What does it say?

The two parables that open this chapter appear only in Luke’s gospel and both teach on prayer. The first story is about a widow that demonstrates persistence in the face of difficult odds. The second contrasts prayers of a publican and Pharisee to teach the importance of authenticity and not pride in prayer.

Luke here (18:15-17) records Jesus’ teaching on the importance of children (compare Mat 19:13-15 and Mark 10:13-16). A rich young ruler inquires about how he might obtain eternal life (18:18-30) (compare Mat 19:16-30 and Mark 10:17-34).

Taking The Twelve to one side, Jesus again (for a third time) states that when they arrive in Jerusalem he will be put to death and then rise again on the third day (18:31-34). As clearly as he communicates this, the apostles still cannot comprehend. Approaching Jericho, Jesus heals a blind man (18:35-43).

What does it mean?

Luke emphasizes prayer more than the other gospels. His disciples will quickly need to put these truths into action with the events to take place in Jerusalem. Persistence in prayer as illustrated by the widow does not mean that God only responds to those who pray loudest and longest. The purpose is given by Jesus himself in the first verse, that prayer ought to always be part of our life and in nothing should we be discouraged from continuing in prayer until we have clearly understood God’s mind. The second story reminds us that prayer is not for prideful show to impress others, but is an intimate, transparent communication with God.

Each story in the chapter has its own set of lessons and truth, but overall it is remarkable that Jesus, knowing that he faces imminent death, is determined to press on toward Jerusalem and never loses sight of the mission; never loses his compassion for people and never ceases to prepare his disciples for what will follow.

How will I respond?

Is prayer the constant factor in my life that it should be? Have I fallen into a routine reading my Bible each day, but allowed myself to be so distracted as to lose sight of how the Bible ought to motivate and instruct me to pray? Today, I will take time to focus on the most important lessons God has for me here in Luke 18 and I will incorporate them into my pray for God’s grace and guidance in my life today.