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Monday, September 25th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 18

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


To teach them that they should always pray. Prayer is a right, not a duty. And never become discouraged. God knows our needs, much better than we do. But he wants us to ask him and to praise him, just as we want our children to talk to us. See Ephesians 6:18.

Verses 2-3


There was a judge. Judges in the East were notorious for being dishonest and taking bribes. And there was a widow. In the East, a widow was almost totally helpless, unless she had powerful friends. The Bible presents God as a friend to the widow and the orphan. Help me against my opponent. She had an enemy against whom she was helpless.

Verses 4-5


For a long time. The judge had no high motives, and she had no money to bribe him. This is important, because it builds up to the “punch line.” Yet because of all the trouble. She kept on “nagging” him, and finally he did what she wanted, even though there was nothing in it for him.

Verses 6-8


Listen to what the corrupt judge said. This is the application of the parable—the “punch line,” Will God not judge in favor of his own people? If a corrupt and dishonest judge would finally act because of the continual “nagging” of this widow, Jesus says, what about a God who loves you??? Will he be slow to help them? God will not act like the judge in this parable. He will answer right away! [But note God does not always answer yes; sometimes he says no, or wait a while—just as we do with our own children.] Find faith on earth when he comes? Not “The Faith,” but the kind of faith the widow showed in going to the judge again and again! The Lord is distressed by the unbelief of those who believe! See note on Matthew 17:17. [Christians will be alive and waiting when Jesus returns. See notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.]


Some MSS add Luke 18:36.

Verse 9


Jesus also told this parable. He must mean the Pharisees, since they were sanctimonious. Rabbi Simeon, a Pharisee, is supposed to have said: “If there were only thirty righteous men in the world like Abraham, my son and I would be two of them; if only two, my son and I would be those; if only one, it would be myself.”

Verse 10


Two men went up to the temple to pray. Jesus deliberately uses extremes in this parable. The Pharisees were very religious, and the tax collectors were outcasts. See notes on Matthew 3:7; Matthew 9:9.

Verses 11-12


The Pharisee stood apart by himself. So everyone would be sure to see him. The Pharisees liked to impress people by showing off their goodness. Like everybody else. The Pharisees thought they had “God in a box,” and so they despised all “non-Pharisees.” [But avoid praying: “I thank You that I am not like that Pharisee!”]

Verse 13


But the tax collector stood at a distance. He was conscious of being an outcast, and so stayed at a distance from the others. But beat on his breast. Symbolic of sadness. Have pity on me, a sinner! Note the difference in attitude. The Pharisee thought God owed him something. The tax collector humbly asks for pity and mercy.

Verse 14


This man, and not the other. This is the “punch line.” The tax collector was forgiven and made right with God. [He was already a child of God, but had sinned.] This parable teaches us that the right attitude is important, for us to receive the promise of 1 John 1:9. This parable, and the one before this, should be kept in mind by every Christian.

Verses 15-17


Some people brought their babies to Jesus. See notes on Matthew 19:13-15. It was the custom for a rabbi to bless babies.

Verses 18-30


A Jewish leader asked Jesus. See notes on Matthew 19:16-30. He was probably leader of a synagogue (see note on Luke 13:14).

Verses 31-34


Listen! We are going to Jerusalem. See notes on Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34. Luke adds: “where everything the prophets wrote about the Son of Man will come true.” See Luke 9:31. [Some of what the prophets wrote: Psalms 16:10; Psalms 22:7-8; Psalms 49:15; Isaiah 53:1-9; Daniel 9:26.]

Verses 35-43


Jesus was coming near Jericho. This is the last time he would go to Jerusalem, since the crucifixion was just a little more than a week away. See notes on Matthew 20:29-34. Matthew says there were two, but Mark and Luke mention only the one who shouted.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 18". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/luke-18.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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