Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Luke's Gospel Studies|
Chapter: Luke 18
Passage: Luke 18:1-8
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus then go on to teach? v.1
2. Who did he first speak about? v.2
3. What did the widow do? v.3
4. What did the judge think and do? v.4,5
5. How did Jesus apply that? v.7
6. With what challenge did he conclude v.8
Luke states from the outset, somewhat unusually, the intention of Jesus' teaching here – to encourage us to pray and not give up. The temptation to give up in prayer must be one of the biggest temptations in the Christian life, so this is a vital teaching.
The way he teaches this is to envisage an unjust judge. Now that is important to remember. This judge didn't care about justice, he only cared about ‘self-issues'. Then Jesus introduces a widow who is in difficult circumstances and in need of help. The fact that she is a widow means she has no one else to speak up for her, and also that she has been prey for someone to try to take advantage of her. So she comes to the judge seeking his help. Initially he can't be bothered with her case but because she keeps on and on, he eventually, just to get some peace, acts on her behalf.
So, says Jesus, if this is what an unjust judge does, won't God do even more for His children who keep crying to Him. Note though, that it is His children (chosen ones) who constantly cry out for justice. Justice means calling to God to come and remedy the wrong things in life. When we pray, are we wanting God to put right things that are wrong in this fallen world? That is why Jesus came, and so our prayers ought to be in line with this purpose.
1. Will my heart be moved by the wrong things in this world?
2. Will I determined to pray until I see God move to bring change?
A. Find Out:
1. About whom did Jesus tell this next parable? v.9
2. Who went where to do what? v.10
3. How did the Pharisee pray? v.11,12
4. But how did the tax collector pray? v.13
5. Which one pleased God? v.14a
6. Why? v.14b
Having just started teaching on prayer in verses 1-8, Jesus now continues by teaching on attitude before God. Again Luke tells us before the parable what Jesus' intent was – to challenge those who were confident in their own self-righteousness. To do this he uses the picture of a Pharisee, because they were the people who thought themselves most spiritual.
He imagines a Pharisee coming and declaring his goodness before God. He distinguishes himself from other ‘lesser mortals' who he views as sinners! Then in the story Jesus has a tax collector – because in the eyes of the Pharisees they were the epitome of sinners. This man comes in contrition, crying God for mercy. These are the two contrasting figures – one who is self righteous and the other who is aware of his sin.
Very well, says Jesus, it is the ‘sinner' who is accepted by God because he knows his state, knows his plight, and recognises that his hope is in God alone. Then he declares this strong principle: he who exalts himself will be humbled and he who is humble will be exalted.
In a world saturated by pride, these are devastating words! So often we're told to think good about ourselves. Shelves of self-help books proclaim this but the truth is quite opposite. What is Jesus saying? You need to recognise your sinfulness and need and then you will be exalted!
1. A right assessment of self is to declare we are failures.
2. When we do this we are candidates for the kingdom of God!
A. Find Out:
1. Who came and what happened? v.15
2. But what was Jesus' response? v.16
3. What did he say about the kingdom? v.17
4. Who came asking what? v.18
5. What question did Jesus ask in return? v.19
Jesus has just been speaking about humility and, with a link in his mind, Luke then tells us about children (babies) being brought to Jesus for his blessing. The disciples think this is a bit of a liberty, just using Jesus, and go to shoo them away, but Jesus stops them.
In fact, to the contrary, he calls more children to come and starts talking about the kingdom of God. The kingdom, he says, belongs “to such as these”. He then goes on to say that you won't enter the kingdom unless you enter it like a child. What does that mean? It means that children accept things simply and at face value, they believe easily without question. In other words, Jesus is saying unless you come humbly and simply, you won't come!
It is at this point that a rich (young- other Gospels) ruler comes and ask Jesus about getting into this kingdom, about entering eternal life. He refers to Jesus as “Good teacher” and so Jesus picks up on the word ‘good' and challenges him with it. Why? Well we're not told but we can infer two possibilities: first he is preparing this young man to accept the truth that he himself is NOT good despite having kept all the commandments (see next study). Rule keeping doesn't make us good. The other possibility is that he's sowing a thought in the man's mind that he, Jesus, is God (“If I'm actually good I must be God!”). It takes humility to accept both truths.
1. Is my faith simple and straight forward?
2. Do I recognise that, in myself, I am NOT good. Only God is.
A. Find Out:
1. What did the man say he had done? v.20,21
2. What did Jesus tell him to do? v.22
3. How did the man respond? v.23
4. What did Jesus declare? v.24,25
5. What question did this provoke? v.26
6. What was Jesus' answer? v.27
We have suggested that Jesus has been and is dealing with spiritual principles in all this teaching included here by Luke. This young man, as we're told in the other Gospels, came asking about how he can receive eternal life. That sounds a good starting place and perhaps we would have commended him, but Jesus first of all focuses him on “keeping the rules”. The young man protests that he does this and again we might be tempted to commend him, but the kingdom of God is not about praising people.
Now Jesus touches the man at the point of his greatest vulnerability – his wealth. Give it all away, says Jesus, and that will give you the treasure you are seeking. The young man is devastated. Why? Because that was where his security was, and Jesus was basically removing it.
It is only when we come to the point of realising that whatever we place our trust in is insufficient, that we will come to God and put our trust in Him. The reality is that it is impossible for us to save ourselves (v.27a), only God can do it, and we have to first come to the point of that realisation before we will surrender all to Him. When we have wealth we feel secure, and while we are like that we will not put our trust in God alone. That's why it is so hard for a rich person to come to God (v.24).
1. Who or what will I place my reliance in? God or my wealth?
2. Daily, will I trust and rely upon God?
Chapter: Luke 18
Passage: Luke 18:28-34
A. Find Out:
1. What did Peter declare? v.28
2. Who did Jesus refer to? v.29
3. What did he say they would receive? v.30
4. Where did Jesus say they were going for what to happen? v.31
5. What specifically will happen? v.32,33
6. What response did he get from the disciples? v.34
Noting Peter's comment first of all, it follows on from Jesus' words about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. These had been spoken after the rich young man had had difficulty accepting the thought of losing his possessions. “Well we left everything,” is Peter's comment which could mean “Well we managed to get in” or “Well look at us, look what we've done.”
However he means it (and it's not abundantly clear) Jesus seems to reply in a form that could be taken to mean, “Don't worry, whatever you give up you will receive back many times more.” God will not be obligated to man. Whatever you give up, you'll find that by the end of your life you will have no room for complaint. God's intention is to bless His children.
Jesus then starts focusing them on Jerusalem. In Luke, it was as far back as 9:51 following his transfiguration, that Jesus starts for Jerusalem. Again and again there have been references to Jerusalem, and even back in Luke 9:44 Jesus gave indication what was to happen there.
Now he spells it out in detail: it will be as prophesied: he will be taken by the Gentiles (Romans), mocked, scourged and killed, and then on the third day he will rise again. Jesus is completely aware of what will happen, the plan and purpose of God for him, but this is beyond the disciples and they are unable to take it in.
1. Rest in the knowledge that God will provide all you need.
2. Know that you will never be able to criticise God's provision.
Chapter: Luke 18
Passage: Luke 18:35-43
A. Find Out:
1. Where was Jesus nearing and who was there? v.35
2. What did the man do? v.36-38
3. What did others do? v.39
4. How did Jesus respond? v.40,41a
5. What did the man ask and what happened? v.41b,42
6. What was the outcome? v.43
There are various significant things to note about this story. First of all its location. They are on their way to Jerusalem for the last time and they come to Jericho which is only about ten miles away. In this period various things happen that boost the crowds and create impact for readiness to enter Jerusalem triumphantly. This is one of those things – all part of God's plan.
Second, note the man, a blind man, a very persistent blind man! He is begging because he has no other means of support, which possibly means he's always on the edge of life and death. He is possibly desperate. He hears the crowd, asks what is happening and when he hears that it is Jesus he grasps at this last straw – here is possible hope for him, the healing teacher is passing by. So he cries out and cries out until eventually he gets Jesus' attention. Is it coincidence that this chapter starts with Jesus teaching about persistent praying, and ends with a classic example of it?
The end result of all this? The mean's sight is restored by a word from Jesus. This is very powerful, this is a miracle, this produces praise and thanksgiving in both the man and the crowd. The word will be spreading and the crowd will be building. It's all working towards the time of entry in such a manner that the authorities will act!
1. God encourages us to be persistent in prayer.
2. Jesus honours our persistence.
In this third group of 6 studies we have seen Jesus :
There is a sense in which this chapter continues the spiritual realities teaching that we have seen in previous chapters, but it is also a chapter that concludes with a miracle on the doorstep of Jericho. Again there is an element of teaching that will be in conflict with the Pharisees, and a strong declaration of what will happen in Jerusalem, and so it is in some ways a transitional chapter containing elements of the teaching that has been and the activity that is building towards what will be. The teaching is about prayer, humility, childlikeness, and the problem of riches.
1. We are to persist in prayer.
2. In approaching God we are to rely on his righteousness, not ours.
3. To enter and live in the kingdom needs childlike faith.
4. Affluence can be a stumbling block to relying upon God.
5. Jesus has a clear plan and purpose to bring us salvation.
6. Persistence is rewarded.
Ask the Lord to help you become a persistent prayer, a faith-filled person, reliant upon Him and not things.
PART 4 : "Preparing the Way (Pt.2)"
In this next, final Part of this set of studies, we move much more into the approach to the final week before Jesus death and resurrection. See in it the things that will provoke that death, things that stir the authorities against Jesus, his entry into Jerusalem, his activity there and his teaching at that time.