Luke chapter 18

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What does Luke chapter 18 mean?

Luke is almost finished with the section sometimes called "Jesus' travelogue to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51—19:27). Luke 1:1—4:13 recounts Jesus' pre-public life. Luke 4:14—9:50 describes Jesus' ministry primarily in Galilee. In the travelogue, Luke has carefully chosen stories where Jesus teaches His disciples about the kingdom of God and prepares them to build and lead the church after His ascension. Luke 19:28—21:38 recounts the presentation of Jesus, when He enters Jerusalem and the Jewish religious leaders have one last time to accept Him as their Messiah. Luke 22:1—23:56 tells the story of the Last Supper and Jesus' arrest, crucifixion, and burial. Finally, Luke 24 presents Jesus' resurrection and ascension, providing a segue into Acts 1.

Luke 18 is a study in contrasts.

Luke 18:1–8 is the parable of the persistent widow. This continues Jesus' discussion of His second coming with the promise that God will give His people justice (Luke 17:22). He teaches this lesson by contrasting God with a corrupt judge. A widow demands justice. The city judge is vain, self-important, and unwilling to act on behalf of a powerless victim. The widow refuses to relent, however, and eventually the judge gives her justice so she will stop bothering him. Since God is no corrupt judge, He will certainly give justice to His own when Jesus returns.

Luke 18:9–14 gives another aspect about how God's people should pray. Where the previous parable talked about persistent and faithful prayer, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector encourages humility over arrogance. Two men come to the temple to pray. The Pharisee brags to God that he is not like "other men"; he avoids sin and faithfully fasts and tithes. Far off, the tax collector repents of his sins and begs forgiveness. Jesus explains that those who humble themselves will be exalted by God, but those who exalt themselves will be humbled. Matthew 6:5–6 contains similar instructions.

Luke 18:15–17 is the first section of a two-part comparison. People are bringing babies and children to Jesus so He will bless them. The disciples try to keep the parents away. Jesus rebukes them, saying, "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."

Luke 18:18–30 gives the second half of the analogy. A devout, young, rich ruler wants to know how to inherit eternal life. Jesus confirms that the man faithfully follows the Law, then tells him to give away his worldly possessions. The man leaves, saddened. God is almost his most important priority, but not quite. The children who come to Jesus have nothing so they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We need a heart that is willing to give up our lives to follow Jesus.

Luke 18:31–34 presents the first half of the final comparison. Jesus, once again, warns the disciples that He will be killed in Jerusalem. The disciples have spent three years learning from Him, but they still cannot understand what He's talking about.

Luke 18:35–43 introduces a blind man who can see the truth. He calls out for "Jesus, Son of David" to heal him. Jesus does. Unlike the disciples, he understands and accepts what he has heard and acts in faith.

This miracle begins the last section of the so-called "travelogue" (Luke 18:35—19:27). In Luke 19, Jesus will meet Zacchaeus and give the parable of the ten minas, warning the disciples to faithfully use what God has entrusted them with. Then comes the triumphal entry and Jesus' experiences leading up to the crucifixion.
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