorry that they cannot serve both; but the truth is, if they must stop one, it shall be God, not their worldly gain. Their boasted obedience will be found to be merely an outside show, for the love and lust of the world in some form or another lies at the root. Men 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.
Christ Foreshows His Death (Luke 18:31-34)
Critics of the Bible say this a contradiction, because Matthew speaks of two blind men, while Mark and Luke mention only one. But, if you will read this Passages carefully, you will see that Matthew and Mark obviously refer to a work of healing as Jesus departed from Jericho. Bartimaeus, the active one of the two, the one who cried, ". . . Jesus, thou son of David . . . ," is specifically mentioned in Mark 10:46-47. The healing described by Luke 18:40-43, occurred before Jesus entered Jericho. This man also used the familiar form of address, "son of David."
Luke 18:31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. (KJV)
Then he took unto him the twelve . . . His twelve apostles, as He took them apart from the rest of the company, as they were travelling on the road, and privately delivered to them, what follows. (Mat.20:17).
And said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem . . . to the feast of the Passover, which was drawing near, and the last one that Christ Jesus was to eat with His apostles, because the time of His sufferings and His death was very near at hand. He thought it fit to give His apostles notice, and therefore He called them aside, and in a private manner, told them,
That all things that are written by the prophets, concerning the son of man, shall be accomplished . . . for to these the following things have respect. (Ex.12:46; Ps.2:1-2; 16:10; 22:6-8,15-19,21; 27:12; 34:20; 35:11; 41:9; 50:6; 68:18; 69:4,19-21; 109:3-5; Isa.1:6; 53:4,5,6,7,9,12; Hos.6:2; Mic.5:1; Zec.11:12; 12:10).
Luke 18:32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: (KJV)
For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles . . . just as He was by the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, to Pilate, the Roman governor, and by him to the soldiers.
And shall be mocked . . . just as he was by the soldiers, when they crowned Him with thorns, arrayed Him in a purple robe, and put a reed into His Hand, and bowed their knees to Him, saying, hail king of the Jews; and also by the Jews when He hung on the cross.
And spitefully entreated . . . this most likely means the injuries done to Him, the abuses and insults that He received, both by words and beatings.
And spitted on . . . just as He was both by officers in the high priest's palace, and by the Roman soldiers in Pilate's hall. (Isa.50:6).
Luke 18:33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. (KJV)
And they shall scourge him . . . just as he was by Pilate's command, before He was crucified.
And put him to death . . . a humiliating, disgraceful and painful death of the cross.
And the third day he shall rise again . . . just as He certainly did!
Luke 18:34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. (KJV)
And they understood none of these things . . . they understood NOT one thing Jesus told them. They did not know how to bring together these things, with the ideas they had of the temporal grandeur and glory, of the Messiah and His Kingdom; revealing their great ignorance of the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning these things.
And this saying was hid from them . . . they could NOT fully comprehend how the Messiah would suffer; or how their Master, whose power they knew was unlimited, would allow the Jews and Gentiles to torment and kill Him as He here says they would. (Lk.9:44-45; Mk.9:10).
Neither knew they the things which were spoken . . . they did not know what He meant.
Jesus Heals the Blind Man on Entering Jericho (Luke 18:35-43)
The Spirit of Christ, in the Old Testament prophets, testified beforehand about all His sufferings, and of the glory that would follow (1 Pet.1:11). The apostles' preconceptions were so strong, that they could not understand these things literally. They were so intent upon the prophecies which spoke of Christ's glory, that they totally overlooked those which spoke of His sufferings. People make the same mistakes today, because they overlook so much in the Bible. They search only for the good things, the smooth things (Isa.30:10). People want to hear of Heaven, but do NOT say anything about Hell to them, they do NOT want to hear it! People are just as backward and stubborn to learn the Truth about the sufferings, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus, as the apostles were to what Jesus told them concerning those events. My dear friend, the DEATH and RESURRECTION of Jesus is the basis of our faith! You either believe it or you do not! When someone brings the Truth of the Bible to you, do not consider them your enemy. They are your friend, not your enemy! (Gal.4:16).
Luke 18:35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: (KJV)
And it came to pass that as he was come nigh unto Jericho . . . the blind man sat on the roadside leading to Jerusalem.
A certain blind man sat by the way side begging . . . this was not blind Bartimaeus (Mk.10:46), nor his companion, for they were cured by Christ as Jesus went out of Jericho. This man's healing was before Jesus came to it; for afterwards we read of his entrance into, and passing through Jericho, (Lk.19:1), although much the same things are related in this account, as in that of the other two blind men (Mat.20:30).
Luke 18:36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. (KJV)
And hearing the multitude pass by . . . their voices, and the noise of their feet.
He asked what it meant? . . . he wanted to know what all the commotion was about, who was the Person who was passing by, that there was such a multitude after Him?
Luke 18:37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. (KJV)
And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by . . . someone took the time to tell him that is was that Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth, so much talked of, and said to be the Messiah, who had become so famous for His doctrines and miracles, for healing diseases, and dispossessing devils.
Luke 18:38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. (KJV)
And he cried, saying, Jesus thou son of David . . . believing Jesus to be the Messiah, he calls him the son of David, which was a character and title of the Messiah, well known to the Jews, and therefore immediately called out unto Him, to make a request for his sight. Son of David. (Mat.1:1; 12:23; 21:15; 22:42).
Saying, have mercy on me . . . a poor, blind, miserable creature, and restore me to my sight, which would be an act of incredible mercy and goodness.
Luke 18:39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. (KJV)
And they that went before . . . those who preceded Jesus in the company, for He, as yet, was not come up to where the blind man was.
Rebuked him that he should hold his peace . . . they were not at all pleased that he should call Jesus the son of David, which was acknowledging Him to be the Messiah, neither did they want him to cause trouble to Jesus.
But he cried so much the more, thou son of David, have mercy on me . . . the blind man did not stop his call for help, but called out all the more loudly, and with greater forcefulness. This is a lesson to us: when we have need of Christ Jesus and of His worth, excellence and ability, we are not to be discouraged from applying to Him, by anyone.
Luke 18:40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, (KJV)
And Jesus stood . . . He stood still; He made a full stop, going no further.
And commanded him to be brought unto him . . . either by the disciples, or by some of the multitude.
And when he was come near he asked him . . . the following question.
Luke 18:41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. (KJV)
Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? . . . what is it that you want?
And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight . . . this was his request, and what he cried so passionately for; and which he believed Christ, the son of David, was able to do for him.
Luke 18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. (KJV)
And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight . . . just by Jesus speaking, and power with it, He fulfilled the blind man’s desire. Be it to thee as you desire, you have your sight.
Thy faith hath saved thee . . . this speaks the blind man being convinced that Christ Jesus was the Messiah; for it was a tradition among the Jews, that the Messiah was to be the Son of David. Christ rewards the least exercises of true faith, but much more the higher exercises of it. Thy faith hath saved thee . . . or has obtained salvation for thee, a temporal salvation; and it may be also a spiritual and an eternal one: for that is the concern faith has in salvation; FAITH is the means of obtaining and enjoying salvation. Christ Jesus, is the Object of faith, and is the Author of it, and the Finisher of it (Heb.12:2). Also see, "thy faith hath saved thee" (Lk.17:19).
Luke 18:43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. (KJV)
And immediately he received his sight . . . as soon as the words was gone from Jesus’ mouth, power went from Him, and cured the man of his blindness. His eyes were opened at once, and he saw as other men.
And followed him . . . his kind benefactor, with a grateful sense of His goodness, and with strong affection for Him, and faith in Him.
Glorifying God . . . for sending such a Saviour to him; who had done such a wonderful thing for him, for he was certain that none but God could have done this.
And all the people, when they saw it . . . what had been done, how that the man they just before saw was blind, and begging by the way side, now had his sight restored to him, in an instant, and was following Jesus.
Gave praise unto God . . . they ascribed the glory to God, and praised His Name, that He had raised up the Messiah among them; of which this was a clear proof, inasmuch as the eyes of the blind were opened, according to (Isa.35:5).
It is for the glory of God if we follow Jesus, as all those will do whose eyes are opened. We must praise God for His mercies to others, as well as for mercies to ourselves. IF we are to rightly understand these things, we must come to Christ, just like the blind man did, earnestly beseeching Him to open our spiritual eyes, and to show us clearly the supremacy of His precepts, and the highly underestimated value of His salvation.
Will the Son of Man Find Faith on Earth?
This is a hard saying because many are not quite sure what it means, especially in relation to its context. When a question is asked, the answer expected is either a yes or a no. But not with this one. Many assume that the answer implied here is no, and I certainly will agree with that.
Luke is the only Gospel writer who records the question, and he places it at the end of the parable of the persistent widow . . . the widow who refused to take no for an answer. Jesus told this parable, says Luke, to teach His apostles that "they should always pray and not give up" (Lk.18:1). But what has that to do with the Son of Man finding faith on earth when He comes?
The widow in the parable showed faith of an unusually determined quality, NOT personal faith in the unjust judge whom she pestered until he granted her petition to keep her quiet, but faith in the effectiveness of persistent "prayer." The point of the story seems to be: even a hard-headed judge, who "neither feared God nor regard man," saw to it that a widow got her rights, NOT for the sake of seeing justice done but to get rest from her persistent demands. How much more will God, who is NOT an unjust judge but a loving Father, listen to His children's plea for justification!
SO . . . the question: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" It is possible that it is Luke who attaches the question to the parable, since the poor widow had faith, but, in Jesus' teaching it had some other context which is no longer recoverable.
The Coming of the Son of Man is a major theme in the preceding chapter of Luke's record, in the discourse of Jesus about "the day when the Son of Man is revealed" (Lk.17:22-27). The lesson impressed by this discourse on the hearers is that they must keep alert and be ready for that day when it comes. When it comes, God will vindicate his righteous cause and also the cause of His people who trust Him. But they must trust him and not lose heart; they must here and now continue faithfully in the work assigned to them. (This is the lesson also of the parable of the pounds in Luke 19:11-27). The Son of Man, when He comes, will be like the lightning, illuminating "the sky from one end to the other" (Lk.17:24), and He will be able to survey the Earth to see IF there is any faith on it (and how much), and see any "faithful and wise steward" whom his master when He comes will find loyally fulfilling his service (Lk.12:42-44). So the question "Will he find faith on earth?" remains open. I think the answer depends on the faithfulness of those who wait to give account of their stewardship when Judge Jesus calls for it.
How many will there be with faith? It is my humble opinion, NOT many! "Will he find faith on earth?" Very little, according to the way the world is going today. Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV) . . . More and more are walking on the broad road that leads to eternal destruction. BEWARE!!! Which road are you on? Do you trust and obey Jesus, the Master? Or are you on the broad road with the other master, Satan?
Gospel of Luke
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . ch.7 . . ch.8 . . ch.9 . . ch.10 . . ch.11 . . ch.12 . . ch.13 . .ch.13 . . ch.14 . . ch.15 . . ch.16 . . ch.17 . . ch.18 . .ch.19. . ch.20 . . ch.21 . . ch.22 . . ch.23 . . ch.24