Luke Chapter 18
Luke Chapter 18
Luke 18 Outline:
18:01-08 The unjust judge.
18:09-14 The Pharisee and the publican.
18:15-17 Jesus and the children.
18:18-30 The rich young ruler.
18:31-34 Another prophecy of the coming crucifixion.
18:35-43 A blind man receives his sight.
— The young rich man was also a ruler in the kingdom.
— Tax collectors were Israelites who worked for the Romans to collect taxes and had a social status well below sinners.
Luke 18:1-8 The key verse is 18:1. Jesus told His disciples that they should pray always and not give up. This is often ignored today, and even then, the Jews believed that three times a day was the maximum that you should pray (Daniel 6:10). Jesus then tells a parable about an unjust judge and a widow that bothered him all the time. He ignored her for a while, but when she would not leave him alone, he gave into her commands and gave her what she wanted. 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, how much more so will God answer those that pray to Him continuously.
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-five years for something to happen, then when I gave up, it suddenly it happened overnight. The thing to remember is that the time is on God’s calendar and He will move when that time comes.
Luke 18:9-14 Jesus taught about the “Holier than thou” attitude. The Pharisee was a religious man while the tax collectors were usually dishonest, and betrayed their own countrymen. They were Jews that collected taxes for the Romans and kept a portion for themselves. They had a special class ranked lower than sinners.
The Pharisee was very proud of himself. He mentions God in the first sentence, but talks about himself the rest of his prayer. He covers the things that he is not, then the good things that he does. He stopped just short of thanking God for creating the perfect man.
The tax collector would not even look up to heaven. He was truly convicted of his sin, knew that he was a sinner, and begged God’s mercy. He made no excuses, just God be merciful to me (the) sinner. Jesus said that he went home justified, not the Pharisee.
A key verse is 14, “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.
Luke 18:15-17 People wanted to bring children to Jesus but the disciples rebuked them, maybe thinking that Jesus was too busy or too important. Most of the time religious leaders ignore the children, but Jesus was different. He summoned them and explained that we need to be as little children to enter into the kingdom. Children are not ashamed to display utter dependence on their parents, unworldliness, openness, and complete trust.
Luke 18:18-30 Luke is the only one that tells us that this man was a ruler. The rich young ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus mentioned five commandments and the young man said that he had kept all of these.
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 God’s before me, and Jesus discerned that this man’s God was his money instead and offered him a chance to follow Him. It made the man sad.
I had a good friend that was very wealthy. He had worked hard for it and he really loved his money. When he came to the Lord, the Lord rode his back to give, give and give, a thousand dollars at a time. It took years of painful giving until it finally just did not bother him anymore. When he no longer cared, 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 saw that the man went away sad and how difficult it was for those who are rich to enter into the Kingdom of God. It goes back to the first commandment, God is a jealous God and He will not allow you to have other gods before Him. You can have them, or Him, but you will not have them both.
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. There are a few ways to look at this. One is that Jesus was using a humorous illustration. Another is that eye of a needle referred to a rounded gate of a city, that a camel could get through, but just barely. It was a very difficult fit and when loaded with baggage, impossible. Either way, the meaning is the same. If your money comes before God in your life, you will not be entering into His kingdom easily.
It was commonly held that money was the blessing of God, and that the rich were the ones with the best chance of being saved. Now Jesus was saying that wealth would 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. God was more demanding than any of them wanted to know, but more generous than they dared hope for.
When Peter tells Jesus that they have left everything, Jesus reassures him that there will be a reward. The give and it will be given to you is one of God’s laws and I have seen it work in our life so many times. When you have a genuine spirit of self-sacrifice, God supplies the needs.
Luke 18:31-34 Jesus explained His coming crucifixion, death and resurrection, and this was the seventh time in Luke that He spoke of this suffering (5:35; 9:22, 43–45; 12:50; 13:32; 17:25; 18:31).
The disciples understood none of these things because it was hidden from them. They heard the words, but they did not understand what it meant until they were standing at His tomb and He wasn’t in it.
Luke 18:35-43 As Jesus came near Jericho, a blind man called to Jesus “Have mercy on me!” Jesus had the man brought to Him and asked him “What do you want me to do?” Then the man asked to receive his sight. Jesus merely said “Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you.” The man could see again.
This story reminds me of the 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.” He then got what he asked for.
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1. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus encouraged us to "pray and not lose heart”, that God would “give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night”. He also said, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”. What are your thoughts on this last statement?
2. Jesus showed that a spirit of humility was more important than our works in the parable of “The Pharisee and the Tax Collector”. How can we better cultivate this kind of humility?
3. In Luke 18:15-17, Jesus said that we are to receive the kingdom of God “like a child”. What do you think are the qualities that He was referring to?
4. Jesus told the rich ruler (Luke 18:18-25) that he had to sell all of his belongings and distribute them to the poor in order to follow Him. How do you think this parable applies to us?
5. When Jesus described the way He would die, non of His twelve disciples seemed to understand, even though it was said very literally. Why do you think that was the case?Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org