April 24, 2020 – Friday
Luke 18:1, 9, 15 NIV
1 Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them.
Today we are going to switch from looking at persecution and instead consider some of what we looked at during Thursday evening’s Bible study of the first seventeen verses of Luke 18. Above you will find the opening verses of what are considered to be three different sections in those seventeen verses. The first eight are considered to be The Parable of the Persistent Widow, the next six The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, and the next three The Little Children and Jesus.
Take the time to read over these seventeen verses and then consider the following discussion. First consider verse one above where Jesus is addressing His disciples. Then in verse nine, He is no longer addressing His disciples in total, but some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else. Quite a change from His disciples to some within the group of His disciples.
However, also go back to the last verse of The Parable of the Persistent Widow and you will find Jesus asking the question [W]hen the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? You can imagine the disciples, or most of them, confidently thinking “Yes He will and I will surely be one of them” with a great deal of self-importance and a general lack of humility.
Then comes The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector addressed to exactly to them when Scripture said it was addressed To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else. Recall, among His disciples were His chosen apostles and one of them was a tax collector – Matthew. Between the two of them, the Pharisee used the word “I'” four or five times depending on the version of the Bible you are using while engaging in a good deal of self-exaltation. All this while the tax collector asked for mercy even as he described himself only as a sinner. Jesus summed this up by saying I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
From there we come to not a parable, but to an event immediately following these two parables, The Little Children and Jesus. People were also bringing babies to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them. Some research by Phil Tice showed that the word used for babies could encompass a child the mother was still carrying up to a child ten years old. At the end of this event, Jesus said Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
So how did we in our Bible study tie all of this together? Let’s begin with the Persistent Widow who never gave up in her pleas or prayers. Like the little children we are to never give up in our prayers to a Father who loves us unlike the unjust evil judge. We have all experienced little children who seemingly never give up in their asking for something they are so sure is important. We should be like them when praying time after time, again and again with faith that our Heavenly Father hears us and listens to us.
Then we have the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Once again we have all experienced children who can only talk about themselves – it’s Me, My, Mine, on and on. Not how we want our children to behave. Then there is the child who broke something or realizes they have done something wrong and they come to you with “Mommy, Daddy, I’m sorry, I broke something” with great humility and trust. This is how we are to approach God with a repentant heart.
Finally there is the child like attitude Jesus says we are to have. We have that when we experience the Wonder and faith in and of a God who loves us so much, He sent His Son to die for our sins. What a Wonder to consider as we go to church this weekend.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton