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"What shall we do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18)

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Luke 18

Jesus teaches about prayer
And he spoke a parable to them, that they should always pray and not lose heart, saying: 2 There was in a city a judge, who did not fear God and had no regard for man. 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came often to him, saying: Give me justice against my adversary. 4 And for a while he would not, but afterward he said to himself: Though I neither fear God, nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me, I will give her justice, lest she wear me out by her continual coming. 6 And the Lord said: Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And shall not God give justice to His chosen, who cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to help them? 8 I say to you, that He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?
   9 And he spoke also this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt. 10 Two men went into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus: God, I thank you that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I get. 13 But the tax collector, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but struck his breast, saying: God, be merciful to me, the sinner. 14 I say to you, this man went home rendered righteous rather than the other. For everyone that exalts himself shall be humbled, but he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
   15 And they were bringing to him even their babies, that he should touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying: Permit the little children to come to me, and do not forbid them. For to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no way enter into it.

The rich ruler
   18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying: Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said to him: Why do you call me good? None is good, save one- God! 20 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour your father and mother. 21 And he said: All these things have I observed from my youth. 22 And when Jesus heard it, he said to him: One thing you lack yet. Sell all you have and distribute to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come follow me. 23 But when he heard these things, he became exceedingly sorrowful. For he was very rich. 24 And Jesus looking at him, said: How hard it shall be for those that have riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said: Then who can be saved? 27 But he said: The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
   28 And Peter said: We have left our own and followed you. 29 And he said to them: Truly I say to you: There is no one that has left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come, eternal life.

The way to Jerusalem
31 And he took aside the twelve, and said to them: We will go up to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written through the prophets about the Son of Man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered up to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and shamefully treated, and spat upon. 33 And they shall scourge and kill him, and on the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things, and this saying was hid from them, and they did not understand the things that were said.
   35 And it came to pass, as he drew near to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passes by. 38 And he cried, saying: Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me! 39 And those who led the way rebuked him, saying that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more: You 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? And he said: Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42 And Jesus said to him: Receive your sight; your faith has made you whole. 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God.



18:3 The element of unreality in this parable is that a widow woman, with no male to advocate for her, went directly to the judge. This speaks of the spiritual ambition which we should have in daring to continually pray to God; and perhaps also indicates how approachable God is, even if prayer to God Himself initially seems too wonderful an idea for us.

18:7 The apparent silence of God to our prayers is because of His patience with us, not His deafness or indifference.

18:8 Shall He find faith on the earth?- It’s an open question. The context speaks of how God answers prayer. The fact He does this should inspire faith. But will there be such faith in the earth [maybe “land”, of Israel] on the eve of Christ’s return?

18:13 Struck his breast- The same Greek phrase is found only in the account of how those who watched the crucifixion of Jesus struck their breasts (Lk. 23:48). Here in 18:13, striking the breast means contrition and repentance. So it probably means the same in 23:48. Watching the death of Jesus brought people to repentance. This is why when we remember the death of Jesus at the breaking of bread service, we are naturally led to self-examination and repentance (1 Cor. 11:28).

18:14 Rendered righteous- We are not righteous in ourselves; but we are counted righteous by God through our being “in Christ” by baptism and continued faith in Him.

18:30 In this time- We receive these things in the church of God, through our relationships with others in Christ. Christianity isn’t intended to be lived in isolation from other believers.

18:34 Note the repetition of the fact they didn’t understand. They had a psychological barrier to the cross, just as we do in some ways- to share in the cross of Jesus is so demanding.