Trouble and perplexity should drive us to prayer, for it is persistent and believing prayer that drives trouble and perplexity away. There is, however, no way of approach to God on the ground of our own merits, but only on the ground of God’s mercy as shown at the blood-sprinkled mercy seat (“mercy” is lit. “propitiation.” The publican said, “be toward me as thou art when thou lookest upon the atoning blood”).
True discipleship is conditioned upon receiving the Lord Jesus Christ with the simplicity and humility of a child, being willing to follow Him and submit to His discipline whatever it may cost us in the things of this world, being confident that whatever we have left behind for His sake will be abundantly made up to us in better things, both here and hereafter.
1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
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.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
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.
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.
15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
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.
17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
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.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
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.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
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!
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.
26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
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,
30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
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.
32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
35 ¶ And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
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.
40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
Luke 18:1 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 18:2-8 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 18:9-14 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 18:15-17 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 18:18-43 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 18:1-8 – The Lesson for Dark Days
There are three phases in our Lord’s teaching about prayer—that of Matthew 6, Luke 18, and the words of John 14 and 15. In Luke 18:1-8 He exhorts to uniformity and urgency. There is an aspect of prayer that we are in danger of overlooking when the skies are blue and the sun is shining, and that is, the need of holy violence.
This lesson is taught, in the parable of this paragraph, by a striking contrast which may be stated thus: If an unjust and ungodly judge will finally grant a just petition, out of base and selfish motives and merely to save himself from being worried by a defenseless and oppressed woman, how much more shall the just and merciful God hear the cry and avenge the cause of those whom He loves. If answers to certain prayers, which we have offered in an agony of tears, are slow in coming, we may be sure, either that the time is not ripe, or that He is going to do something better. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 18:6—Hear what the unjust judge saith.
The force of this parable lies in its succession of vivid contrasts, which rise to an irresistible climax.
The judge is unjust.—He neither fears God nor regards man. His one idea is to extort as much money as he can from the prisoners who desire to get out of gaol, and from those that want to keep them in, or put others to share their fate. But God is our Father, unimpeachable in his integrity, and only eager to promote our welfare.
The judge had no personal interest in the claimant.—She had no personal attraction for him. Had she been possessed of property, he might have cared more. But now he looked on her as a pest that plagued and worried him. But we are God’s elect, over whom his tender heart vearns. Did He not choose us before all the worlds unto his glory?
The judge answered the widow’s cry just to save himself trouble.—Whenever he went to his seat, there she was. Though he had refused to hear her a score of times, there was her voice again, as clear and penetrating as ever. She had been forcibly hurried from his presence by his officials, and she had been borne screaming and remonstrating into the rear; but she never knew herself defeated. At last he could bear it no longer, and gave orders that her patrimony should be restored.
And will not God do as much, as, generation after generation, He sees his Church, like a widowed soul, oppressed by the great enemy and avenger? As He hears the cries of martyrs and saints; the perpetual prayer, Come, Lord Jesus; the insolent boast of the foe—will He not arse and avenge? Yes, verily, speedily! But it may seem long to us, because one thousand years with Him are as one day. —Our Daily Homily
Luke 18:9-17 – Those Whom God Accepts
We are taught here the spirit in which we should pray. Too many pray “with themselves.” The only time that we may thank God for not being as others is when we attribute the contrast to His grace, I Timothy 1:12-14. Let it never be forgotten that those who will be justified and stand accepted before God are they who are nothing in their own estimate.
To be self-emptied and poor in spirit is the fundamental and indispensable preparation for receiving the grace of God. “Be merciful to me”, cried the publican. There is a “reconciliation” for our sins, is the answer of Hebrews 2:17. Each penitent counts himself the sinner, I Timothy 1:15. Bow yourself at the feet of Christ and He will lift you to His throne.
We think that children must grow up to become like us before they are eligible to the Kingdom. Nay, we must grow down to become like them, in simplicity, in humility and in faith. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 18:10 – One begins by reforming his neighbors and the other by reforming himself; the one by looking around, and the other by looking within; the one by sweeping the streets of the city, the other by cleansing the rooms of his own house; the one by attempting to re-model society, the other by seeking a change in his own character.
Luke 18:18-30 – The One Thing Needful
The young ruler was a man of irreproachable character. He might have said of himself all that the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:4, etc. But he was restless and unsatisfied. He felt that Jesus had the key to a life deeper than he had experienced, and he longed to possess it. He was so much in earnest that he knelt in the crowded thoroughfare before the despised Nazarene, Mark 10:17.
He did not know himself. He thought he possessed that love which fulfills the Law, Romans 13:10. Our Lord desired to prove to him that he was deficient in that love, and therefore could not have the eternal life which is love. He did this by suggesting that the young ruler should renounce all and accompany Him in a self-giving for others that must end in a cross. But he shrank back. He dared not face a life of simple faith in God for the supply of temporal needs, and of absolute self-giving to a cross. For all who dare this, whatever is right and good is given back to be held and used under God’s direction. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 18:24 – It is not the fact that a man has riches which keeps him from the kingdom of God – but the fact that riches have him.
Luke 18:31-43 – The Reward of Faith
Our Lord knew what was awaiting Him. He laid down His life “of Himself.” But all the significance of His life and death was concealed from the Apostles and others. Their eyes were blinded, till the glory of the Resurrection morning had dawned and the day of Pentecost had fully come.
Our Lord’s mind must have been filled with the anticipation of the momentous issues to be decided; but He was sufficiently at leisure from Himself to hear the cry of distress from this blind beggar. How absolutely He placed Himself at the disposal of those who needed His help! Human need and sorrow always commanded Him. Each comer was able to draw all the grace he required, according to the measure of the bucket of his faith when let down into that infinite well. There is no reason why each of us should not be made whole and follow Christ, glorifying Him. But we are blind! —Through the Bible Day by Day