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Faithfulness and Prayer



18.1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,


Jesus tells a parable to bring home to His disciples that they should always pray.  As we shall see in verse eight that the most important thing He was telling them was to remain faithful.


18.2   saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.


First of all He makes known to us that there was a judge who had no fear of God and no thought or regard for anyone.


18.3.   Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.'


Introducing the woman as being a widow living in the same city He tells us that there was someone who was treating her unjustly.  She comes to the judge expected him to act upon her behalf and to do that which was right in the sight of God.


18.4 - 5.   And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man,yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.' "


The judge completely ignored her petitions for he did not fear God and had not concern for anyone.  However, because she did not give up but continually kept on to him he decided to do something for her because she was wearing him out.


18.6.  Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said.


He exhorts His disciples to be encouraged by the persistence of this woman in never giving up until she received an answer.  


18.7.   And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?


They should do likewise for God hears the cry of His own and will defend and protect and avenge the injustice done against them.   He will not put off or delay His help on their behalf (Revelation 6:10, 2 Thessalonians 1:6)


18.8.  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?


He will avenge and that quickly (Romans 12:19).   However, after giving this parable to His disciples Jesus asks this question, "when He comes again will He find faith on the earth?"  In the face of opposition, persecution, hardship and trials because of our faith in Christ, more important than pleading with God and receiving an answer from Him is that we should remain faithful in spite of all things (Hebrews 4: 14, 10:23).


Saved by Grace Alone


18.9.  Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:


Jesus told another parable to those who were confident that their own self righteousness would obtain for them salvation and an eternal home in heaven.


18.10.  "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.


He makes a comparison between two men who went up to the temple to pray.   The one was a self righteous Pharisee, the other a common tax collector who was consider a terrible sinner by everyone.


18.11.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.


The Pharisee stood before God and boasted that he was not a sinner, he had done no wrong, he didn't cheat, was not unrighteous or and adulterer.   He was certainly not like the tax collector that was there with him.


18.12.   I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'


He then boasts of all that he did in keeping with the commands of God - he fasted twice a week and paid a tithe of all that he had into the treasury of the temple.


18.13.   And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'


The tax collector who was so ashamed stood a distance from this self righteous man and dared not so much as lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed.   He was so convicted in the presence of God of his sin and unworthiness.   Instead, he beat upon his breast and cried upon God to be merciful and gracious to him a sinner (Romans 10:10).


18.14.  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."


It was this tax collector who went out from the temple justified in the sight of God not the Pharisee.   Because he had realized that no man is justified before God (Galatians 2:16)  and confessed that he was a sinner God exalted him above the Pharisee.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  (Ephesians 2: 8 - 9).


Jesus Blesses Children


18.15.   Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.


Parents who had heard about the goodness and kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ brought their children to Him in confidence and trust that He would lay His hands upon them and bless them.  The disciples however thought that Jesus was above being bothered with children and told them to go away.


18.16.   But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.


But Jesus called out to His disciples to let the children come to Him and not turn them away.   "The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like little children" (NLT).


18.17.   Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."


No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they received in simply faith like a little child.


Only God is Able to Save


18.18.   Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"


A young man who was very rich and a ruler among the Jews came to Jesus.   Addressing Him as "Good Teacher" he asks what he needs to do to inherit eternal life.  The fact that he used the word "inherit" would suggest that he had inherited his wealth from his father and thought that by the same means he could get eternal life.


18.19.   So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.


It was unusual for anyone to address someone as "good" so Jesus asks Him why he is calling Him good as there is none good except God.


18.20.   You know the commandments: 'do not commit adultery,' 'do not murder,' 'do not steal,' 'do not bear false witness,' 'honor your father and your mother.' "


Every Jew would know the ten commandments so Jesus reminds this young man of them.


18.21.   And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth."


In reply he says that he had kept everyone of them since he was a a youth.


18.22.   So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."


On hearing this Jesus did not commend him for being so vigilant in keeping the law but knowing what was in his heart told him that there was still one one that he lacked.  He was a very rich man and his life was taken up with his wealth so Jesus tells him to go and sell everything that he owned and give the proceeds to the poor.  In doing so he would show his sincerity in wanting the things of God and he would have treasure of much more worth in heaven.   After he has done this then he could come and follow Jesus.


18.23.  But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.  


When he heard this the man was not very happy because he did not want to part with his wealth.   He thought more of his goods than  what he did of his soul ansd eternal things.


18.24.   And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!


As Jesus looked upon this man and saw that he was determined to hold on to his possessions he turned to his disciples and told them it is very difficult for a wealthy person to enter the kingdom of god.


18.25.   For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."


It doesn't matter whether the Lord meant a camel going through the eye of a needle or as some suggest He meant  the small gate within a large gate that only a person could go through or as some manuscripts translate a cable going through the eye of needle it is the impossibility of it that He is using to illustrate how impossible it is for not only a rich man but for anyone to enter the Kingdom of God on their on merit.


18.26.   And those who heard it said, "Who then can be saved?"


Those who heard Him say this wondered who then could be saved.


18.27.   But He said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."


Jesus replied that those things which are impossible with men is possible with God.   No one can save themselves and no one can save someone else, salvation is of God and comes from God only He can save (Psalm 3:8, Isaiah 43:11, Revelation 7:10).


No Loss


18.28.  Then Peter said, "See, we have left all and followed You."  


On hearing these things Peter said to the Lord that the disciples had left families, homes and businesses to followed Him.


18.29 - 30.   So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."


Jesus acknowledge that this was so but in truth whoever has left all to follow Him for the  sake of the kingdom of God will receive much more than they have given up, in this life and in eternity.


Jesus tells of His coming Crucifixion


18. 31.   Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.


Jesus took His disciples away an privately told them that they were going to Jerusalem and that all that had been prophesied concerning the Messiah, the Christ would be fulfilled (see Isaiah 53: 1 - 12).


18.32.  For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.


There He will be handed over to the Romans who will mock and insult and spit in His face (Isaiah 50:6).


18.33.   They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."


They will scourge flog Him and then crucify Him but on the third day He will rise again (Psalm 16:10).


18.34.   But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.


Although they would have been familiar with the scriptures concerning the death of the Messiah, the Christ and He have previously told them, they did not understand the meaning of what He had said to them.   The significance of it was hidden from them.


Blind Made to See


18.35.   Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging.


As Jesus was entering Jericho on His way to Jerusalem there was a blind man sat the roadside begging.  


18.36.   And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant.


Hearing the great commotion that the people were making he asked what all the noise was about.


18.37 - 38.   So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.   And he cried out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"


They told Him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by.   On hearing this he began to cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ addressing Him as the Son of David, to have mercy on him (Matthew 1:1, Romans 1:3).   He had obviously heard all about the mighty miracles Jesus had done.


18.39.   Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"


Amazingly the people near this blind man who would have been making enough noise themselves told him to shut up and be quiet.   Thankfully, he ignored them and shouted all the loader again calling Jesus "Son of David".


18.40 - 41.   So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, "What do you want Me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, that I may receive my sight."


Jesus hearing the man above all the other voices stopped and commanded that they bring the man to Him.    When he came Jesus asked the blind man what it was he wanted Him to do for him.   Jesus could see that the man was blind put He wanted to test the man's faith by making him ask for his sight.


18.42.   Then Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well."


Having asked, Jesus simply says "receive your sight"; the man's faith has healed him.


18.43.   And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.


As soon as Jesus said the words the blind man received his sight and become a follower of Jesus recognizing that it was a work of God and praising Him for his healing.   When the people, including those who had told the man to be quiet, they joined their hearts and voices in giving thanks to God.


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Chapter 18

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