What does Luke 18:36 mean?
ESV: And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.
NIV: When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening.
NASB: But when he heard a crowd going by, he began inquiring what this was.
CSB: Hearing a crowd passing by, he inquired what was happening.
NLT: When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening.
KJV: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
Verse Commentary:
Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus (Mark 10:46), is a beggar on the side of the road near Jericho. He and his companion are both blind (Matthew 20:30). It's normal for them to hear a crowd right now. It's nearly Passover when every Jew tries to reach Jerusalem. Jews in Perea and Decapolis, on the east side of the Sea of Galilee, come down the Jordan or up the eastern shore of the Dead Sea to the crossing just east of Jericho. Jews in Galilee have a choice: cross the Jordan near the Sea of Galilee and follow the travelers south or walk across Samaria. Many choose the former.

So, this spot is a good one for two blind beggars, especially since Passover is a traditional time for giving alms to the poor. But this crowd sounds a little different; it's a great crowd (Mark 10:46). So, Bartimaeus asks passers-by what's going on.

They answer, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by" (Luke 18:37). Bartimaeus knows that name. From all he's heard, this Jesus is the promised fulfillment of God's covenant with David—He's the Son of David! Apparently, Bartimaeus has also heard that Jesus can heal. He boldly shouts, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" The crowd tries to hush him up. Perhaps they assume that if he's blind, God must be punishing him for sin (John 9:1–2). But Jesus hears him, asks what he wants, and heals him (Luke 18:37–43).
Verse Context:
Luke 18:35–43 records Jesus healing a blind beggar in Jericho. The trusting man believes the plain meaning of what he's heard about Jesus, in contrast to the disciples (Luke 18:31–34). This story is the beginning of the last of four sets of stories that begin with a miracle and go on to explain truths about God's kingdom. After meeting Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1–10) and telling a parable about faithfulness in the kingdom (Luke 19:11–27), the "Travelogue to Jerusalem" will end and Jesus will triumphally enter the city. Mark 10:46–52 identifies the blind man as Bartimaeus. Matthew 20:29–34 says Jesus heals two blind men.
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 4/16/2024 12:33:15 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.