Episode #62. Today we’ll read Luke chapter 18 together. I am your host Joy Miller. Please join me each day as we read the Bible together.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #62. Today we’ll read the 18th chapter of Luke together: A parable about a widow who pesters an unjust judge; another parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector; and Jesus predicts His death a third time.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
Well, we usually chit-chat before we read but there are two parables is this chapter that I just can’t not talk about. So let’s dive in and you’ll know what I’m talking about as soon as we read the chapter. In this first parable, Jesus does not save the punch line for last. The very first verse tells us what we need to glean from His anecdote, and that is to pray always and not give up. But the funny thing – well, at least to me – is that, just like the parable of the shrewd business manager, He uses a judge who’s kinda sketchy. Our first impression is that God just finally gives us what we want if we nag Him enough. Obviously, we have to stop right there since God is neither unscrupulous or does He give in to nagging if something that isn’t good for us. The point is that we need to pray constantly…always bringing our needs and concerns and praises before Him. I Thessalonians 5:17 puts it very succinctly…pray constantly.
Luke Chapter 18:1 He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged: 2 “There was a judge in one town who didn’t fear God or respect man. 3 And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’ ” 6 Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [to help] them? 8 I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?” 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: 10 “Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people -greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me -a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 15 Some people were even bringing infants to Him so He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 18 A ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good but One-God. 20 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother. ” 21 “I have kept all these from my youth,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, He told him, “You still lack one thing: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 23 After he heard this, he became extremely sad, because he was very rich. 24 Seeing that he became sad, Jesus said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Then who can be saved?” 27 He replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28 Then Peter said, “Look, we have left what we had and followed You.” 29 So He said to them, “I assure you: There is no one who has left a house, wife or brothers, parents or children because of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more at this time, and eternal life in the age to come.” 31 Then He took the Twelve aside and told them, “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. Everything that is written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and He will be mocked, insulted, spit on; 33 and after they flog Him, they will kill Him, and He will rise on the third day.” 34 They understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. 35 As He drew near Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36 Hearing a crowd passing by, he inquired what this meant. 37 “Jesus the Nazarene is passing by,” they told him. 38 So he called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Then those in front told him to keep quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him. When he drew near, He asked him, 41 “What do you want Me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” 42 “Receive your sight!” Jesus told him. “Your faith has healed you.” 43 Instantly he could see, and he began to follow Him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
Now, I know that our God loves that Pharisee, but He is disgusted by the tooting of his own horn and his condescension of that poor tax collector. Proverbs 16:5 tells us that, “Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” Jesus tells us that the Pharisee did not go away justified. Now remember, justified is a legal term. An online legal dictionary says that justification is “a sufficient or acceptable excuse or explanation made in court for an act that is otherwise unlawful.” In the case of the Pharisee, there was no confession, no admission of wrong-doing, despite his arrogant heart. The tax collector, on the other hand, was totally undone. He knew he was a sinner and begged for God’s mercy. The High Court – God – took into account his contrition and he went away justified even though the lifestyle of that tax collector is notorious. This is by no means a license for us to sin; however, it does demonstrate the attitude we should have when we come before God. Let’s pray. Oh, Father, thank You for Jesus’ words and the way that Luke reported them in this chapter. Thank You that You have given us discipline to continue reading Your word systematically. We humbly ask right now, Holy Spirit, that You remind us to pray constantly just like that persistent widow…to bring everything before You out of obedience. We also ask that You help us to NEVER come before You arrogantly, that we always remember who You are. For this we thank You, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
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