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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Luke 18

 

 

Verses 1-43

Luke 18:1. Men ought always to pray, and not to faint. We have continual wants, and God is always ready to hear. And as we must always be thinking of good or of evil, it is best to set the Lord always before us, and so to have our stated times of prayer, that the fire shall never go out on the altar of our heart. We should continue in prayer, because in many respects concerning particular blessings, the Lord hath just and wise reasons for delay, but he will surely answer in due time. If an unjust judge would avenge a helpless widow, shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry unto him daily? Here every word has weight. Shall the Father of mercies see his saints oppressed with grief and anguish, tempted of Satan and persecuted by the wicked, and for ever hold his peace? Oh no: he will come forth out of his place, and render tribulation to those that trouble them. — Let us pray on, for we are sure to prevail. We have an advocate in the court of heaven, who will speedily honour the prayers of his saints.

Luke 18:8. Shall he find faith on the earth? As nations approach the crisis of destruction, they are seized with the spirit of error and infatuation, and grow inconceivably wicked; while, on the contrary, the few faithful ones grow more and more righteous. So it was when the Son of man came to punish Jerusalem by the Romans, and so it shall be when he comes to destroy the infidel hosts. Ezekiel 39. Revelation 19.

Luke 18:18. What shall I do to inherit eternal life? This passage has been considered in the notes on Matthew 19:16.

Luke 18:35. A certain blind man, called Bartimeus, sat begging. The miracle of mercy wrought on this humble individual, in answer to his fervent importunity, should encourage us to persevere in prayer till we obtain the light and joy of reconciliation with God. See Reflections on Mark 10. and John 9.

REFLECTIONS.

The parable of the pharisee and the publican is replete with instruction. Christ having enjoined constant prayer, here corrects a false idea of devotion. The throne of grace is not a place for the suppliant of self- applause, but to glorify the riches of grace. The pharisee praised God, and justly too, that he was not guilty of any infamous crime; but it was to bestow a double encomium on himself, as not only free from vice, but excelling others in virtue. There is no reverence or invocation in his prayer, as in the examples of Abraham, Genesis xviii; of David in the Psalms, and of Elijah on mount Carmel. He occupied the first place in the temple, as indicative of his highest claims on heaven.

A pharisaical temper betrays the utmost ignorance of human nature, and of pure religion. The pharisee knew not that the concupiscence of his heart had broken all the precepts; he knew not that the defects of his piety needed atonement: he thought that heaven was his debtor, because his prayers, his alms and his fastings, exceeded the precepts. Yet with all his professional love to God, he despised the contrite publican, and had no love to poor sinners. The Lord therefore was deaf to his prayers, and dismissed him unnoticed, if peradventure some future adversity might discover the ignorance and pride of his heart.

Genuine conversion begins with a proper sight and sense of sin. The publican stood afar off. When he thought of God, he dropped his eyes; when he looked at himself, he blushed for his sin; and when he weighed his case, he smote upon his breast, and urged no plea but mercy, mercy to the worst of men. Jeremiah 31:18. It is not only mercy that pardons, but it is the richest of mercy which provides a Saviour, and accepts his oblation.

When grace has brought a profligate to the place where he ought to be, heaven is delighted with his prayers, and accords to his soul an immediate answer of peace. This man went down to his house justified, as in Romans 3:4. Thus the truly penitent should never despair because of the greatness of their sin, but always expect an instantaneous pledge of pardon and of peace with God.

There is consequently great danger lest men should set out wrong in the way to heaven. Religion begins with a law-work on the mind, with conviction of sin, and with true repentance in the sight of God. We must approach the great tribunal solely through the Saviour’s merits; any reliance on alms, fastings, charities, and moral excellence will greatly embarrass our approach. All these good things must follow, as fruits of repentance, but never be named before God. The saints forget them, and say, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 18:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/luke-18.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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