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Daily Bible Reading (Tuesday, March 27th)

9

Luke 18 (ESV)

 

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Let the Children Come to Me

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

The Rich Ruler

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 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 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult 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 it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[b] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 18:11 Or standing, prayed to himself
  2. Luke 18:29 Or wife or brothers and sisters

9 Comments

Jesus teaches us to be persistent in our prayer through the story of the widow. God is pleased when we are ardent and persistent in our prayer. How encouraging to know God never gets tired of hearing our petitions. He welcomes them! What an awesome God we have. Given what Jesus said, how can we not prayer more consistently?

That last verse tells me that God’s mercy and Jesus’ compassion for us causes us to want to follow him! We are drawn to Jesus

There is so much teaching in this chapter that spurs me on to continue to strive in the Spirit for further sanctification. I need to think and pray more like the tax collector, trust more like the child, turn away from the things of this world like the disciples did, and cry out every day for the Son of David to have mercy on me.

The story of the rich, young ruler is appropriate for our day and culture. It is so hard for those who have so much to give it up in order to follow Christ. But we have the confidence that it is not impossible for the Lord to save such people and we have the hope that for those who do they will ultimately gain so much more in Christ than whatever they give up. Salvation demonstrates God's great ability and His amazing grace. Praying that many rich, young rulers will be saved this week!

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The question is not whether God is faithful to answer prayers. Certainly He is. But will He find me believing when He comes?

I'm struck this morning by the compassion of Jesus in vv. 35-43. He hears the cry of the blind man through the din of the crowd, calls him to himself, gives him sight, and rewards his faith. I'm thankful that God shows us the same compassion, calling us to himself and granting us faith and sight to see His glory. Lord let my love for you never grow cold, but as I remember your salvation help me to faithfully follow and glorify your name unashamedly!

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector really got my attention this morning. Obviously, the issue Christ is dealing with is self - righteous pride; however, He's also kind of dealing with standards in a way. The Pharisee only thought he was righteous because he was comparing himself to people who were "worse" than him... Instead of comparing himself to God's standard which is perfection. How often are we guilty of comparing ourselves to others instead of Christ? If I'm honest, I find myself slipping into this lie often. Oh Lord, help my focus to ever be on you and you alone. Help me to be holding myself to your standard of holiness instead of comparing myself to those around me so that I can feel good about myself. Keep yourself at the center of my gaze so that I will become more like you. Amen.

Jesus always spoke the truth openly (in the synagogues and the temple); He had nothing to hide because it was the truth. If we want to speak openly about the truth, we have to know it. If we are not confident in what it says, we won’t share it. Father, discipline us to be faithful to read and know your truth so we will have the boldness to share it openly in full confidence. Thank you for telling us in your Word today that everyone who is of the truth will hear your voice, the sweetest voice there is.

We know the Kingdom is at hand and we are freely invited into it. Many often wonder how are we to receive this invitation? In this chapter (v. 17) Jesus makes it clear. We are to receive it like a child. Children know they are small and need help. I must recognize these things and allow it to shape my thinking towards Christ. I am so small in comparison to Him who created all things, and I must acknowledge my need for a savior. God, help me to understand the gift you have offered to all. Enable me to pursue your kingdom with a childlike heart.

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