Attention!
StudyLight.org has pledged to build one church a year in Uganda. Help us double that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

The Fourfold Gospel

Luke 18

Verses 10-19


XCVII.
PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN.
cLUKE XVIII. 9-14.

c9 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 Luke 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-- Proverbs 30:12, Proverbs 30:13, Isaiah 65:5, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3]: 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 Revelation 3:17, Revelation 3:18), 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.] 12 I fast twice in the week [the law appointed one fast in the year, [536] viz.: on the Day of Atonement ( Leviticus 16:29, Leviticus 16:30), 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 ( Deuteronomy 14:22, Deuteronomy 14:23), but the Pharisees took account of the humblest herbs of the garden, and gave a tenth of their mint, anise, and cummin ( Matthew 23:23). Thus he confessed his virtues rather than his sins.] 13 But the publican, standing afar off [remote from the Holy Place], would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven [ Psalms 123:1, Psalms 123:2, Psalms 40:12, Ezra 9:6], but smote his breast [as if to remind himself of the stroke of God which he so richly deserved-- Nahum 2:7, Luke 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-- 1 Timothy 1:15.] 14 I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other [we are taught here, as in the parable of the prodigal son, 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. [Luke xiv. 11, see p. 494. The Pharisee was an example of the first, and the publican of the second.]

[FFG 536-537]

Verses 15-17


XCIX.
BLESSING CHILDREN. CONCERNING CHILDLIKENESS.
(In Peræa.)
aMATT. XIX. 13-15; bMARK X. 13-16; cLUKE XVIII. 15-17.

a13 Then were there brought b13 And they were bringing aunto him little children, {calso their babes,} that he should touch them: athat he should lay his hands on them, and pray [According to Buxtorf, children were often brought to the presidents of the synagogue in order that they might pray over them. The prayers of a good man in our behalf have always been regarded as a blessing; no wonder, then, that the mothers of these children desired the prayers of Jesus in behalf of their little ones. It was customary to put the hand upon the person prayed for, probably following the patriarchal precedent ( Genesis 48:14, Genesis 48:15). Compare Acts 6:6]: cbut {aand} cwhen the disciples saw it, they [541] rebuked them. b14 But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and ccalled them unto him, saying, {bsaid} unto them, cSuffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: afor to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven. {bof God.} [The disciples wished to protect Jesus from what appeared to them to be an unseemly intrusion and annoyance, and possibly, as the context suggests, they thought it was beneath the dignity of the Messiah to turn aside from the affairs of the kingdom of heaven ( Matthew 19:12) to pay attention to children. But Jesus was indignant at their officious interference, and directed that the children be brought to him, declaring at the same time that the kingdom of heaven be composed, not of little children, but of such as are childlike in their nature.] c17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. [See p. 431.] b16 And he took them up in his arms, a15 And he laid {blaying} ahis hands on {bupon} athem, band blessed them, aand departed thence. [They were [542] brought that he might lay his hands on them and bless them, and that is what he did for them. The command therefore that they be suffered to come to him should not be perverted into a precept directing that they be brought for other purposes. Those who have construed this as commanding or even permitting either infant baptism or an infant church membership, have abused the text. They are indebted for these ideas, not to the Bible, but to their creeds. The incident told in this section is a fitting sequel to the discourse on divorce. The little children, the offspring of happy wedlock, and a source of constant joy and pleasure to faithful husbands and wives, serve by their presence to correct false impressions as to supposed inconvenience of an indissoluble marriage bond. The sight of them in the arms of Jesus could not fail to leave a good impression with reference to the married life.]

[FFG 541-543]


Verses 18-30


C.
THE RICH RULER. PERIL OF RICHES. REWARD OF SACRIFICE.
PARABLE OF THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD.
(In Peræa.)
aMATT. XIX. 16-XX. 16; bMARK X. 17-31; cLUKE XVIII. 18-30.

b17 And when he was going forth into the way, abehold, bthere ran {acame} bone ca certain ruler bto him, and kneeled to him, and asked aand said, {csaying,} bGood Teacher, awhat good thing shall I do, that I may have {bmay inherit cto inherit} eternal life? [The action of this young man in running and kneeling shows that he was deeply anxious to receive an answer to his question, and also that he had great reverence for Jesus. He seemed to think, however, that heaven could be gained by performing some one meritorious act. He made the mistake of thinking that eternal life is a reward for doing rather than for being, a mistake from which the Roman Catholic Church [543] developed the doctrine of "works of supererogation."] 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God: aWhy askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good [To the address of the young man, viz.: "Good Master," Jesus replies, "Why callest," etc., and to his question, "What good thing," etc. Jesus replies, "Why askest," etc. The ruler using the inconsiderate, conventional language of the thoughtless, had taken an unwarrantable freedom with the word "good." Jesus shows that if his language had been used sincerely it would have committed him to a declaration of great faith, for he had addressed Jesus by a title which belongs only to God, and he had asked Jesus the question concerning that of which God alone was fitted to speak. As the ruler had not used this language sincerely Jesus challenged his words. The challenge showed the ruler that he had unwittingly confessed the divinity of Jesus, and thus startled him into a consideration of the marvelous fact which his own mouth had stated. This is done because the young man would need to believe in the divinity of Jesus to endure the test to which he was about to be subjected-- 1 John 5:5.] but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments. [By referring the ruler to the commandments, Jesus not only answered the question as to obtaining life, but he emphasized the confession of his divinity contained in the question, "Why askest," etc. God, who knows what is good, had revealed that good in the commandments which he had given. Yet the ruler had asked Jesus to be wise above God’s revelation, and to propound a law or rule of goodness in addition to that already given, and of such a nature as to more fully insure the attainment of life by obeying it. The ruler’s question reveals that common weakness in man which prompts him to look to his fellow-men for religious and moral instruction; forgetting that only God can propound the absolute standards of goodness. We should note, too, that the young man, being under the law given through Moses, was bidden to attain life by keeping the law. After the death of Christ a new law [544] was given. Had the man waited until that time, he would have been directed to this new law, and obedience to it would have been required. Compare Acts 2:37, Acts 2:38, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, et al.] 18 He saith unto him, Which? And Jesus said, c20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do {aThou shalt} cnot commit adultery, Do {aThou shalt} cnot kill, Do {aThou shalt} cnot steal, Do {aThou shalt} cnot bear false witness, bDo not defraud, a19 Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. [The ruler still sought for some prominent commandment, but was referred to the last six of the Decalogue, these being at that time more frequently violated than the first four. For the last commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," Jesus substitutes its equivalent, "Do not defraud," and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," the last being a summary of all the six-- Romans 13:9.] b20 And he a20 The young man saith {bsaid} unto him, Teacher, cAll these things have I observed from my youth up. awhat lack I yet? [He had kept these commandments as far as he knew his heart and as far as he understood their import.] b21 And Jesus cwhen he heard it, blooking upon him [gazing earnestly and searchingly at him] loved him ["agapan." See James 2:10], go, sell that which thou hast, csell all bwhatsoever thou hast, cand distribute {bgive} cunto {ato} the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. [The command to sell all is not a general one, but a special precept needed in this case, 1. To dispel the ruler’s self-deception. On the negative side his character was good, but on the positive it was deficient. He had done his neighbor no harm, but he had also done him very little good. 2. To show impartiality. The invitation of Jesus shows that the ruler desired to be in some manner a disciple, and hence he is subjected to the same [545] test which the other disciples had accepted, and of which Peter soon after speaks. Paul also was rich in self-righteousness like this man, but cheerfully sacrificed all, that he might follow Christ ( Philippians 3:6-9). Moreover, the reference to treasure in heaven and the invitation to follow Christ tested the ruler’s obedience to the first four commandments of the Decalogue as condensed in the great summary or first commandment. ( Matthew 22:37, Matthew 22:38.) Though the ruler perhaps did not fully realize it, those who heard the conversation must afterwards have been impressed with the great truth that the ruler was called upon to make his choice whether he would love Christ or the world, whether he would serve God or mammon. The whole scene forms an illustration of the doctrine expressed by Paul, that by the law can no flesh be justified ( Romans 3:20), for perfection is required of those who approach God along that pathway; those, therefore, who have done all, still need Christ to lead them.] a22 But when the young man heard that saying, {cthese things} bhis countenance fell at the saying, che became exceeding sorrowful; band he went away sorrowful: cfor he was very rich. bhe was one that had great possessions. [He was not offended at the extravagance of Jesus’ demands, for he was not one of the most hardened of the rich. He belonged to that class which hold Christ and their wealth in nearly an even balance. The narrative shows us how uncompromisingly Jesus held to principle. Though the ruler was sorry to turn away, and though Jesus loved him, yet the Lord did not modify his demand by a hair’s-breadth to gain an influential disciple.] c24 And Jesus seeing him blooked round about, and saith {asaid} unto his disciples, bHow hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! aVerily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. [ 1 Timothy 6:9, 1 Timothy 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:17-19. It should be remembered that Judas heard these words only a few days before he sold his Lord.] b24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in [546] riches to enter into the kingdom of God! [The possession and use of riches is permitted to the Christian, but their possession becomes a sin when the one who owns them comes to trust in them or in any way suffers them to interfere with his duties toward or relations to God.] a24 And again I say unto you, c25 For it is easier for a camel to enter in {bto go} through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. [The needle’s eye here is that of the literal needle, and the expression was a proverbial one to indicate that which was absolutely impossible. Lord George Nugent (1845-6) introduced the explanation that Jesus referred to the two gates of a city, the large one for beast of burden, and the small one for foot-passengers. This smaller one is now called "The Needle’s Eye," but there is no evidence whatever that it was so called in our Saviour’s time. In fact, as Canon Farrar observes, we have every reason to believe that this smaller gate received its name in late years because of the efforts of those who were endeavoring to soften this saying of Jesus.] a25 And when the disciples heard it, they were astonished exceedingly, c26 And they that heard it said, {bsaying} unto him, aWho then {bThen who} can be saved? a26 And Jesus blooking upon them saith, {c27 But he said,} bWith men this is impossible, but not with God: for all things are possible with God. cThe things which are impossible with men aree possible with God. [The Jews were accustomed to look upon the possession of riches as an evidence of divine favor, and the heads of the apostles were filled with visions of the riches and honors which they would enjoy when Jesus set up his kingdom. No wonder, then, that they were amazed to find that it was impossible for a rich man to enter that kingdom, and that, moreover and worse than all, riches appeared to exclude from salvation itself: that even this virtuous rich man, this paragon of excellence, could not have eternal life because he clung to his riches. But they were comforted by the assurance of Jesus that though the salvation of some men might present more difficulties than the salvation of others [547] --might, as it were, require a miracle where others only required simple means, yet the gracious, mighty God might still be trusted to overcome the obstacles. It is impossible for any man to save himself, so that in every case of salvation God is called upon to assist man in accomplishing the impossible. God can so work upon the rich man’s heart as to make him a dispenser of blessings.] a27 Then answered Peter c28 And bbegan to say unto him, {aand said unto him,} bLo, we have left all, {cour own,} band have followed thee. awhat then shall we have? [The negative conduct of the rich man reminded the disciples of their own positive conduct when confronted with a similar crisis ( Luke 5:11), and the "all" which they had left was by no means contemptible, though perhaps none of them could have been said to have held great possessions. The mention of treasure in heaven, therefore, set Peter to wondering what manner of return would be made to them to compensate them for their sacrifice.] 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [By the term "regeneration," Jesus in this case means the period in which the process of regenerating men would be in progress; i. e., the period of the mediatorial reign. After his ascension Jesus sat upon his throne ( Acts 2:33-35, Hebrews 1:13, Matthew 25:31, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28). And on the day of Pentecost next following, he began this process of regeneration. Having enthroned himself, Jesus enthroned the apostles also, not as kings but as judges, having jurisdiction over all questions of faith and practice in the earthly kingdom. During their personal ministry, they judged in person; and since then they judge through their writings. True, we have written communications from only a part of them, but judgments pronounced by one of a bench of judges with the known approval of all, are the judgments of the entire bench. Moreover, the passage must be construed metaphorically, for the apostles are [548] judges in the church of Christ--the true Israel--and not over the literal twelve tribes of Jacob. And again, the twelve who then heard Jesus speak were not all enthroned, Judas having fallen from his position before the day of enthronement, and Matthias and Paul were afterwards added to the group. Jesus here causes the number of the judges to correspond to the number of the tribes, to indicate that there will be a sufficiency of judgment commensurate to the need.] 29 And every one {bThere is no man that} ahath left houses, {bhouse,} cor wife, or brethren, bor sisters, or mother, or father, cor parents, bor children, or lands, for my sake, {amy name’s sake,} band for the gospel’s sake, cfor the kingdom of God’s sake, 30 who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life. b30 but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come ashall inherit eternal life. [The rewards of Christian self-denial are here divided into two parts--the temporal and the eternal. The earthly joys--the rewards "in this time"--shall outweigh the sacrifices made for the kingdom. The return, of course, will not be in kind, houses for house, and fathers for father, etc., but spiritual relationships and blessings which compensate abundantly for whatever has been resigned ( Matthew 12:49, 1 Timothy 4:8). But these joys shall be mingled with the bitterness of persecution, for no pleasure is perfected in this world, but only in the inheritance which lies beyond-- 1 Peter 1:4.] 30 But many shall be last that are first; and first that are last. b31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first. [The promise of large recompense which Jesus had just given was apt to tempt some to labor not for love, but for the rewards which might be reaped thereby. Jesus corrects this spirit by the statement, and the parable that follows which illustrates it, and which ends with the same sentiment. See Leviticus 19:13, Deuteronomy 24:15], the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward [his overseer], Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. [Thus following the order indicated by Mark 7:22, 1 Samuel 18:9, Proverbs 23:6-8, Proverbs 28:22, Deuteronomy 15:9). The lord had done no wrong to those who had labored longest, for he had paid them what they had bargained for and earned. If he chose to be generous with those whose misfortune had prevented them from being hired earlier in the day, no one had any just cause to murmur.] 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last [The meaning of this parable has often been misunderstood by those who fail to note the maxim with which Jesus begins and ends it. This maxim acts as a safeguard in the interpretation of it; the parable also in turn guards against misunderstanding the maxim. The maxim can not be applied to Judas; for, though he then stood high in honor and afterwards fell into disgrace, yet he stands outside the pale of the maxim as interpreted by the parable, for in the parable both the first and the last were received and rewarded by their master, while Judas was rejected of Christ and received no reward. The term "last," therefore, must be applied to those who were included among the accepted laborers, and not those who were excluded from that class. In the parable, the denarius or shilling stands for the gift of [551] eternal life. The vineyard represents the Lord’s field of work in the world. The evening is the close of the Christian dispensation, and the coming of Christ to judgment. The parable as it unfolds and develops suggests that in no case was the reward earned by the inherent merits and toil of the laborers, but was rather bestowed because of a desire on the part of the householder to that effect, just as eternal life is bestowed, not by merit, but by covenant grace ( Romans 2:6, Romans 2:7, Romans 4:3-5, Romans 5:16-21). The main object of the parable is to show that longer labor does not necessarily, as the apostles and others might think, establish a claim to higher reward. Degrees of difference there no doubt will be, but they form no account in the general covenant of grace in which the one great gift is offered to us all. As the gift can be no less than eternal life, there must of necessity be a difference in the ratio of service which is rendered for it, since it will be bestowed on the octogenarian and the child, upon Paul who made good the confession of his faith through years of toil, and the dying thief who passed to his reward while his voice of confession was, as it were, still ringing in the ears of those who heard it ( 1 Corinthians 15:8-11, 2 Timothy 4:6-9). The murmuring and envy of those who had labored longest is merely part of the parabolic drapery, introduced to bring out the answer of the householder, and to make plain the point to be illustrated. There will be no envy among those who inherit eternal life. By thus speaking of the envy, however, and showing how ineffectual it was, Jesus warns us to be prepared not to cherish it. The parable is not intended to teach that the characters of men will be exactly similar in the world to come. Paul will not be Peter, nor will Martin Luther be identical with Hugh Latimer and John Knox. God may award eternal life to the character which we are forming, but we should be careful what kind of character we bring to receive the gift. The lesson is that works are valued qualitatively and not quantitatively. Nor may the parable be rightly used to encourage hope in death-bed repentance. It certainly does teach that, however little the labor which a man does in the Lord’s vineyard, he will receive the final reward if only he [552] be really in the vineyard; that is, if he be really a child of God. But whether a man who repents on his death-bed actually becomes a child of God is a different question, and is not touched by the parable. Certainly the eleventh-hour laborer who had stood idle all day only because no man had hired him, and who came into the vineyard as soon as he was called, can not represent the man who has been called by the gospel every hour of his life, but has rejected every call until his sun has sunk so low that he knows he can do but little work when he comes. In order to represent this class of sinners, the eleventh-hour men should have been invited early in the morning, and should have replied, "No, it is too early; we will not go now." Then they should have been invited at the third, the sixth, and the ninth hours, and should have made some equally frivolous excuse each time, then, finally, at the eleventh hour, they should have said, "Well, as you pay a man just the same for an hour’s work as for a day’s work, and as we are very anxious to get your money, we believe we will now go." Had they acted thus, it is not likely that they would have found the vineyard gates open to them at all. Yet such is the sharp practice which some men attempt in dealing with God.]

[FFG 543-553]

Verses 31-34


CI.
FORETELLING HIS PASSION. REBUKING AMBITION.
(Peræa, or Judæa, near the Jordan.)
aMATT. XX. 17-28; bMARK X. 32-45; cLUKE XVIII. 31-34.

b32 And they were on the way, going up to Jerusalem [Dean Mansel sees in these words an evidence that Jesus had just crossed the Jordan and was beginning the actual ascent up to Jerusalem. If so, he was in Judæa. But such a construction strains the language. Jesus had been going up to Jerusalem ever since he started in Galilee, and he may now have still be in Peræa. The parable of the vineyard which [553] closed the preceding section was likely to have been spoken before he crossed the Jordan, for Peræa abounded in vineyards]; and Jesus was going before them: and they were amazed; and they that followed were afraid. [When Jesus turned his face toward Jerusalem, his disciples dropped behind and hung back. The outer circle of his disciples knew enough not to be fearful of the consequences, and the inner circle, fully acquainted with the dangers, were amazed that he should dare to go thither. A short while before this they had despaired of his life when he had proposed to go even into Judæa ( John 11:7-16), and his going at that time had not bettered the situation, but had, on the contrary, greatly increased the enmity and danger ( John 11:47-57). Notwithstanding all this, Jesus was now on his way to Jerusalem itself, and was speaking no reassuring word as he formerly had done-- John 11:9, John 11:10.] a17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took bagain cunto him athe twelve disciples apart [He separated them from the throng of pilgrims on the way to the Passover, and from the outer circle of the disciples, for it was not expedient that these should hear what he was about to reveal concerning his death. Such a revelation might have spurred his Galilæan friends to resist his arrest, and might have resulted in riot and bloodshed], band began to tell them the things that were to happen unto him, aand on the way he said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and bthe ascribes; and they shall condemn him to death, 19 and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify: b34 and they shall mock him, and shall spit upon, and shall scourge him, and shall kill him; and three days he shall rise again. {aand the third day he shall be raised up.} cand all the things that are written through the prophets shall be accomplished unto the Son of man. 32 For he shall be delivered up unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and shamefully treated, and spit upon: 33 and they shall scourge and kill him: [554] and the third day he shall rise again. [This was the third and by far the clearest and most circumstantial prophecy concerning his death. For the other two see Matthew 26:66) and forced Pilate to confirm the sentence ( Luke 23:24). Since the evangelists honestly record an actual prediction, we may well pause to note how remarkable it is in that it gives seven details as follows: 1. Delivery or betrayal by Judas. 2. Condemnation. 3. Delivery to the Gentiles. 4. Mocking and the manner of it. 5. Scourging. 6. Death by crucifixion. 7. Resurrection on the third day. The announcement of these sufferings was made for the purpose of checking any materialistic hopes which the apostles might entertain as to the glories, honors, and offices of the Messianic reign. That such hopes were present is shown by the ambitious request which immediately follows. Moreover, to prepare them that they might not be crushed either by the announcement or the accomplishment of his death he gives them the clear promise of his resurrection.] 34 And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, and they perceived not the things that were said. [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 ( Matthew 16:22). Only later did the full significance of his saying dawn upon them-- Matthew 16:22.] b35 And there a20 Then came {bcome} near unto him athe mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, bJames and John, aworshipping him, [giving him homage as a coming ruler, not worshiping him as a divine being], and asking a certain thing of him. bsaying unto him, Teacher, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall ask of thee. [Zebedee’s wife was named was Salome. See note on 1 Kings 2:19, 1 Kings 2:20. They asked [555] through their mother, thinking that Jesus would be more likely to favor her than themselves.] a21 And he said unto her, {bthem,} aWhat wouldest thou? bWhat would ye that I should do for you? [Though Jesus knew what they wished, he required them to state it plainly and specifically, that their self-seeking might be clearly exposed and properly rebuked.] aShe saith unto him, Command that these my two sons may sit, one on thy right hand, and on on thy left hand, in thy kingdom. b37 And they said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy glory. [In the previous section Jesus had spoken about the thrones to be occupied by the apostles. The sons of Zebedee, presuming on their high standing among the apostles, and their near relationship to Jesus, were emboldened to ask for special seats of honor among the promised thrones--the seats to the right and left of the sovereign being next to his in dignity and consideration; thus Josephus represents Saul as seated with Jonathan on his right hand and Abner on his left. The terms "kingdom" and "glory" are here used synonymously. Despite the fact that Jesus was now telling them plainly of his death, these apostles could not rid their minds of the delusion that he was about to ascend the earthly throne of David.] a22 But Jesus answered and said, bunto them, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I drink? {athat I am about to drink?} bor to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? [The word "cup" among the Hebrews meant a portion assigned ( Psalms 16:5, Psalms 23:5), whether of pleasure or of sorrow. But the idea of sorrow usually predominated ( Matthew 26:39, Matthew 26:42, Revelation 14:10, Revelation 16:19, Revelation 18:6, Psalms 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15). To be baptized with suffering means to be overwhelmed with it, a metaphorical use of the word arising from the fact that it means an immersion. This metaphorical use of baptism aids us to understand the meaning of that word, for neither sprinkling nor pouring could have suggested the overpowering force which the metaphor implies. Alford distinguishes [556] between cup and baptism, making the former refer to inward spiritual suffering, and the latter to outer persecution and trial.] 39 And they said {asay} unto him, We are able. bAnd Jesus said {asaith} unto them, My {bThe} cup that I drink aindeed ye shall drink: band with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized [They probably thought that Jesus referred to some battle or conflict which would attend the ushering in of the kingdom, and as they were not wanting in physical courage, they were ready enough to pledge themselves to endure it. They spoke with unwarranted self-confidence, but Jesus rebuked them very gently, as he foreknew what suffering they would indeed endure. James was the first apostolic martyr ( Acts 12:2), and John’s spirit was sorely troubled with the conflict of error, as his epistles show, and his last days were darkened by the shadow of persecution-- Revelation 1:9]: 40 but to sit on my right hand or {aand} on my left hand, is not mine to give; bbut it is for them for whom it hath been prepared. aof my Father. [Future rewards are indeed meted out by the hand of Christ ( 2 Timothy 4:8, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:26, Revelation 2:28, Revelation 3:12, Revelation 3:21, et al.), but they are not distributed according to caprice or favoritism, but according to the will of the Father and the rules which he has established. Jesus proceeds to set forth the principles by which places of honor are obtained in his kingdom.] 24 And when the ten heard it, they were {bbegan to be} amoved with indignation concerning the two brethren. bJames and John 42 And {abut} Jesus called them unto him, and said {bsaith} unto them, Ye know that they who are accounted to rule over {athe rulers of} the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 26 Not so shall it be {b43 But it is not so} among you: but whosoever would become great among you, shall be your minister; 44 and whosoever would be first among you, ashall be your servant: bshall be servant of all. [The ten, sharing the same ambition as the two, jealously resented their efforts to take unfair advantage of [557] the Lord’s known affection for them. To restore peace among them, and to correct their false views, he draws the distinction between the worldly greatness to which they aspired, and the spiritual greatness which they ought to have sought. In an earthly kingdom honor and authority measure greatness, but in Christ’s kingdom it is measured by humility and service. Jesus added power to his rebuke by showing them that their spirit was not even Jewish, but altogether heathenish.] 45 For {a28 even as} bthe Son of man also came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. [He enforces this lesson by his own example in that he came to serve men and not to have them serve him. Jesus could ever refer to himself as the best example of the virtues which he taught. Since honor consists in being like the King, the highest honor consists in being most like him. The closing words state the vicarious nature of Christ’s suffering as plainly as language can express it. The ransom is offered for all ( 1 Timothy 2:6), and will be efficacious for as many as accept it. The words are nearly a reproduction of the words of Isaiah-- Isaiah 53:12.]

[FFG 553-558]

Verses 35-43


CII.
BARTIMÆUS AND HIS COMPANION HEALED.
(At Jericho.)
aMATT. XX. 29-34; bMARK X. 46-52; cLUKE XVIII. 35-43.

c35 And it came to pass, as he drew nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: 36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. [Jesus came from the Jordan, and was entering Jericho by its eastern gate. As the crowd following Jesus passed by, Bartimæus 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 [558] the beggar to question its meaning. 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 Isaiah 64:6). In the race to win the presence of Christ on high, Christians are advised to lay aside every weight-- Hebrews 12:1, Hebrews 12:2.] cand when he was come near, bJesus answered him, casked him, band said, aWhat will ye {cwilt thou} athat I should do unto you? {bthee?} a33 They say {bAnd the blind man said} aunto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. cLord, bRabboni, that I may receive my sight. [Bartimæus had cried for mercy without specifying what mercy, and he had asked this mercy of Christ as the Messiah. The Lord therefore in his royal majesty asked Bartimæus to name the mercy, thus suggesting to him the fullness of the treasury of power and grace, to which he came. He was not to blame for this.] a34 And Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes; b52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; cReceive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole. [We can see in this instance what faith really is. It caused Bartimæus to cry out, to come to Jesus and to ask for sight. Thus we see that faith saves by leading to proper actions.] 43 And immediately astraightway they {che} areceived their {bhis} sight, aand followed him. bin the way. cglorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. [Being a beggar, it would have been natural for him to hunt first for means of livelihood, but faith and gratitude prompted him to follow Jesus.] [561]

[FFG 558-561]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 18". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tfg/luke-18.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.