Luke 18

* The parable of the importunate widow. (1-8) The Pharisee and

the publican. (9-14) Children brought to Christ. (15-17) The

ruler hindered by his riches. (18-30) Christ foreshows his

death. (31-34) A blind man restored to sight. (35-43)

1-8 All God's people are praying people. Here earnest

steadiness in prayer for spiritual mercies is taught. The

widow's earnestness prevailed even with the unjust judge: she

might fear lest it should set him more against her; but our

earnest prayer is pleasing to our God. Even to the end there

will still be ground for the same complaint of weakness of

9-14 This parable was to convince some who trusted in

themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. God

sees with what disposition and design we come to him in holy

ordinances. What the Pharisee said, shows that he trusted to

himself that he was righteous. We may suppose he was free from

gross and scandalous sins. All this was very well and

commendable. Miserable is the condition of those who come short

of the righteousness of this Pharisee, yet he was not accepted;

and why not? He went up to the temple to pray, but was full of

himself and his own goodness; the favour and grace of God he did

not think worth asking. Let us beware of presenting proud

devotions to the Lord, and of despising others. The publican's

address to God was full of humility, and of repentance for sin,

and desire toward God. His prayer was short, but to the purpose;

God be merciful to me a sinner. Blessed be God, that we have

this short prayer upon record, as an answered prayer; and that

we are sure that he who prayed it, went to his house justified;

for so shall we be, if we pray it, as he did, through Jesus

Christ. He owned himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty

before God. He had no dependence but upon the mercy of God; upon

that alone he relied. And God's glory is to resist the proud,

and give grace to the humble. Justification is of God in Christ;

therefore the self-condemned, and not the self-righteous, are

justified before God.
15-17 None are too little, too young, to be brought to Christ,

who knows how to show kindness to those not capable of doing

service to him. It is the mind of Christ, that little children

should be brought to him. The promise is to us, and to our seed;

therefore He will bid them welcome to him with us. And we must

receive his kingdom as children, not by purchase, and must call

it our Father's gift.
18-30 Many have a great deal in them very commendable, yet

perish for lack of some one thing; so this ruler could not bear

Christ's terms, which would part between him and his estate.

Many who are loth to leave Christ, yet do leave him. After a

long struggle between their convictions and their corruptions,

their corruptions carry the day. They are very sorry that they

cannot serve both; but if one must be quitted, it shall be their

God, not their wordly gain. Their boasted obedience will be

found mere outside show; the love of the world in some form or

other lies at the root. Men are apt to 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.
31-34 The Spirit of Christ, in the Old Testament prophets,

testified beforehand his sufferings, and the glory that should

follow, #1Pe 1:11|. The disciples' prejudices were so strong,

that they would not understand these things literally. They were

so intent upon the prophecies which spake of Christ's glory,

that they overlooked those which spake of his sufferings. People

run into mistakes, because they read their Bibles by halves, and

are only for the smooth things. We are as backward to learn the

proper lessons from the sufferings, crucifixion, and

resurrection of Christ, as the disciples were to what he told

them as to those events; and for the same reason; self-love, and

a desire of worldly objects, close our understandings.
35-43 This poor blind man sat by the wayside, begging. He was

not only blind, but poor, the fitter emblem of the world of

mankind which Christ came to heal and save. The prayer of faith,

guided by Christ's encouraging promises, and grounded on them,

shall not be in vain. The grace of Christ ought to be thankfully

acknowledged, to the glory of God. It is for the glory of God if

we follow Jesus, as those will do whose eyes are opened. We must

praise God for his mercies to others, as well as for mercies to

ourselves. Would we rightly understand these things, we must

come to Christ, like the blind man, earnestly beseeching him to

open our eyes, and to show us clearly the excellence of his

precepts, and the value of his salvation.
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