Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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LUKE - Chapter 18

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Luke 18

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those parts of the Third Gospel that are peculiar to it are commented on here.  For all other parts the reader should consult the Commentaries on the parallel passages in the other Gospels.

I.  THE PUBLIC MINISTRY OF JESUS  3-21 (continued)

5. Ministry on the Journey to Jerusalem  9, 51 -- 18, 34 (continued)

18, 1-8:  The Godless Judge.  This parable, which is peculiar to Luke, teaches the same lesson as the similar parable of the Persistent Friend (11, 5-8), i.e., perseverance in the prayer of petition.  But here the emphasis is on prayer to God for help in time of trials and persecutions (cf. 7 f), especially in the sufferings that will precede Christ's Second Coming (8).  In both parables God allows Himself to be compared with man who must be importuned.  Here, however, God is not so much compared as contrasted with the godless judge.  The moral is: if such an unjust judge will finally do justice for one who importunes him, the all the more the God of justice will surely hear the persistent prayers of His elect.

3.  The adversary of the widow had probably defrauded her in regard to the estate of her deceased husband.    5.  Wear me out: literally, "beat me black and blue"; this expression was taken from the language of pugilism (cf. the use of the same verb in 1 Cor. 9, 27 where it is translated "chastise"), but here it is used in the figurative sense, "to cause intolerable annoyance to someone."  A few interpreters, however, translate this passage, "lest she finally come (after losing all her patience) and beat me."    8.  The coming of Christ at the end of the world, when He will vindicate His elect, may seem to be delayed very long, but it will not be unnecessarily postponed.  The faith spoken of here is especially a firm confidence in Christ's coming; but cf. Matt. 24, 12.

18, 9-14:  The Pharisee and the Publican.  This parable was intended by our Lord to teach the necessity of humility in prayer.    9.  To some who trusted in themselves: not necessarily to the Pharisees only but also to some of His disciples who may have been somewhat affected by the pharisaical spirit.    10.  The temple: i.e., one of the courts of the temple, most likely the women's court.  The temple was used not only for the public liturgy but also for private devotions.    11.  I thank thee: thanksgiving is indeed one of the rightful forms of prayer, but this Pharisee was not really thankful to God, for he attributed all his virtues to his own merits.  Even like this publican: it was bad enough for the Pharisee to make his prayer a hymn of self-praise but worse to use his prayer as a means of speaking ill of his fellow-man.    12. I fast twice a week: cf. 5, 33; Matt. 9, 14.  I pay tithes, etc., cf. Matt. 23, 23.    13.  The very attitude of the publican is one of humility.  The sinner: note the force of the definite article (so also in Greek); the publican singles himself out as the one in whom all sins are centered.    14a.  Justified rather than the other: the sense is not that the Pharisee received some benefit from his prayer but less than the publican, but rather that the prayer of the latter alone was pleasing to God.    14b.  Cf. 14, 11.

18, 15-17:  Jesus Blesses the Children.  With this passage Luke again picks up the thread of the Synoptic narrative in common with Matthew and Mark.  Parallels in Matt. 19, 13-15 and Mark 10, 13-16.

18, 18-30:  The Danger of Riches.  Parallels in Matt. 19, 16-30 and Mark 10, 17-31.

18, 31-34:  The Third Prediction of the Passion.  Parallels in Matt. 20, 17-19 and Mark 10, 32-34.

6.  Last Ministry at Jerusalem  18, 35 -- 21, 38

18, 35-43:  A Blind Man at Jericho.  Parallels in Matt. 20, 29-34 and Mark 10, 46-52.


Confraternity Bible:

The Godless Judge  1 And he also told them a parable---that they must always pray and not lose heart--- 2 saying, "There was a judge in a certain town who did not fear God and did not respect man.  3 Now there was a certain widow in that town, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Do me justice against my adversary.'  4 And he would not for a long time.  But afterwards he said within himself, 'Although I do not fear God, nor even respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will do her justice, lest by her continual coming she finally wear me out.'"

6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge says; 7 and will not God avenge his elect, who cry to him day and night?  And will he be slow to act in their case?  8 I tell you that he will avenge them quickly.  Yet when the Son of Man comes, will he find, do you think, faith on the earth?"

The Pharisee and the Publican  9 But he spoke this parable also to some who trusted in themselves as being just and despised others.  10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a publican.  11 The Pharisee stood and began to pray thus within himself: 'O God, I thank thee that I am not like the rest of men, robbers, dishonest, adulterers, or even like this publican.  12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all that I possess.'  13 But the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me the sinner!'

14 "I tell you, this man went back to his home justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted."

Jesus Blesses the Children  15 Now they were bringing the babes also to him that he might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  16 But Jesus called them together and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of God.  17 Amen I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it."

The Danger of Riches  18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, "Good Master, what shall I do to gain eternal life?"  19 But Jesus said to him, "Why dost thou call me good?  No one is good but only God.  20* Thou knowest the commandments:
Thou shalt not kill,

Thou shalt not commit adultery,

Thou shalt not steal,

Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Honor thy father and mother." 
21 And he said, "All these I have kept ever since I was a child."  22 But when Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing is still lacking to thee; sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."  23 When he heard these things, he was much grieved, for he was very rich.

24 But Jesus, seeing him become sad, said, "With what difficulty will they who have riches enter the kingdom of God!  25 For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  26 And they who heard it said, "Who then can be saved?"  27 He said to them, "Things that are impossible with men are possible with God."

28 And Peter said, "Behold, we have left all and followed thee."  29 And he said to them, "Amen 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, 30 who shall not receive much more in the present time, and in the age to come life everlasting."

Prediction of the Passion  31 But Jesus taking to himself the Twelve said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that have been written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.  32 For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and scourged and spit upon; 33 and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and on the third day he will rise again."

34 And they understood none of these things and this saying was hidden from them, neither did they get to know the things that were being said.

A Blind Man at Jericho  35 Now it came to pass as he drew near to Jericho, that a certain blind man was sitting by the wayside, begging; 36 but hearing a crowd passing by, he inquired what this might be.  37 And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.  38 And he cried out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  39 And they who went in front angrily tried to silence him.  But he cried out all the louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"  40 Then Jesus stopped and commanded that he should be brought to him.  And when he drew near, he asked him, 41 saying, "What wouldst thou have me do for thee?"  And he said, "Lord, that I may see."  42 And Jesus said to him, "Receive thy sight, thy faith has saved thee."  43 And at once he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God.  And all the people upon seeing it gave praise to God.
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20: Ex. 20, 12-16.