Luke 18

Parables Concerning Prayer SUMMARY OF LUKE 18: The Widow and the Unjust Judge. The Pharisee and the Publican. Little Children Brought to Christ. The Young Ruler Seeking for Eternal Life. Going Through the Needle's Eye. The Lord's Sufferings Declared to the Twelve. Blind Bartimaeus Healed at Jericho.

Men ought always to pray. Prayer is a privilege and a duty.

Not to faint. Persistence in prayer is requisite to making it effectual. See Eph 6:18. Augustine says: ``God reserves for thee that which he is slow to give thee, that thou mayest learn to entertain a supreme desire and longing for it.''
A judge. The judges of the East are irresponsible, often unjust, usually delay justice for the sake of bribes. A widow. The widow of the East, unless she has powerful friends, is absolutely helpless. In India, she is regarded almost as an outcast. It is only the Bible that proclaims God as the widow's friend.

Avenge me of my adversary. That is, redress the wrong I have suffered.
And he would not for a while. Because selfishly indifferent. This widow troubleth me. What neither the fear of God nor the regard for human rights could do, her persistence accomplished, because her "continual coming wearied him". The Lord said. This is the application of the parable. Shall not God avenge his own elect? If an unjust, hard-hearted judge can be moved by the persistent prayers of a widow, will not the tender, loving, good Father hear the cries of his children?

Though he bear long with them. Rather, as in the Revised Version, "He is long-suffering over them". He is long-suffering for them for their own good, and long-suffering towards their enemies in order that they may have opportunity to repent.
Shall he find faith on the earth? Prayer is the utterance of faith. Prayerlessness is proof of unbelief. The Lord, pained by the unbelief of even his disciples, shows in these words what a burden to him is our unbelief (see Mt 17:17). He spake this parable, etc. The persons described in this verse are so much like the Pharisees that we can hardly believe that they were not. Rabbi Simeon, one of them, said, that if there were only thirty religious men in the world like Abraham, he and his son would be two of them; if only two, he and his son would be those; and if only one, that would be himself. A Pharisee . . . a publican. The one the type of orthodoxy; the other regarded by orthodox Jews a religious outcast. See notes on Mt 3:7 9:9. The Pharisees stood. Stood forth where he could be seen.

Prayed thus with himself. Self was the center of his thoughts.

Not as other men [are]. Pride and contempt of others are manifest.
I fast twice in the week. He enumerates his claims on God. He is very scrupulous about fasting and paying tithes (Le 27:30). The publican, standing afar off. Remote from other worshipers, like a pariah.

Would not lift up so much as [his] eyes. His spirit was so humble and contrite. The Pharisees probably had both hands and eyes lifted up.

Smote upon his breast. An act denoting sorrow.

God be merciful to me a sinner. A humble confession.
This man went . . . justified. With his sins forgiven. His prayer was answered; not the proud boasts of the Pharisee. Ryle says: ``This parable teaches us the spirit that should pervade our prayers. The first parable encourages us to pray, and faint not. The second reminds us how we ought to pray. Both should be often pondered by every true Christian.'' They brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them. See notes on Mt 19:13-15 Mr 10:13-16 It was the customs of the Jews to bring their babes to the synagogue for the rabbi to lay his hands upon and bless. So says the Talmud. And a certain ruler asked him. For notes on the case of the Rich Young Ruler, see Mt 19:16-30; also Mr 10:17-31. The ruler was probably ruler of a synagogue. See Mt 4:23. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem. See notes on Mt 20:17-19 Mr 10:32-34. Luke adds:

All the things that are written by the prophets, etc. For some things written by the prophets, see Ps 16:10 22:7-8 49:15 Isa 53:1-9 Da 9:26.
As he was come nigh to Jericho. This was on his last journey to Jerusalem, a little more than a week before the crucifixion. Matthew and Mark also give accounts of the healing of the blind beggar. See notes on Mt 20:29-34. Compare

Mr 10:46-52. Matthew says there were two blind beggars. "If there were two there certainly was one". Luke and Mark only name the one who was most active and earnest. Mark says his name was Bartimaeus (Mr 10:46). For a description of Jericho, see note on Mt 20:29.
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