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Bible Study: Luke, Chapter Eighteen

  • RHM Bible Study, Luke Chapter Eighteen from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Transcript: Today we are going to continue our Bible study and we will be studying Luke Chapter 18 in depth. You can follow along in your own Bible if you like. I will be reading from the World English Bible because it is copyright free. 


    After the meeting today, or sometime this week, please take the matching quiz that I have prepared for you on the website. For those that are having problems with the quizzes, we are now including the questions at the bottom of the teaching. Thanks to everyone that has participated so far. Let’s get started:


    First, let’s set our location. Jesus made two circuits through Perea stopping in Bethany each time. Bethany was a small quiet town on the Mount of Olives and a great place to get away from the crowds and pray. Jesus ministered in this area for about three months, gradually making His way to Jerusalem. This era is called the “Perean Ministry of Jesus” and it spans from the end of Luke chapter 9 through chapter 18. That is where this chapter took place.

    Luke Chapter 18 beginning in verse 1 reading from the World English Bible: He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up, 

    Jesus told His disciples that they must always pray and not give up. This does not mean that we spend all day on our knees praying, but that we should not lose hope and stop praying. The Jews believed that three times a day was the maximum that you should pray (Daniel 6:10). Jesus prayed a lot, but He also did a lot of public speaking so He did not spend 24/7 on His knees praying, though sometimes He prayed all night. 

    The point is that we are not to lose hope and give up. Believe me, you can become so weak and discouraged that you stop praying entirely. I have been there. Once when our business dried up, after several months with no income, unanswered prayers, and heavens of brass, we packing to move out of our house, and I no longer had the energy to pray. I had prayed, and prayed, and been prayed for, but nothing had changed - in the natural. Then suddenly we were pushed into ministry almost overnight. Things were changing behind the scenes and lining up, but we couldn’t see them.

    Only Luke provided Jesus’ parables about prayer: the parables of the Friend at Midnight (11:5–8), the Persistent Widow (18:1–8), and the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (18:9–14). Jesus told his disciples to keep on asking, seeking and knocking in Luke 11:9; Matt 7:7. This is the same line of thought, never give up.

    2 saying, “There was a judge in a certain city who didn’t fear God, and didn’t respect man. 3  A widow was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, ‘Defend me from my adversary!’ 4  He wouldn’t for a while, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God, nor respect man, 5  yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.’ ”
    Luke once again uses the story of a widow, who was among the most powerless members of the ancient society. She often went to the judge, who was not a God fearing man, and asked him for help, but he ignored her…for a while. “She will wear me out” means literally: “lest she come and give me a black eye” which is a bit humorous. The judge is called “unrighteous” because he had not wanted to give the widow justice, but instead he felt that she was a burden.

    6 The Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. 7  Won’t God avenge his chosen ones who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? 8  I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

    Jesus is not comparing God to an unjust judge, but saying “How much more so…” If even an unrighteous judge will do what is good when someone is persistent, how much more so will God answer those that pray to Him continuously. The real question is not whether God can, but whether His servants will persist into victory.

    God’s timing is His own, Peter said that a day is as a thousand years to God, and a thousand years as a day (2 Peter 3:8). I have waited twenty years for something to happen, then when I gave up, it seemed to happen overnight. The thing to remember is that the date is on God’s calendar and He will move when that day comes. You are closer than you were yesterday. Jesus then asked how many people “will he find on the earth who have faith” when He returns. Sadly it is looking like a small percentage. 

    9 He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others. 

    That is an amazing statement to me. I never heard anyone preach that and would have never thought that would be in the Bible until I read it for myself. Jesus spoke a parable to those “who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised all others.” Religion without the intimate relationship is a nasty thing and He directly addressed the “Holier than thou” attitude. 

    10  “Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. 

    The Pharisees were a very strict sect of Judaism, known as the religious elite. The tax collectors were usually Jewish men who worked for the Roman occupiers. It was a lucrative position, but they were considered traitors, thieves, and were hated because they often over-collected and kept it for themselves.Tax collectors were a special social class that was ranked lower than other sinners.  

    11  The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12  I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.’ 

    The Pharisee prayed to himself, and He thanked God that he was not a sinner like everyone else. He mentions God in the first sentence, but then talks about himself for the rest of his prayer. He covers the things that he is not, then the good things that he does. In his short prayer he repeated the word “I” five times, and he stopped just short of thanking God for creating the perfect man. 

    In those days many Jews fasted on the second and fifth days of each week, because they believed that Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive the law on the fifth day of the week, and that he came down with the law on the second day of the week. It is worth noting that Monday and Thursday were the market days when Jerusalem was full of country people. Those who fasted whitened their faces and appeared in ragged clothes, so those days gave them the biggest possible audience. He fasted two days a week, and he was a tither, so add more points for that. This Pharisee was proud of his accomplishments and confident that He had earned God’s approval when comparing himself to other men. 

    13  But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    The tax collector would not even look up to heaven. He was truly convicted of his sin, he knew beyond a shadow of doubt that he was a sinner, and he begged for God’s mercy. He made no excuses, just asking God be merciful to him, the worst of sinners. While the Pharisee thought that he was better than other men, the tax collector thought he was worse than other men. Jesus said that the tax collector went home justified, but not the Pharisee.

    Verse 14 is very important, “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” I have seen this come true time after time in my own life. The way up in the kingdom, is down. Serving, and putting others needs before your own, and soon people will be serving you, and putting your needs before their own. Give something away, and more will be given back to you. Pray for others, you will be blessed. Kingdom dynamics work backwards from self-centered ones. C.S. Lewis said that “humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less” and I think that is a very true statement.


    We will gain nothing if we come to God in the lie of pride. The principle that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” is so important that He repeated it three times in scripture (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).

    15 They were also bringing their babies to him, that he might touch them. But when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 

    People wanted to bring children to Jesus but the disciples rebuked them, maybe thinking that Jesus was too busy or too important. This was often done on the eve of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). During this age, adult men were the key members of society, women quite secondary, and children were to be seen but not heard. Most of the religious leaders ignored the children, but Jesus was different, He welcomed them. 

    16 Jesus summoned them, saying, “Allow the little children to come to me, and don’t hinder them, for God’s Kingdom belongs to such as these. 

    Mark 10:14 tells us that when Jesus saw it, He was “greatly displeased” with the disciples and He took the children up in His arms, and blessed them. His disciples were limiting access to Jesus to those they deemed worthy, thinking they were pleasing Him, but He was greatly displeased with them. 

    This same attitude exists in many churches today. We like to choose who we will share God with, and who we will turn away, but we are supposed to bring them all to Jesus and let Him sort them out. We should let the Holy Spirit minister to whom He wants to, or God will use someone else to reach them, and it will be us who will be left out.

    17  Most certainly, I tell you, whoever doesn’t receive God’s Kingdom like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.”

    In their humility, openness, simplicity, and faith, little children are accurate pictures of what it means to become children of God. They are not independent, worldly, or prideful. They trust their parents to take care of them. We see the Kingdom of God mentioned here as a place that we can enter, but not everyone will. Our attitude can prevent our entrance. 

    18 A certain ruler asked him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 Jesus asked him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good, except one: God. 

    This story of a rich young ruler is told in Mark 10, Matthew 19, and here in Luke 18. The title “Good Teacher” was never applied to other Rabbis in Jesus’ day, because it implied sinlessness, a complete and thorough goodness. In essence, the ruler was calling Jesus God, which happened to be correct. Jesus asked him why did he call Him that. This is not a denial of His deity, but more like when He asked Peter “Who do you say that I am?” The ruler asked Jesus what must he do to inherit eternal life. 
     
    20  You know the commandments: ‘Don’t commit adultery,’ ‘Don’t murder,’ ‘Don’t steal,’ ‘Don’t give false testimony,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

    Jesus listed five of the ten commandments given in Exodus chapter 20 — the ones dealing with human relationships. The ten commandments are amazing. Just think of how anyone of them would affect the world, if everyone obeyed them. What if not one would steal? 

    21 He said, “I have observed all these things from my youth up.” 22 When Jesus heard these things, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

    The ruler claimed that he had kept all of those since his youth. This was outwardly possible for in Philippians 3:6, Paul said as far as the righteousness which is in the law, that he was blameless. But Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, gave us the real meaning of the law; it goes to the heart, and not just our actions. You can have a heart filled with adultery even if you never act on it, a heart filled with murder even if you never do it, and a heart that wants to steal, even if you never steal. God looks at the heart as well as our actions.

    That is how the earth had become corrupt in the days of Noah. Genesis 6:5 reads: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” 

    Then Jesus put His finger on something that the young man did not want to give up: his money. The first commandment is that you shall have no other Gods before me, and Jesus discerned that this man’s God was his money, and He offered him a chance to fix it and follow Him. 

    23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was very rich.

    It made the man very sad, and Jesus noticed what a struggle, an inner fight, that the young rich man was having. You could say that he had climbed to the top of the ladder of success, only to find his ladder leaned against the wrong building.

    24 Jesus, seeing that he became very sad, said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into God’s Kingdom! 25  For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.”

    Jesus saw what a struggle it was for those who are rich to enter into the Kingdom of God. It goes back to the first commandment, because God is a jealous God and He will not allow you to have other gods before Him. You cannot serve God and mammon. You can have them, or Him, but you will not have them both at the same time for you will love one and hate the other. 

    I had a good friend that was very wealthy. He had worked hard for it and he really loved his money because it was hard to come by. When he first came to the Lord, the Lord rode his back to give, give, and give, a thousand dollars at a time. He said that it seemed like every time he went to church, the Lord prompted him to give someone money, and it made him sad. It took years of painful giving until it finally just did not bother him anymore. He became a cheerful giver, and when he did, the Lord stopped pressuring him. It was ok for him to have money, but the money could not have a grip on him. When he began to freely let it go, the Lord multiplied what he had. Now he is a wealthy, cheerful giver.


    Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. After research, it appears that Jesus was using a humorous illustration picturing a camel, which is the largest animal commonly seen in Palestine, passing through the eye of a sewing needle. He did this in other places like in Luke 6:42 when He said to remove the tree from your own eye and you can then see the speck in your brother’s eye.

    Some suggest that the “needle” refers to the needle gate in the wall of Jerusalem, a gate that was too low for camels to get through without removing everything from their backs. That sounds good, but the Greek word refers to an actual needle that is used with thread. Furthermore, the Needle’s Eye Gate didn’t exist in Jesus’ day. It was put in later when the city was rebuilt after its destruction by the Romans in 70 AD, so Jesus had never seen that gate. Some say that He meant a camel hair rope through a needle. Whatever it is, the meaning of the saying is simple, if your money comes before God in your life, you will have great difficulty entering into His kingdom. 

    26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

    Jesus said that wealth could prevent you from entering into the kingdom, so they asked “Then who can be saved?” Jesus replied basically that with man, it is impossible to be saved, but all things are possible with God. He would make a way and it would be free to all. It was commonly held that money was the stamp of God’s approval, and the rich were the ones with the best chance of being saved. It is still thought that today in many places, but wealth and great education can be worse than poverty if they turn you away from knowing God.

    28 Peter said, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 He said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, for God’s Kingdom’s sake, 30  who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the world to come, eternal life.”

    When Peter tells Jesus that they have left everything, Jesus reassures him that there will be a reward. Peter and the other apostles had paid a high price and left everything behind to follow Jesus. They had done what the rich young ruler could not. Jesus said they would receive many times more what they had given up, and eternal life. You cannot out give God, because He will return it multiplied. That said, a lot of what they would receive would be spiritual riches in the kingdom because He could not have meant that they would literally receive many wives and mothers back in the natural.

    When you have a genuine spirit of self-sacrifice, God supplies the needs. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and the other things will be added to you.We should willingly use what God has given us to help advance his kingdom. Money can be a major stumbling block, but God can change anyone.

    31 He took the twelve aside, and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written through the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be completed. 32  For he will be delivered up to the Gentiles, will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit on. 33  They will scourge and kill him. On the third day, he will rise again.” 

    Jesus took the twelve apostles aside and explained His coming crucifixion, death, and resurrection. This was the seventh time in Luke that He had spoken of what was coming ( Luke 5:35; 9:22, 43–45; 12:50; 13:32; 17:25; 18:31).

    Here are some of the main old testament prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled during the life of Jesus.
    1. The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem: (Micah 5:2 / Matthew 2:1–6 / Luke 2:1-20)
    2. He would be born from a virgin: (Isaiah 7:14 / Matthew 1:18–25 / Luke 1:26-38)
    3. He would be a prophet like Moses: (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18–19 / John 7:40)
    4. He would enter Jerusalem in triumph: ( Zechariah 9:9 / Matthew 21:1–9; / John 12:12–16)
    5. He would be rejected by his own people: (Isaiah 53:1, 3 / Psalm 118:22 / Matthew 26:3–4 / John 12:37–43 / Acts 4:1–12)
    6. He would be betrayed by one of his followers: (Psalm 41:9 / Matthew 26:14–16, 47–50 / Luke 22:19–23)
    7. He would be tried and condemned: ( Isaiah 53:8 / Luke 23:1–25 / Matthew 27:1–2)
    8. He would be silent before his accusers: (Isaiah 53:7 / Matthew 27:12–14 / Mark 15:3–4 / Luke 23:8–10)
    9. He would be struck and spat on by his enemies: (Isaiah 50:6 / Matthew 26:67; 27:30 / Mark 14:65)
    10. He would be mocked and insulted: (Psalm 22:7–8 / Matthew 27:39–44 / Luke 23:11, 35)
    11. He would die by crucifixion: (Psalm 22:14, 16–17 / Matthew 27:31 / Mark 15:20, 25)
    12. He would suffer with criminals and pray for his enemies: (Isaiah 53:12 / Matthew 27:38 / Mark 15:27–28 / Luke 23:32–34)
    13. He would be given vinegar and gall to drink: (Psalm 69:21 / Matthew 27:34 / John 19:28–30)
    14. Others would cast lots for His garments: (Psalm 22:18 / Matthew 27:35  / John 19:23–24)
    15. Not one of His bones would be broken: (Exodus 12:46 / John 19:31–36)
    16. He was to die as a sacrifice for sin: (Isaiah 53:5–6, 8, 10–12 / John 1:29, 11:49–52 / Acts 10:43 13:38–39)
    17. He would be raised from the dead: (Psalm 16:10 / Matthew 28:1–10 / Acts 2:22–32)
    18. He is now at God’s right hand: (Psalm 110:1 / Mark 16:19 / Luke 24:50–51)
    All of these things were fulfilled in the life of Jesus. 

    34 They understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they didn’t understand the things that were said. 

    The disciples understood none of these things because it was hidden from them. They heard the words, but they did not understand what He meant until they were standing at His tomb and He wasn’t in it. Then it dawned on them: “Hey didn’t He say something about that happening?”

    Why was it hidden from them? Probably because they couldn’t handle this revelation yet. They had visions of Jesus ruling as a King and them standing on either side of Him. If they really knew what would happen to Jesus, the suffering, and how different it would be than their own conceptions of following the Messiah to glory, they might have given up right then and there.

    35 As he came near Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the road, begging. 36 Hearing a multitude going by, he asked what this meant. 37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 He cried out, “Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way rebuked him, that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “You son of David, have mercy on me!”

    Jesus comes near Jericho, which is about 14 miles away from Jerusalem, with a multitude following Him. A blind man heard the crowd and asked what was going on. Mark 10:46 tells us that his name was Bartimaeus and he was a beggar. Mark says that they were leaving Jericho and Luke says they were approaching Jericho. This may be because ancient Jericho was destroyed and Herod built the new Jericho about a mile away.


    Jericho is one of the oldest cities in the world with remains dating back over 10,000 years. It is called the city of palm trees. What made this site draw people was a natural spring of water that bubbles up from the ground. It is called “The fountain of Elisha” and is probably the one that the prophet Elisha made sweet by throwing salt into it in 2 Kings 2:19–22. This is the only spring of good water to be found anywhere near Jericho. It is not a lake, but a large and plentiful natural spring that bubbles up from the foot of the mountain. 

    The story of Bartimaeus reminds me of the persistent widow and the judge from earlier. They tried to get the blind man to be quiet, but he cried out all the more “Jesus, have mercy on me.”, and he eventually got what he asked for. 

    40 Standing still, Jesus commanded him to be brought to him. When he had come near, he asked him, 41  “What do you want me to do?” He said, “Lord, that I may see again.” 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, praised God. 

    When He heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he called to Jesus and said: “Have mercy on me!” Jesus had the man brought to Him and asked him “What do you want me to do?” The man asked to receive his sight. Jesus merely said “Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you” and the man could see again. 

    ….

    That concludes our Bible study on Luke Chapter 18. Thank you for watching and being a part of Refreshing Hope!

    Click here to take the quiz on Luke Chapter 18, or scroll down to the text version below:

    Quiz Questions on Luke 18:

    1. Jesus spoke a parable to His disciples that they must always _____, and not give up.
    2. Jesus said “There was a judge in a certain city who didn’t fear God, and didn’t respect man. A _____ was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, ‘Defend me from my adversary!’ “
    3. Jesus continued on: The judge wouldn’t for help her a while, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear _____, nor respect man,  yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.’ ”
    4. Jesus said, “Listen to what the _____ judge says. Won’t God avenge his chosen ones who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? I tell you that he will avenge them quickly.
    5. Jesus said, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find _____ on the earth?”
    6. Jesus spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who _____ all others.
    7. Jesus said,   “Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a _____, and the other was a tax collector.” 
    8. Jesus said, The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men, extortionists, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast _____ a week. I give tithes of all that I get.’ 
    9. Jesus said that the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house _____ rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
    10. They were also bringing their babies to Jesus, that he might touch them. But when the _____ saw it, they rebuked them. 
    11. Jesus summoned them, saying, “Allow the little _____ to come to me, and don’t hinder them, for God’s Kingdom belongs to such as these. 
    12. Jesus said, “Most certainly, I tell you, whoever doesn’t receive God’s _____ like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.”
    13. A certain ruler asked Jesus, saying, “Good _____, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus asked him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good, except one: God. 
    14. Jesus said, “You know the commandments: ‘Don’t commit adultery,’ ‘Don’t _____,’ ‘Don’t steal,’ ‘Don’t give false testimony,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
    15. The rich young ruler said, “I have observed all these things from my youth up.” When Jesus heard these things, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor. Then you will have _____ in heaven; then come, follow me.”
    16. Jesus, seeing that the rich young ruler became very sad, said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into God’s Kingdom! For it is easier for a _____ to enter in through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.”
    17. Jesus took the twelve aside, and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to _____, and all the things that are written through the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be completed. For he will be delivered up to the Gentiles, will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit on. They will scourge and kill him. On the third day, he will rise again.” 
    18. As Jesus came near _____, a certain blind man sat by the road, begging. Hearing a multitude going by, he asked what this meant. They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 
    19. The blind man cried out, “Jesus, you son of _____, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him, that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “You son of _____, have mercy on me!”
    20. Standing still, Jesus commanded that the blind man be brought to him. When he had come near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do?” He said, “Lord, that I may see again.” Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight. Your _____ has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, praised God. 

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Barbara Neahring
Barbara Neahring

Thank you!  Your teachings are so good!  

Jan 14