What does Luke 18:26 mean?
ESV: Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”
NIV: Those who heard this asked, 'Who then can be saved?'
NASB: Those who heard Him said, 'And so who can be saved?'
CSB: Those who heard this asked, "Then who can be saved? "
NLT: Those who heard this said, 'Then who in the world can be saved?'
KJV: And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
Verse Commentary:
A young man with enormous riches asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life. As the crowd listens, Jesus shows that earthly goodness is not enough. Moral actions can never add up to balance out sin. Worse, the man's wealth is a significant spiritual barrier. When Jesus tells the man to give up his fortune, the man walks away, discouraged. Jesus tells the crowd it is difficult for the wealthy to enter God's kingdom (Luke 18:18–25; Mark 10:22). This is not a denouncement of money, but a warning that earthly things can distract us from heavenly truths.

The crowd is in a cultural conundrum. They live under the Mosaic law which lays out exactly what they should do to please God. The Mosaic law also says that if they obey, God will bless them (Leviticus 26:3–13). They have mistakenly transferred this general, national-level blessing to individuals. The assumption of their culture is that when someone is wealthy, it means that person has pleased God and He has blessed them.

In addition, this young man is truly "good" according to the standards of the world. He diligently follows all the commandments which outline how he should treat other people. It is when Jesus tells him to give away his wealth and follow Him that he realizes he can never be "good enough." He can't bring himself to do it. The problem is not the money, itself, but that he ultimately prioritizes it over following God. This creates the dilemma for those who watch the exchange: If a demonstrably good man cannot enter the kingdom of God, who can?

The whole point of the gospel is in Jesus' next words: "What is impossible with man is possible with God" (Luke 18:27). Only God is truly good (Luke 18:19). Only God can grant the mercy of forgiveness for our sins: all the ways we fail to meet His perfect standard of "good."
Verse Context:
Luke 18:18–27 introduces the counter example to the powerless, trusting children of Luke 18:15–17. This instance also contrasts with the sacrificial disciples of Luke 18:28–30. The children have nothing to cling to and readily receive God's kingdom. The rich man in this section cannot muster such dependent faith. He wants eternal life but doesn't know if it's worth sacrificing worldly comforts. Conversely, the disciples have given up their place in the world in hopes of something better. This story is also found in Matthew 19:16–22 and Mark 10:17–22.
Chapter Summary:
Luke continues to arrange Jesus' teachings by their topic. Here, he includes two parables: the persistent widow and the Pharisee and the tax collector. Jesus encourages children to approach Him. He interacts with a moral, wealthy man who can't bear to follow Jesus if it means giving up wealth. After another prediction of His death, Jesus encounters and heals a blind man on His way to Jerusalem.
Chapter Context:
Luke 18 approaches the end of Jesus' "travelogue" to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51—19:27). Luke has selected miracles, teachings, and events to show how Jesus trained His disciples. His emphasis was explaining the kingdom of God in preparation for their work to build the church. Luke 18 includes several contrasts between those who understand God's kingdom and those who don't. Luke 19 includes the story of Zacchaeus and another parable before Jesus' triumphal entry and the Passion Week. These stories are also found primarily in Matthew 19—20 and Mark 10.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
Accessed 4/17/2024 8:18:26 PM
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