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Luke 18

Prayer and the Parable of the Persistent Widow

18:1 Then 1  Jesus 2  told them a parable to show them they should always 3  pray and not lose heart. 4  18:2 He said, 5  “In a certain city 6  there was a judge 7  who neither feared God nor respected people. 8  18:3 There was also a widow 9  in that city 10  who kept coming 11  to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 18:4 For 12  a while he refused, but later on 13  he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor have regard for people, 14  18:5 yet because this widow keeps on bothering me, I will give her justice, or in the end she will wear me out 15  by her unending pleas.’” 16  18:6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says! 17  18:7 Won’t 18  God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry out 19  to him day and night? 20  Will he delay 21  long to help them? 18:8 I tell you, he will give them justice speedily. 22  Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith 23  on earth?”

The Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

18:9 Jesus 24  also told this parable to some who were confident that they were righteous and looked down 25  on everyone else. 18:10 “Two men went up 26  to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee 27  and the other a tax collector. 28  18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: 29  ‘God, I thank 30  you that I am not like other people: 31  extortionists, 32  unrighteous people, 33  adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 34  18:12 I fast twice 35  a week; I give a tenth 36  of everything I get.’ 18:13 The tax collector, however, stood 37  far off and would not even look up 38  to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful 39  to me, sinner that I am!’ 40  18:14 I tell you that this man went down to his home justified 41  rather than the Pharisee. 42  For everyone who exalts 43  himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus and Little Children

18:15 Now people 44  were even bringing their babies 45  to him for him to touch. 46  But when the disciples saw it, they began to scold those who brought them. 47  18:16 But Jesus called for the children, 48  saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God 49  belongs to such as these. 50  18:17 I tell you the truth, 51  whoever does not receive 52  the kingdom of God like a child 53  will never 54  enter it.”

The Wealthy Ruler

18:18 Now 55  a certain ruler 56  asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 57  18:19 Jesus 58  said to him, “Why do you call me good? 59  No one is good except God alone. 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 60  18:21 The man 61  replied, “I have wholeheartedly obeyed 62  all these laws 63  since my youth.” 64  18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have 65  and give the money 66  to the poor, 67  and you will have treasure 68  in heaven. Then 69  come, follow me.” 18:23 But when the man 70  heard this he became very sad, 71  for he was extremely wealthy. 18:24 When Jesus noticed this, 72  he said, “How hard 73  it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 74  18:25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle 75  than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 18:26 Those who heard this said, “Then 76  who can be saved?” 77  18:27 He replied, “What is impossible 78  for mere humans 79  is possible for God.” 18:28 And Peter said, “Look, we have left everything we own 80  to follow you!” 81  18:29 Then 82  Jesus 83  said to them, “I tell you the truth, 84  there is no one who has left home or wife or brothers 85  or parents or children for the sake of God’s kingdom 18:30 who will not receive many times more 86  in this age 87  – and in the age to come, eternal life.” 88 

Another Prediction of Jesus’ Passion

18:31 Then 89  Jesus 90  took the twelve aside and said to them, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, 91  and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 92  18:32 For he will be handed over 93  to the Gentiles; he will be mocked, 94  mistreated, 95  and spat on. 96  18:33 They will flog him severely 97  and kill him. Yet 98  on the third day he will rise again.” 18:34 But 99  the twelve 100  understood none of these things. This 101  saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp 102  what Jesus meant. 103 

Healing a Blind Man

18:35 As 104  Jesus 105  approached 106  Jericho, 107  a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 18:36 When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was going on. 18:37 They 108  told him, “Jesus the Nazarene is passing by.” 18:38 So 109  he called out, 110  “Jesus, Son of David, 111  have mercy 112  on me!” 18:39 And those who were in front 113  scolded 114  him to get him to be quiet, but he shouted 115  even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 18:40 So 116  Jesus stopped and ordered the beggar 117  to be brought to him. When the man 118  came near, Jesus 119  asked him, 18:41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, 120  “Lord, let me see again.” 121  18:42 Jesus 122  said to him, “Receive 123  your sight; your faith has healed you.” 124  18:43 And immediately he regained 125  his sight and followed Jesus, 126  praising 127  God. When 128  all the people saw it, they too 129  gave praise to God.

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1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Or “should pray at all times” (L&N 67.88).

4 sn This is one of the few parables that comes with an explanation at the start: …they should always pray and not lose heart. It is part of Luke’s goal in encouraging Theophilus (1:4).

5 tn Grk “lose heart, saying.” This is a continuation of the previous sentence in the Greek text, but a new sentence was started here in the translation by supplying the pronominal subject “He.”

6 tn Or “town.”

7 sn The judge here is apparently portrayed as a civil judge who often handled financial cases.

8 tn Grk “man,” but the singular ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used as a generic in comparison to God.

9 sn This widow was not necessarily old, since many people lived only into their thirties in the 1st century.

10 tn Or “town.”

11 tn This is an iterative imperfect; the widow did this on numerous occasions.

12 tn Grk “And for.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

13 tn Grk “after these things.”

14 tn Grk “man,” but the singular ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used as a generic in comparison to God.

15 tn The term ὑπωπιάζω (Jupwpiazw) in this context means “to wear someone out by continual annoying” (L&N 25.245).

16 tn Grk “by her continual coming,” but the point of annoyance to the judge is her constant pleas for justice (v. 3).

17 sn Listen to what the unrighteous judge says! The point of the parable is that the judge’s lack of compassion was overcome by the widow’s persistence.

18 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

19 sn The prayers have to do with the righteous who cry out to him to receive justice. The context assumes the righteous are persecuted.

20 tn The emphatic particles in this sentence indicate that God will indeed give justice to the righteous.

21 sn The issue of delay has produced a whole host of views for this verse. (1) Does this assume provision to endure in the meantime? Or (2) does it mean God restricts the level of persecution until he comes? Either view is possible.

22 tn Some argue this should be translated “suddenly.” When vindication comes it will be quick. But the more natural meaning is “soon.” God will not forget his elect and will respond to them. It may be that this verse has a prophetic perspective. In light of the eternity that comes, vindication is soon.

23 sn Will he find faith on earth? The Son of Man is looking for those who continue to believe in him, despite the wait.

24 tn Grk “He”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tn Grk “and despised.” This is a second parable with an explanatory introduction.

26 sn The temple is on a hill in Jerusalem, so one would go up to enter its precincts.

27 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.

28 sn See the note on tax collectors in 3:12.

29 tn Or “stood by himself and prayed like this.” The prepositional phrase πρὸς ἑαυτόν (pros eauton, “to/about himself”) could go with either the aorist participle σταθείς (staqeis, “stood”) or with the imperfect verb προσηύχετο (proshuceto, “he prayed”). If taken with the participle, then the meaning would seem at first glance to be: “stood ‘by himself’,” or “stood ‘alone’.” Now it is true that πρός can mean “by” or “with” when used with intransitive verbs such as ἵστημι ({isthmi, “I stand”; cf. BDAG 874 s.v. πρός 2.a), but πρὸς ἑαυτόν together never means “by himself” or “alone” in biblical Greek. On the other hand, if πρὸς ἑαυτόν is taken with the verb, then two different nuances emerge, both of which highlight in different ways the principal point Jesus seems to be making about the arrogance of this religious leader: (1) “prayed to himself,” but not necessarily silently, or (2) “prayed about himself,” with the connotation that he prayed out loud, for all to hear. Since his prayer is really a review of his moral résumé, directed both at advertising his own righteousness and exposing the perversion of the tax collector, whom he actually mentions in his prayer, the latter option seems preferable. If this is the case, then the Pharisee’s mention of God is really nothing more than a formality.

30 sn The Pharisee’s prayer started out as a thanksgiving psalm to God, but the praise ended up not being about God.

31 tn Here the plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anqrwpwn) is used as a generic and can refer to both men and women (NASB, NRSV, “people”; NLT, “everyone else”; NAB, “the rest of humanity”).

32 tn Or “swindlers” (BDAG 134 s.v. ἅρπαξ 2); see also Isa 10:2; Josephus, J. W. 6.3.4 [6.203].

33 sn A general category for “sinners” (1 Cor 6:9; Lev 19:3).

34 sn Note what the Pharisee assumes about the righteousness of this tax collector by grouping him with extortionists, unrighteous people, and adulterers.

35 sn The law only required fasting on the Day of Atonement. Such voluntary fasting as this practiced twice a week by the Pharisee normally took place on Monday and Thursday.

36 tn Or “I tithe.”

37 tn Grk “standing”; the Greek participle has been translated as a finite verb.

38 tn Grk “even lift up his eyes” (an idiom).

39 tn The prayer is a humble call for forgiveness. The term for mercy (ἱλάσκομαι, Jilaskomai) is associated with the concept of a request for atonement (BDAG 473-74 s.v. 1; Ps 51:1, 3; 25:11; 34:6, 18).

40 tn Grk “the sinner.” The tax collector views himself not just as any sinner but as the worst of all sinners. See ExSyn 222-23.

41 sn The prayer that was heard and honored was the one given with humility; in a surprising reversal it was the tax collector who went down to his home justified.

42 tn Grk “the other”; the referent (the Pharisee, v. 10) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

43 sn Everyone who exalts himself. See Luke 14:11. Jesus often called for humility and condemned those who sought honor.

44 tn Grk “they.”

45 tn The term βρέφος (brefos) here can refer to babies or to toddlers (2:12, 16; Acts 7:19; 2 Tim 3:15; 1 Pet 2:2).

46 tn Grk “so that he would touch them.” Here the touch is connected with (or conveys) a blessing (cf. Mark 10:16; also BDAG 126 s.v. ἅπτω 2.c).

47 tn Grk “the disciples began to scold them.” In the translation the referent has been specified as “those who brought them,” since otherwise the statement could be understood to mean that the disciples began scolding the children rather than their parents who brought them.

48 tn Grk “summoned them”; the referent (the children) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

49 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.

50 sn The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Children are a picture of those whose simple trust illustrates what faith is all about. The remark illustrates how everyone is important to God, even those whom others regard as insignificant.

51 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

52 sn On receive see John 1:12.

53 sn The point of the comparison receive the kingdom of God like a child has more to do with a child’s trusting spirit and willingness to be dependent and receive from others than any inherent humility the child might possess.

54 tn The negation in Greek used here (οὐ μή, ou mh) is very strong.

55 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

56 sn Only Luke states this man is a ruler (cf. the parallels in Matt 19:16-22 and Mark 10:17-22, where the questioner is described only as “someone”). He is probably a civic leader of some kind, a leader in the society.

57 sn The rich man wanted to know what he must do to inherit eternal life, but Jesus had just finished teaching that eternal life was not earned but simply received (18:17). See the similar question about inheriting eternal life in Luke 10:25.

58 tn Grk “And Jesus.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

59 sn Jesus’ response, Why do you call me good?, was designed to cause the ruler to stop and think for a moment about who Jesus really was. The following statement No one is good except God alone seems to point the man in the direction of Jesus’ essential nature and the demands which logically follow on the man for having said it.

60 sn A quotation from Exod 20:12-16 and Deut 5:16-20. Jesus cited the parts of the ten commandments that relate to how others should be treated.

61 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (the ruler mentioned in v. 18) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

62 tn Grk “kept.” The implication of this verb is that the man has obeyed the commandments without fail throughout his life, so the adverb “wholeheartedly” has been added to the translation to bring out this nuance.

63 tn Grk “these things.” The referent of the pronoun (the laws mentioned by Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

sn While the rich man was probably being sincere when he insisted I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws, he had confined his righteousness to external obedience. The rich man’s response to Jesus’ command to give away all he had revealed that internally he loved money more than God.

64 sn Since my youth. Judaism regarded the age of thirteen as the age when a man would have become responsible to live by God’s commands.

65 sn See Luke 14:33.

66 tn The words “the money” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

67 sn See Luke 1:50-53; 6:20-23; 14:12-14.

68 sn The call for sacrifice comes with a promise of eternal reward: …you will have treasure in heaven. Jesus’ call is a test to see how responsive the man is to God’s direction through him. Will he walk the path God’s agent calls him to walk? For a rich person who got it right, see Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10.

69 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the conversation.

70 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the man) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

71 tn Or “very distressed” (L&N 25.277).

72 tc ‡ The phrase περίλυπον γενόμενον (perilupon genomenon, “[When Jesus saw him] becoming sad”) is found in the majority of mss (A [D] W Θ Ψ 078 Ë13 33vid Ï latt sy), and it is not unknown in Lukan style to repeat a word or phrase in adjacent passages (TCGNT 143). However, the phrase is lacking in some significant mss (א B L Ë1 579 1241 2542 co). The shorter reading is nevertheless difficult to explain if it is not original: It is possible that these witnesses omitted this phrase out of perceived redundancy from the preceding verse, although intentional omissions, especially by several and varied witnesses, are generally unlikely. NA27 places the words in brackets, indicating doubts as to their authenticity.

tn Grk “him.”

73 sn For the rich it is hard for wealth not to be the point of focus, as the contrast in vv. 28-30 will show, and for rich people to trust God. Wealth was not an automatic sign of blessing as far as Jesus was concerned.

74 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.

75 sn The eye of a needle refers to a sewing needle, one of the smallest items one might deal with on a regular basis, in contrast to the biggest animal of the region. (The gate in Jerusalem known as “The Needle’s Eye” was built during the middle ages and was not in existence in Jesus’ day.) Jesus is saying rhetorically that this is impossible, unless God (v. 27) intervenes.

76 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of thought.

77 sn The assumption is that the rich are blessed, so if they risk exclusion, who is left to be saved?

78 sn The term impossible is in the emphatic position in the Greek text. God makes the impossible possible.

79 tn The plural Greek term ἄνθρωποις (anqrwpois) is used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women (cf. NASB 1995 update, “people”). Because of the contrast here between mere mortals and God (“impossible for men…possible for God”) the phrase “mere humans” has been used in the translation.

80 tn Or “left our homes,” “left our possessions”; Grk “left our own things.” The word ἴδιος (idios) can refer to one’s home (including the people and possessions in it) or to one’s property or possessions. Both options are mentioned in BDAG 467 s.v. 4.b. See also I. H. Marshall, Luke (NIGTC), 688; D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1488.

81 tn Grk “We have left everything we own and followed you.” Koine Greek often used paratactic structure when hypotactic was implied.

82 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

83 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

84 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

85 tn The term “brothers” could be understood as generic here, referring to either male or female siblings. However, it is noteworthy that in the parallel passages in both Matt 19:29 and Mark 10:29, “sisters” are explicitly mentioned in the Greek text.

86 sn Jesus reassures his disciples with a promise that (1) much benefit in this life (many times more) and (2) eternal life in the age to come will be given.

87 tn Grk “this time” (καιρός, kairos), but for stylistic reasons this has been translated “this age” here.

88 sn Note that Luke (see also Matt 19:29; Mark 10:30; Luke 10:25) portrays eternal life as something one receives in the age to come, unlike John, who emphasizes the possibility of receiving eternal life in the present (John 5:24).

89 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

90 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

91 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

92 tn Or “fulfilled.” Jesus goes to Jerusalem by divine plan as the scripture records (Luke 2:39; 12:50; 22:37; Acts 13:29). See Luke 9:22, 44.

93 sn The passive voice verb be handed over does not indicate by whom, but other passages note the Jewish leadership and betrayal (9:22, 44).

94 sn See Luke 22:63; 23:11, 36.

95 tn Or “and insulted.” L&N 33.390 and 88.130 note ὑβρίζω (Jubrizw) can mean either “insult” or “mistreat with insolence.”

96 sn And spat on. Later Luke does not note this detail in the passion narrative in chaps. 22-23, but see Mark 14:65; 15:19; Matt 26:67; 27:30 where Jesus’ prediction is fulfilled.

97 tn Traditionally, “scourge” (the term means to beat severely with a whip, L&N 19.9). BDAG 620 s.v. μαστιγόω 1. states, “Of the beating (Lat. verberatio) given those condemned to death…J 19:1; cf. Mt 20:19; Mk 10:34; Lk 18:33.” Here the term has been translated “flog…severely” to distinguish it from the term φραγελλόω (fragellow) used in Matt 27:26; Mark 15:15.

98 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

99 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast.

100 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the twelve, v. 31) has been specified in the context for clarity.

101 tn Grk “And this.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

102 sn This failure of the Twelve to grasp what Jesus meant probably does not mean that they did not understand linguistically what Jesus said, but that they could not comprehend how this could happen to him, if he was really God’s agent. The saying being hidden probably refers to God’s sovereign timing.

103 tn Grk “the things having been said.” The active agent, Jesus, has been specified for clarity, and “said” has been translated as “meant” to indicate that comprehension of the significance is really in view here.

104 tn Grk “Now it happened that as.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

105 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

106 tn The phrase is “he drew near to” (19:29; 24:28). It is also possible the term merely means “is in the vicinity of.” Also possible is a reversal in the timing of the healing and Zacchaeus events for literary reasons as the blind man “sees” where the rich man with everything did not.

107 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

108 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. “They” could refer to bystanders or people in the crowd.

109 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the blind man learning that Jesus was nearby.

110 tn Grk “called out, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

111 sn Jesus was more than a Nazarene to this blind person, who saw quite well that Jesus was Son of David. He understood what Luke 7:22-23 affirms. There was a tradition in Judaism that the Son of David (Solomon) had great powers of healing (Josephus, Ant. 8.2.5 [8.42-49]).

112 sn Have mercy on me is a request for healing (cf. 17:13). It is not owed the man. He simply asks for God’s kind grace.

113 sn That is, those who were at the front of the procession.

114 tn Or “rebuked.” The crowd’s view was that surely Jesus would not be bothered with someone as unimportant as a blind beggar.

115 sn Public opinion would not sway the blind man from getting Jesus’ attention. The term shouted is strong as it can be used of animal cries.

116 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the beggar’s cries.

117 tn Grk “ordered him”; the referent (the blind beggar, v. 35) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

118 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the beggar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

119 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

120 tn Grk “said.”

121 tn Grk “Lord, that I may see [again].” The phrase can be rendered as an imperative of request, “Please, give me sight.” Since the man is not noted as having been blind from birth (as the man in John 9 was) it is likely the request is to receive back the sight he once had.

122 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

123 tn Or “Regain” (see the note on the phrase “let me see again” in the previous verse).

124 tn Grk “has saved you,” but in a nonsoteriological sense; the man has been delivered from his disability.

125 tn Or “received” (see the note on the phrase “let me see again” in v. 41).

126 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

127 sn The presence of God’s work leads again to joy, with both the beggar and the people praising God (1:64; 2:20; 5:25-26; 7:16; 13:13; 17:15; 19:37).

128 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

129 tn The word “too” has been supplied for stylistic reasons.

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