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Luke Eighteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

always to pray. Paul also exhorted to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The context makes it clear that such commands refer, not to interminable prayer, but to persistent prayer (Luke 18:7).

Luke 18:2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

Luke 18:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

Luke 18:4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

Luke 18:5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

Luke 18:6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

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?

shall he find faith. Not faith in general, but “the faith.” That is, the true revealed Christian faith. This seems to be a rhetorical question, rather than one of uncertainty, for surely by this time the Lord's omniscience concerning the future had been restored. At the same time, it both warns us concerning the serious scope of latter-day apostasy and also urges us to warn all men of the wrath to come while there is still time to repent.

Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

publican. See note on Luke 5:29.

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.

Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

fast twice. The practice of outward piety—even such self-denying exercises as fasting and tithing—is not the means of earning credit with God. Note that even when the Pharisee prayed, he prayed “with himself” (Luke 18:11), using the first person pronoun five times in his brief prayer.

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.

be merciful. Actually, the publican's prayer asked that God “be propitiated to me, the sinner.” The word used referred to the mercy seat; he was confessing his sin and need of forgiveness, trusting in the blood sprinkled on the mercy-seat for atonement. This repentant faith was sufficient to secure his being “justified,” “declared righteous” before God (Luke 18:14). The Pharisee, on the other hand, prayed “with himself,” rather than God, merely congratulating himself on his own self-righteousness, and thus received no forgiveness. If nothing else, he was filled with the sin of pride—perhaps the worst sin of all, since it was the sin of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6).

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.

Luke 18:15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

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.

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.

as a little child. One must be “born again” to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Therefore, when he is saved he enters his new life spiritually as a “newborn babe” (1 Peter 2:2), not as a grown man. Unless, therefore, one relinquishes all pride of position or attainment when he comes to Christ to receive spiritual life, he cannot receive it.

Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Luke 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

none is good. The “rich young ruler” is called “young” only in Matthew 19:22, a “ruler” only here in Luke 18:18, but all three accounts say he had “great possessions” (Matthew 19:22; Mark 10:22; Luke 18:23). He was quite righteous by most legal standards (except for selfishness), but failed to recognize the true nature of Jesus as the Son of God, calling Him “good” only in the sense that he also considered himself “good.”

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.

Luke 18:21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

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.

Luke 18:23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

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!

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.

needle's eye. Some commentators suggest that the “needle's eye” may have been a small gate in the city wall through which a camel could pass only with difficulty. However, Jesus was referring back to the “ruler” who had just asked how “to inherit eternal life” (Luke 18:18), but was unwilling to give up his wealth to follow Jesus (Luke 18:22-23). Just as it would require a great miracle to get a camel through a needle-eye (possibly by removing all the empty spaces in the atomic structure of its body), so it would take a miracle to get a rich ruler saved. He would have to be willing to become poor (note Luke 6:20), and he was not. To be saved, one must come as one who is “dead” in sin, without any reservations or merit of his own. Nevertheless, with God nothing is impossible (Luke 18:27), and God can so miraculously change a man's heart and life that he becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). See also notes on Matthew 19:22, 26, and notes on Mark 10:25.

Luke 18:26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?

Luke 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

Luke 18:28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.

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,

Luke 18:30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

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.

Luke 18:32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:

Luke 18:33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

rise again. It is amazing how often Christ told His disciples plainly of His coming death and resurrection (Luke 9:22; 13:32; etc.), yet they failed to understand (Luke 24:4-8, 25-27, 44-48) until after His resurrection.

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.

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:

a certain blind man. Jesus healed one blind man as he entered Jericho, two (including Bartimaus) as He was leaving (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52).

Luke 18:36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.

Luke 18:37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

Luke 18:38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

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.

Luke 18:40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,

Luke 18:41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

Luke 18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

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.