Luke 18

CHAPTER 17 | CHAPTER 19 >

A Key Verse

I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it. Luke 18:17

 

Justice for the faithful

1 Jesus was telling them a parable about their need to pray continuously and not to be discouraged. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him, asking, ‘Give me justice in this case against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused but finally said to himself, I don’t fear God or respect people, 5 but I will give this widow justice because she keeps bothering me. Otherwise, there will be no end to her coming here and embarrassing me.” 6 The Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 Won’t God provide justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he be slow to help them? 8 I tell you, he will give them justice quickly. But when the Human One comes, will he find faithfulness on earth?”

The Pharisee and the tax collector

9 Jesus told this parable to certain people who had convinced themselves that they were righteous and who looked on everyone else with disgust: 10 “Two people went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11-13 What matters more to Jesus?  If we follow rules but are arrogant, we will not get a far as one who falls short but asks for mercy.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself with these words, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else—crooks, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of everything I receive.’ 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes to look toward heaven. Rather, he struck his chest and said, ‘God, show mercy to me, a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this person went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”

Jesus blesses children

Mafa. “Jésus aime les enfants.” 20th-century Cameroon. The artist conceives of Jesus as greeting and blessing children in his own community and time. In fact, most Christian art across cultures and time does just that, portrays people who are ethnically similar to the artist and settings similar to the artist’s.

15 Jesus was important, teaching important things, and was being interrupted by the least important people in society, babies.  So it makes sense that the disciples, trying to protect Jesus’ busy schedule would scold the parents for distracting the master teacher.

16 But Jesus upturned the social order.  He was not too important for the children!

15 People were bringing babies to Jesus so that he would bless them. When the disciples saw this, they scolded them. 16 Then Jesus called them to him and said, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. 17 I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.”

A rich man’s question

18 A certain ruler asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?” 19 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God. 20 You know the commandments: Don’t commit adultery. Don’t murder. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother.”

21 Keeping rules is straightforward and simple.  Keeping our hearts in teh right place will lead to keeping the rules, but is far more challenging.

 21 Then the ruler said, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.”

Heinrich Hofmann. 19th-century Germany.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said, “There’s one more thing. Sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” 23 When he heard these words, the man became sad because he was extremely rich.

24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “It’s very hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom! 25 It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”

26 Those who heard this said, “Then who can be saved?”

27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible for humans is possible for God.”

28 Peter said, “Look, we left everything we own and followed you.”

29 Jesus said to them, “I assure you that anyone who has left house, husband, wife, brothers, sisters, parents, or children because of God’s kingdom 30 will receive many times more in this age and eternal life in the coming age.”

Jesus predicts his death and resurrection

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and said, “Look, we’re going up to Jerusalem, and everything written about the Human One by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. He will be ridiculed, mistreated, and spit on. 33 After torturing him, they will kill him. On the third day, he will rise up.” 34 But the Twelve understood none of these words. The meaning of this message was hidden from them and they didn’t grasp what he was saying.

A blind man is healed

35 As Jesus came to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the road begging. 36 When the man heard the crowd passing by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus the Nazarene is passing by.” 38 The blind man shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy.” 39 Those leading the procession scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy.”

40 Jesus stopped and called for the man to be brought to him. When he was present Jesus asked, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, I want to see.”

42Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” 43 At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they praised God too.

Things to Think About
  • In this chapter, Jesus has a theme of humility.  It is the sinner who is saved.  Children are meant for the kingdom of God.  The rich must give what they have to the poor.  Jesus is turning his world upside down.  What parts of our world today would Jesus like us to turn upside down?
A Prayer

God, even as I grow up,

Help me remain like those little children you blessed

Innocent and pure

And help me admit it is your mercy and not my own goodness that blesses me each day, Amen.

CHAPTER 17 | CHAPTER 19 >

Talk About this Chapter on Facebook