Persistent Prayer, Humility, A Childlike Faith, And The Rich Ruler
This is a new chapter, but not a new topic, as in this fascinating parable, the coming of the Lord continues to be the subject. The question posed to readers asks whether they will endure in faith until the Son of Man comes and whether they will continue to believe until the end. In verse 1, Luke tells us what the parable means before we read the parable. Disciples should pray and not become discouraged. We find the parable of the unjust judge and the widow in verses 2–5. The judge is corrupt and indifferent to the widow's plight, repeatedly denying her request for justice. However, he eventually grants her request due to her persistence in petitioning him. The message for disciples is to pray and not lose heart. If the unjust judge agrees to the widow's request, then we can be confident that God, who is just, will grant justice to his chosen people. He will soon vindicate his chosen ones, but the challenge for followers is maintaining their faith until the end. While God's vindication is near, it may seem like a long wait to us. The parable creates tension between the promise of quick vindication and the need for unwavering faith.
Be Merciful To Me, A Sinner
The parable of the Pharisee and tax collector teaches us that there will be surprises on the day of judgment and that those who are justified do not fit conventional human ideas. Luke informs us that the parable is meant for those who trust in their righteousness and look down on others (v. 9). In verses 10-13, both a Pharisee and a tax collector go to the temple to pray. The Pharisee thanks God for his righteous behavior, while the tax collector confesses his sins and asks for mercy. Jesus explains in verse 14 that the tax collector is justified before God because he humbled himself while the Pharisee exalted himself.
Do Not Hinder Them
Jesus welcomes children, a group that was not respected in ancient times. Although the disciples scolded those who brought the children to Jesus, he countered by affirming that children should be allowed to come to him, representing what it means to enter the kingdom. Those who do not approach the kingdom with the humility and trust of a child will not be able to enter it.
The Who Can Be Saved?
The rich ruler's story illustrates that he does not have childlike faith; he believes he deserves eternal life for keeping the commandments. Jesus challenges him to sell his belongings and become a disciple, but this proposition saddens the man. Jesus notes that wealth can obstruct entry to the kingdom and that only through God's grace is it possible to enter. Peter later comments that they have given up everything for Jesus, who assures them that those who sacrifice for the kingdom will receive everlasting life.
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