Luke 18#Lu 18:1| XCVI. PARABLE OF THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW. #Lu 18:1-8| And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint. The parable resembles that of the friend who came at midnight (#Lu 11:5-10|), but there the petitioner asked a gift, and here the request is for justice and deliverance. This parable teaches that the saints must be patient in prayer until the Lord's return. (TFG 535) #Lu 18:2| There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man. An utterly abandoned character. (TFG 534) #Lu 18:3| There was a widow. In Scripture language widowhood is symbolic of defenselessness (#Ex 22:22-24 De 10:18 27:19 Mal 3:5 Mr 12:40|), and the early church concerned itself much about the welfare of widows (#Ac 6:1 9:41 Jas 1:27 1Ti 5:3|). Avenge me of. Rather, Do justice to me as to "mine adversary." (TFG 534) #Lu 18:4,5| Though I fear not God, nor regard man, etc. The point of this soliloquy is this: Though the high motives such as accountability to God for my office and my good name and respect among men do not lead me to do this woman justice, yet will I do it simply to be rid of her importunity. (TFG 534-535) #Lu 18:6| And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. This expression indicates that the Lord paused for a moment, that the parable might be fully grasped before he made the application. (TFG 535) #Lu 18:7| And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night, and yet he is longsuffering over them? The application is an argument a fortiori, and presents a triple antithesis: 1. In the petitioned--a just God and an unrighteous judge. 2. In the petitioners --a despised widow and the beloved elect. 3. In the petition--the frequent visits of the one, and the continual cries of the many. (TFG 535) #Lu 18:8| I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Though a beloved people cry continually unto a just God, yet will he in mercy be longsuffering to their enemies, and because of the longsuffering he will seem to delay his answer, but the delay will not be extended a moment longer than necessary. When the season of repentance is past, and the measure of iniquity is full (#Ge 15:16|), then the Lord's answer will be speedy, immediate. But despite this admonition to pray without discouragement, and this promise to answer with all speed, God's patience with the wicked, and his consequent delays in answering the prayers of the just, will prove such a trial to his people as to leave it questionable whether any of them will have faith enough to pray until the coming of the Lord. We find an echo of this passage at #2Pe 3:1-13|. Compare also #Mt 24:12,13|. (TFG 535) #Lu 18:9| XCVII. PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN. #Lu 18:9-14| And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought. It is commonly said that this parable teaches humility in prayer, but the preface and conclusion (see #Lu 18:14|) show that it is indeed to set forth generally the difference between self-righteousness and humility, and that an occasion of prayer is chosen because it best illustrates the point which the Lord desired to teach. The parable shows that the righteousness in which these parties trusted was devoid of that true charity or heart-love toward God and man without which our characters are worthless in the sight of God (#Pr 30:12,13 Isa 65:5 1Co 13:1-3|). (TFG 536) #Lu 18:10| Two men went up into the temple to pray. The temple was the appointed place for Jewish prayer. To it the Jew went if near at hand, and towards it he prayed it afar off. The stated hours of prayer were 9 A.M. and 3 P.M., but men went there to pray whenever they felt like it. The one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The two represent the extremes of Jewish social and religious life. See TFG "#Mt 3:7|" and see TFG "Lu 3:12". (TFG 536) #Lu 18:11| The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself. This may mean that he stood alone, withdrawing from the contamination of others, but it seems rather to mean that he prayed having himself, rather than God, uppermost in his thoughts. God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. His prayer is more a boast as to himself than an expression of worship toward God (#Re 3:17,18|), and he makes the sinful record of the publican a dark background on which to display the bright contrast of his own character--a character for which he was thankful, and apparently with reason. (TFG 536) #Lu 18:12| I fast twice in the week. The law appointed one fast in the year, namely: on the Day of Atonement (#Le 16:29,30|), but the Pharisees fasted on Mondays and Thursdays of each week. I give tithes of all that I get. I give the tenth part of my income. The law required that tithes be given from the corn, wine, oil, and cattle (#De 14:22,23|), but the Pharisees took account of the humblest herbs of the garden, and gave a tenth of their mint, anise, and cummin (#Mt 23:23|). Thus he confessed his virtues rather than his sins. (TFG 536-537) #Lu 18:13| But the publican, standing afar off. Remote from the Holy Place. Would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven. #Ps 123:1,2 40:12 Ezr 9:6|. But smote his breast. As if to remind himself of the stroke of God which he so richly deserved (#Na 2:7 Lu 23:48|). Saying, God be thou merciful to me a sinner. He makes full confession of his sin without excuse or justification, and without offset of righteousness. Moreover, he petitions for no temporal blessings, but simply asks for mercy (#1Ti 1:15|). (TFG 537) #Lu 18:14| This man went down to his house justified rather than the other. We are taught here, as in the parable of the prodigal son (#Lu 15:11-32|), that the penitent unrighteous are more acceptable to God than the righteous who make no confession of their sins. For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. See TFG "#Lu 14:11|". The Pharisee was an example of the first, and the publican of the second. (TFG 537) #Lu 18:15| XCIX. BLESSING CHILDREN. CONCERNING CHILDLIKENESS. (In Peraea.) #Mt 19:13-15 Mr 10:13-16 Lu 18:15-17| And they were bringing unto him also their babes, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:13|". #Lu 18:16| Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God. See TFG "#Mr 10:14|". #Lu 18:17| Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. See TFG "#Mr 9:37|". #Lu 18:18| C. THE RICH RULER. PERIL OF RICHES. REWARD OF SACRIFICE. PARABLE OF THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD. (In Peraea.) #Mt 19:16-20:16 Mr 10:17-31 Lu 18:18-30| And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? See TFG "#Mr 10:17|". #Lu 18:19| Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, even God. See TFG "#Mr 10:18|". #Lu 18:20| Thou knowest the commandments, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:19|". #Lu 18:21| All these things have I observed from my youth up. See TFG "#Mr 10:20|". #Lu 18:22| One thing thou lackest yet. A direct answer to the direct question, "What lack," etc. (#Mt 19:20|). Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. See TFG "#Mr 10:21|". #Lu 18:23| But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich. See TFG "#Mr 10:22|". #Lu 18:24| And Jesus seeing him. See TFG "#Mr 10:22|". Said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! See TFG "#Mr 10:23|". #Lu 18:25| For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. See TFG "#Mr 10:25|". #Lu 18:26| And they that heard it said, Then who can be saved? See TFG "#Mr 10:26|". #Lu 18:27| The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. See TFG "#Mr 10:27|". #Lu 18:28| Lo, we have left our own, and followed thee. See TFG "#Mr 10:28|". #Lu 18:29,30| There is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:29|". #Lu 18:30| Who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life. See TFG "#Mr 10:29|". #Lu 18:31| CI. FORETELLING HIS PASSION. REBUKING AMBITION. (Peraea, or Judaea, near the Jordan.) #Mt 20:17-28 Mr 10:32-45 Lu 18:31-34| And he took unto him the twelve, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:32|". #Lu 18:32,33| For he shall be delivered up unto the Gentiles, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:33|". #Lu 18:34| And they understood none of these things, etc. So fixed and ineradicable was their false conception of the Messianic reign that they could not believe that what Jesus said could be literally true (#Mt 16:22|). Only later did the full significance of his saying dawn upon them (#Joh 12:16-14:26|). (TFG 555) #Lu 18:35| CII. BARTIMAEUS AND HIS COMPANION HEALED. (At Jericho.) #Mt 20:29-34 Mr 10:46-52 Lu 18:35-43| As he drew nigh unto Jericho. Jesus came from the Jordan, and was entering Jericho by its eastern gate. (TFG 558) #Lu 18:36| And hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. As the crowd following Jesus passed by, Bartimaeus asked its meaning and learned of the presence of Jesus. Jesus on this last journey went in advance of the crowd, and hence he had already entered Jericho before the sounds of the following multitude roused the beggar to question its meaning. (TFG 558-559) #Lu 18:37| And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. Knowing that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, he resolved to avail himself of the opportunity to be healed by him before he left the neighborhood. Not knowing how long Jesus would remain in Jericho, and not being sure of his ability to find him if he entered the city, he appears to have passed around the wall till he came to the southern gate, by which Jesus would depart on his way to Jerusalem. Here he stationed himself and waited patiently for the coming of Jesus. The persistency with which he cried when Jesus again appeared goes far to corroborate this determined preparation and fixed expectation of the beggar. While he waited at the southern gate the events narrated in Section CIII. occurred. See TFG "#Lu 19:1|". But to avoid confusion we omit them for the present, that we may finish the story of Bartimaeus. (TFG 559) #Lu 18:38| Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. See TFG "#Mr 10:47|". #Lu 18:39| And they that went before rebuked him, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:48|". #Lu 18:40| And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him. See TFG "#Mr 10:49|". #Lu 18:41| What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? See TFG "#Mr 10:51|". #Lu 18:42| Thy faith hath made thee whole. See TFG "#Mr 10:52|". #Lu 18:43| And immediately he received his sight, and followed him. See TFG "#Mr 10:52|".
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