Things that Help or Hinder Spiritual Blessing
Luke 18:1 – 19:27
Luke 18:1 – 19:27
- Perseverance in Prayer: The Parable of the Unjust Judge (18:1-8)
- Humility: The Prayers of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (18:9-14)
- The Importance of Childlikeness: Simple Trust (18:15-17)
- Giving up All to Follow Christ (18:18-30)
- Prediction of Death and Resurrection: Third Mention (18:31-34)
- Blindness Healed: Grace Near Jericho, the City of the Curse (18:35-43)
- Self-righteousness: Salvation Brought to Zachaeus, the Tax Collector (19:1-10)
- Faithfulness and Reward: The Parable of the Ten Minas (19:11-27)
Perseverance in Prayer: The Parable of the Unjust Judge (18:1-8)
This looks on to the faith remnant of the Jews in the tribulation period awaiting the establishment of the kingdom. During that time their faith will be pushed to the extreme, and only a few will endure to the end, when the Son of man comes at the appearing. However, the main principle is applicable to us today, though we do not pray for vengeance on our enemies. In Luke 11:1-13 we have a very similar lesson, showing that perseverance in prayer is very much important for us today.
1 And he spoke also a parable to them to the purport that they should always pray and not faint, 2 saying, There was a judge in a city, not fearing God and not respecting man: 3 and there was a widow in that city, and she came to him, saying, Avenge me of mine adverse party. 4 And he would not for a time; but afterwards he said within himself, If even I fear not God and respect not man, 5 at any rate because this widow annoys me I will avenge her, that she may not by perpetually coming completely harass me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge says. 7 And shall not God at all avenge his elect, who cry to him day and night, and he bears long as to them? 8 I say unto you that he will avenge them speedily. But when the Son of man comes, shall he indeed find faith on the earth?
Humility: The Prayers of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (18:9-14)
The parable is addressed to those who were self-righteous and proud. The first prayer is a Pharisee’s sermon to God, how good he was, etc. The second is a publican’s plea for mercy. The state that the Pharisee manifested is one that is not possible when we are in the presence of God. To realize who He is, and there to have the Light expose what we are in His presence, will produce profound humility. The Pharisee prayed with himself; not to God. The publican justified God, and God justified him. The Pharisee uses the word “I” repeatedly. He also smites others: the rest of men, rapacious, unjust, adulterers, or even the publican. The Pharisee never smote himself. The publican only smote himself. He stood afar off, not even pretending to be something. He that exalts himself shall be abased; a principle that transcends the passage, including Satan. Humbling himself, Christ is the perfect example, and the exaltation that followed.
9 And he spoke also to some, who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and made nothing of all the rest of men, this parable: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. 11 The Pharisee, standing, prayed thus to himself: God, I thank thee that I am not as the rest of men, rapacious, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax-gatherer. 12 I fast twice in the week, I tithe everything I gain. 13 And the tax-gatherer, standing afar off, would not lift up even his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, O God, have compassion on me, the sinner. 14 I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than that other. For every one who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
The Importance of Childlikeness: Simple Trust (18:15-17)
15 And they brought to him also infants that he might touch them, but the disciples when they saw it rebuked them. 16 But Jesus calling them to him said, Suffer little children to come to me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Verily I say to you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Giving up All to Follow Christ (18:18-30)
The Rich Young Ruler: Danger of Covetousness (vv.18-27)
18 And a certain ruler asked him saying, Good teacher, having done what, shall I inherit eternal life? 19 But Jesus said to him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these things have I kept from my youth. 22 And when Jesus had heard this, he said to him, One thing is lacking to thee yet: Sell all that thou hast and distribute to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in the heavens, and come, follow me. 23 But when he heard this he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. 24 But when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, he said, How difficultly shall those who have riches enter into the kingdom of God; 25 for it is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And those who heard it said, And who can be saved? 27 But he said, The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.
The Reward for Those Who Leave All and Follow Christ (vv.28-30)
28 And Peter said, Behold, “we” have left all things and have followed thee. 29 And he said to them, Verily I say to you, There is no one who has left home, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, 30 who shall not receive manifold more at this time, and in the coming age life eternal.
Prediction of Death and Resurrection: Third Mention (18:31-34)
31 And he took the twelve to him and said to them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written of the Son of man by the prophets shall be accomplished; 32 for he shall be delivered up to the nations, and shall be mocked, and insulted, and spit upon. 33 And when they have scourged him they will kill him; and on the third day he will rise again. 34 And they understood nothing of these things. And this word was hidden from them, and they did not know what was said.
Blindness Healed: Grace Near Jericho, the City of the Curse (18:35-43)
35 And it came to pass when he came into the neighbourhood of Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging. 36 And when he heard the crowd passing, he inquired what this might be. 37 And they told him that Jesus the Nazaraean was passing by. 38 And he called out saying, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. 39 And those who were going before rebuked him that he might be silent; but “he” cried out so much the more, Son of David, have mercy on me. 40 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be led to him. And when he drew nigh he asked him saying, 41 What wilt thou that I shall do to thee? And he said, Lord, that I may see. 42 And Jesus said to him, See: thy faith has healed thee. 43 And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people when they saw it gave praise to God.
Self-righteousness: Salvation Brought to Zachaeus, the Tax Collector (19:1-10)
1 And he entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And behold, there was a man by name called Zacchaeus, and he was chief tax-gatherer, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was: and he could not for the crowd, because he was little in stature. 4 And running on before, he got up into a sycamore that he might see him, for he was going to pass that way. 5 And when he came up to the place, Jesus looked up and saw him, and said to him, Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for to-day I must remain in thy house. 6 And he made haste and came down, and received him with joy. 7 And all murmured when they saw it, saying, He has turned in to lodge with a sinful man. 8 But Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I return him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said to him, To-day salvation is come to this house, inasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.
Faithfulness and Reward: The Parable of the Ten Minas (19:11-27)
11 But as they were listening to these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God was about to be immediately manifested. 12 He said therefore, A certain high-born man went to a distant country to receive for himself a kingdom and return. 13 And having called his own ten bondmen, he gave to them ten minas, and said to them, Trade while I am coming. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent an embassy after him, saying, We will not that this man should reign over us. 15 And it came to pass on his arrival back again, having received the kingdom, that he desired these bondmen to whom he gave the money to be called to him, in order that he might know what every one had gained by trading. 16 And the first came up, saying, My Lord, thy mina has produced ten minas. 17 And he said to him, Well done, thou good bondman; because thou hast been faithful in that which is least, be thou in authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, My Lord, thy mina has made five minas. 19 And he said also to this one, And “thou”, be over five cities. 20 And another came, saying, My Lord, lo, there is thy mina, which I have kept laid up in a towel. 21 For I feared thee because thou art a harsh man: thou takest up what thou hast not laid down, and thou reapest what thou hast not sowed. 22 He says to him, Out of thy mouth will I judge thee, wicked bondman: thou knewest that “I” am a harsh man, taking up what I have not laid down and reaping what I have not sowed. 23 And why didst thou not give my money to the bank; and “I” should have received it, at my coming, with interest? 24 And he said to those that stood by, Take from him the mina and give it to him who has the ten minas. 25 And they said to him, Lord, he has ten minas. 26 For I say unto you, that to every one that has shall be given; but from him that has not, that even which he has shall be taken from him. 27 Moreover those mine enemies, who would not have me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.
The parable of the Talents vs. Parable of the Pounds. In Matt. 25 we have the Parable of the Talents. There three servants are given differing amounts of money (one, two, and five talents), and the two useful servants gain their lord a 100% return-on-investment, and both are given the same reward. There several believers are given a different amount of resources to use for the Lord, thus a different amount of responsibility. What we do with those resources is what matters, so both are given the same reward. In Luke 19 we have the Parable of the Pounds. There three servants are given the same amount of responsibility (one pound). The two useful servants gain their lord different rates of return; 1000% and 500%. Notice that the rewards are different; ten cities and five cities. The principles is clear; it isn’t the amount of gift or resources that we have been given, but the way we use them for the Lord that matters.