Bible Discussion — Luke 18

April 16, 2008, 1:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, Connie, David, Josh J, Steve  | No Comments

This week, looks at the next two chapters of Luke, Luke 18.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17

In this chapter God uses a story about an unjust judge to make two points. One, men ought always to pray and not faint. Two, there will be times in your life when the God who loves you so much will appear disinterested in you and your problems, but that is never true. When this happens, refer to point one.

In John’s telling of the Bartimaeus story, he says he wants to regain his sight. Matthew reports that there were two blind men, and they asked Jesus to receive their sight. I keyed in on the word regain, because I think that sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it. We need to stop that behavior, saints.

I never noticed that little phrase in verse 7 — “cry out to Him day and night.” Jesus isn\’t talking about any prayer. He\’s talking about prayers with depths of emotion and need. It\’s a promise, but not the promise we may like to interpret it as.

Jesus made the blind man ask for his sight (as Josh mentions below in a great illustration).

Infants were being blessed, but not baptized — something Protestants still do today.

Steve: Flog
Josh: Tax Men
Josh, Connie: Scourge[d]
David: How Hardly; Sorrowful Rich

How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. In the Old Testament, prosperity was the sign of God\’s blessing. No wonder that in Mark’s account of the rich ruler, Jesus’ disciples were astonished — then astonished beyond measure when he added the part about the camel and the needle’s eye. He then comforted them by saying that, with God, those things that are impossible (like putting a literal camel through a literal eye of a needle) become possible.

I enjoy reading about the rich ruler. First Jesus says, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good –except God alone.” Right there are the first four of the ten commandments. Then Jesus recites to him five more commandments: “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.” That\’s the whole of the law written by God\’s hand — except for one commandment: do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. Funny that that\’s what makes the man turn away sadly.

“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

I know a lot of Christians who like to explain this verse away, or focus on the “all things are possible with God” sentiment that follows. What I don\’t understand is why we\’re always looking for a loophole, so eager to increase the degree of difficulty on our trip to heaven for the fleeting pleasures of this world.

It reminds me of Jimmy Swaggart preaching a powerful message on the blind man’s persistence before he fell. A message that changed my life, from a man soon destined to crash and burn.

When I was about 11 years old, my mother enlisted my help preparing various Sunday School and children\’s programs, specifically with puppet shows. She was the narrator and I played a host of characters. One story that sticks out after all these years is the parable of the persistent widow. The sketch basically consisted of me calling out in a shrill voice, over and over again, “Gimme my rights! Gimme my rights!” I\’m sure there was more to it than that, but that\’s what my 11-year-old mind remembers.

It’s a dangerous creature, a judge who neither fears God nor cares about men.

The Pharisee fasted twice a week. For how long each time, I wonder?

I love that Jesus asks the beggar, “What do you want Me to do?” It seems so personal. Jesus may know what the man wants, but He hunkers down next to him and asks him what he wants. It\’s so kind.

Chloe; Steve:
18:22 — “So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ ”

18:27 — “But He said, ‘The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.’ ”

18:17 — “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Verse 29 is a bit troubling. It basically says that if you leave your wife — for the sake of the kingdom, of course — you\’ll get a heavenly reward. I just don\’t know how this fits with a biblical view of marriage.

Was the rich ruler being truthful when he claimed that he had kept all the commandments from his childhood? Jesus doesn\’t challenge the statement.

I wrote an article about the rich young ruler, and you can read it there. We have been affirmatively called to forsake what we love the most to follow Christ. The Gospel calls us to give up those things we love, those things we feel entitled to, those things — whatever they might be — that keep us from complete devotion and a wholehearted, wholesale desire to serve only one master.

One lesson is that Jesus accepts children now. So often, our church structure keeps children separated from the body of Christ and treats them like junior partners. Yet we still hope that when we finally deem them old enough and say, “You\’re mature enough to serve God now, come on in,” they’ll still be interested.

“What do you want Me to do for you?”
“Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

What strikes me here is that Jesus already knew what the man wanted, and not just because He was Jesus. The man was blind. I think even I could have guessed what his request would be. But Jesus still asked. Why do we make requests of a God who already knows what we need?

“Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”

Bringing our needs to God is a matter of faith, not just that He exists, but that He is the One in control, and He is the One who can save us.

Jesus plainly foretells his death and the disciples still can\’t grasp what he\’s talking about, perhaps thinking it\’s another parable.


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