Luke 18

Before Reading.

  • Centering prayer— Pray for illumination, “Lord, open my heart and mind by the power of the Holy Spirit,” and remain in silence.

Reading.

  • Read slowly, keeping any words or phrase that come to your mind, and mark on them.
  • Close eyes and meditate on what you read.
  • Take a note if you have question, inspiration.

Read    Luke 18

Commentary.

Two parables on prayers (1-14) — Both stories have inner unity of how to pray to those who experienced question, doubt or faint on account of delayed answer or unanswered prayer. The story of cruel judge and widow (1-8) teaches praying with insistence, persistence, and patience. The story of prayer of Pharisee and tax collector (9-14) teaches right attitude of prayer. Tax collector in Jesus times was regarded as a politically traitor, religiously uncleaned. Praying is not about thanksgiving for self-righteousness (repeating self-performance in this story). Praying is about confessing God’s righteousness and our need of God’s mercy. The former story teaches of God’s justification and the latter story teaches of the ultimate failure of self- righteousness. Jesus taught that what both who receives is “in spite of,” not “because of.” “God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” has been one of classic centering prayers.

Children and the Kingdom (15-17) — The teaching about children and the kingdom flows out of Jesus teaching, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (v14). The word, “children” in this story means, “infants.” Why did the disciples rebuke the parent when they brought their children to Jesus to bless? They thought that children would have nothing to do with building the kingdom, or worse to be obstacles. What does it mean when Jesus teaches, “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (v 17)? It is not about some quality of children such as beauty, naïve, humility, dependence, trust, love, etc.) that anyone can enter into the kingdom. It is like infants who come with nothing and thus receive. It is totally grace of God. So are children welcomed.

The rich and the Kingdom (18-30) — Verse 14 continued to link to this story. In the rich man’s question, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  “do,” and “inherit” are contradictory. To inherit is to receive with doing nothing. Eternal life is the gift of God that we receive. Seeing his wealth, Jesus saw mammoth in this man’s heart. It was his own god that he depended upon. This rich man could not serve God because of his own god, and he has chosen it. A camel and an eye of the needle is a metaphor of humanly impossible. “No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God,” (v29) teaches the priority in relationship, not to be unfaithful to family nor do abandon them. The abundant blessings for the disciples are all in terms of relationship with Jesus.

Prediction on Jesus’ death (31-34) — Jesus predicted his passion with six mistreatments; handed over to the Gentiles, mock, insult, spit on, flog, and death. And his resurrection in three days. It is his Messianic proclamation as it was said by prophets. 

Healing of blind beggar (35-43) —- This man was blind physically but he was not spiritually because he called Jesus, “Son of David,” the Messiah.” In other words. Jesus healed the eyes of the man who could already see. Crowd’s rebuking him revealed their own blindness. “Your faith has healed you,” was the same as “ your faith has saved you.” He became a disciple following Jesus. This is the story of healing and salvation coming together.

After Reading —- Reflection and prayer…

  • Ask yourself, “What does God speak to me today in this chapter?
  • Jesus asks you today, “what do you want me to do for you?” Reflect on your response.
  • Pray that God’s word today be the way, the life, and the truth to you.
  • Live it out through the day.

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