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Luke Chapter Eighteen


I. Content of the Chapter


How to Enter the Kingdom of God

I.  One should pray to God for help:

  A. Pray continually (v.1-8).

  B. Be humble and ask for God’s mercy (v.9-14).

II. Those who are like infants could enter (v.15-17).

III. It does not lie in doing good but being delivered from the power of treasure (v.18-25).

IV. Entering the kingdom of God is impossible with men and it is possible with God (v.26-27).

V. Receive deprivation of the cross for the sake of the kingdom of God (v.28-34).

VI. One should ask the Lord to open his eyes of heart and then he could follow the Lord in the way of the cross (v.35-43).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Luke. 18:1 “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,

   YLT: “And he spake also a simile to them, that it behoveth [us] always to pray, and not to faint,”

   Meaning of Words: “always”: at all times; “lose heart”: faint, be weak, be weary.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The common failure of the life of prayer is the lack of persistence. If we have prayed for a certain thing for one day, one weak, one month and even one month and it still has not been answered, we will lose heat and think that it must be hopeless and then we will never mention it in the prayer. It is the greatest wrongness.

2) The one who prays with faith does not lose heart, even the prayer has not been answered. The one who prays with faith regards the previous prayer that has not been answered as encouragement and a piece of evidence that implies us that God’s answer is near and at the moment.

3) The one who prays with faith “carries out an undertaking from start to finish”. The one who “gives up halfway” accomplishes nothing in everything. If one has a habit of “giving up halfway”, he will have the certainty of failure. So is the prayer that has been given up halfway. The faintness works hopeless and hopeless works unbelief------these are the death wounds to prayer. 

4) The one who prays not only calls upon God but also resists Satan. God always enables us to overcome Satan through our prayers. Therefore only God, instead of us, could cease prayer. Hope that we dare not cease praying randomly, unless His answer has come or we have already had the assurance.


Luke. 18:2 “saying: There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.

   YLT: “saying, ‘A certain judge was in a certain city God he is not fearing, and man he is not regarding”

   Literal Meaning: “nor regard man” It means that he did not show consideration for the needs of others nor take notice of others’ view towards him.

   Enlightenment in the Word: “regarding man” should be based on the respect (fear) for God. Only the one who “fears” (is afraid of) God could truly “regard” man.


Luke. 18:3 “Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, Get justice for me from my adversary.'

   YLT: “and a widow was in that city, and she was coming unto him, saying, Do me justice on my opponent,”

   Meaning of Words: “get justice”: punish, avenge, vindicate.

   Literal Meaning: “Now there was a widow in that city” “A widow” is desolate and hopeless and she is usually easy to be ill-treated by others.

   Spiritual Meaning: “Now there was a widow in that city.” Concerning the spiritual relation, Christians have been presented to Christ as a chaste virgin (2Cor. 11:2). However, the bridegroom has already been taken away from us (See 5:35) and men could see Him no more (See John. 16:10). Therefore Christians who are alive in this world are like widows, hoping of being with Him one day, until He comes back (See Pill. 1:23).

  “She came to him” “him” refers to the unrighteous “judge” (See v.2). He represents God on the reverse side, purposely showing the righteousness of God.

  “From my adversary” “Satan” in the original means “the adversary”. The Devil Satan not only sets itself against God but also opposes Christians. It accuses us before God day and night (Rev.12:10) on one hand. On the other, it wants to devour us on the earth (1Pet. 5:8-9).

  “Get justice for me” It refers to asking God to execute righteousness and keep believers so as to deliver us from the deceits and persecutions of the devil.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) This verse reminds us of the reason why “men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (v.1): a) The adversary is evil. b) We are powerless by ourselves. c) God is the God of righteousness and He has to get justice for us.

2) Every normal Christian should have the attitude as “a widow” towards the world------the world had opposed and killed our Lord and therefore we do not show any love towards it. The world is only the blank towards us!

3) If there is not “the adversary”, the widow won’t go to beseech the judge. It is not a bad thing for our spiritual life that believers have been ill-treated by the world during their lifetime in the world because it would enable us to rely on God more.


Luke. 18:4 “And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, Though I do not fear God nor regard man,

   YLT: “and he would not for a time, but after these things he said in himself, Even if God I do not fear, and man do not regard,”

   Literal Meaning: “And he would not for a while” In this parable, the “he would not for a while” is diametrically opposed to the widow’ “coming to him” (v.3) and “her continual coming” (v.5).


Luke. 18:5 “yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

   YLT: “yet because this widow doth give me trouble, I will do her justice, lest, perpetually coming, she may plague me.’”

  Meaning of Words: “trouble”: bother, labor; “weary”: one’s face is beaten badly, buffet one’s body (1Cor. 9:27).

   Literal Meaning: the point of the Lord Jesus here is that: if a judge who did not fear God nor regard man would be forced to deal with the case of the helpless justly because of the widow’s constant and eager appeal. Then, won’t the righteous and kind God answer our prayer?

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The only weapon that widow has is her unyielding will. The one who is easy to be weary and lose heart does not have prospects in spiritual things (See Heb. 12:1-3).

2) Our God is unlike that unrighteous judge who felt weary and then yielded himself and answered the widow after he had been troubled. If His answer is delayed, it must be for the benefit of us (See 1Pet. 1:6-7).

3) Many of us almost have never troubled God because we have prayed for one time or two and then we forgot it. There is no need for God to answer this kind of prayer.


Luke. 18:6 “Then the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge said.

   YLT: “And the Lord said, `Hear ye what the unrighteous judge saith:”


Luke. 18:7 “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?

   YLT: “and shall not God execute the justice to His choice ones, who are crying unto Him day and night bearing long in regard to them?”

   Literal Meaning: “His own elect who cry out day and night to Him” “Elect” here may specially speak of the remnant of the Jews in the Great Tribulation (See 17:22-32) and it also refers to believers who are persecuted in every age.

  “Though He bears long with them” “Them” should refer to God’s elect. It shows that if God has not immediately executed salvation to His elect who have been ill-treated, it is not that He disregards them. However it is for the spiritual benefit of them on one hand. On the other it is His tolerance and patience towards those who have ill-treated His believers.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Every proper prayer that is made in the right spirit will never be forgotten to be answered by God.

2) God answers our prayers, however, He may not answer us according to our appointed time. If we seek Him, He will surely appear unto us, however, He may not appear unto us according to the time and the place that we have hoped and planed.

3) God’s time cannot be directed by us. Just like striking a flint to produce sparks, we should strike once, twice, over and over again until the flint produces sparks. The heavenly things are more certain because the promise of God stands behind us.

4) The Lord is not slack His promise, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2Pet. 3:9).


Luke. 18:8 “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’”

   YLT: “I say to you, that He will execute the justice to them quickly; but the Son of Man having come, shall he find the faith upon the earth?’”

   Literal Meaning: “He will avenge them speedily” God will avenge on our enemy when the Savior comes back (2Thess. 2:6-9).

  “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” “Faith” does not refer to the “faith” that makes men be saved but the “faith” in prayer. It is like the widow’s faith in prayer which holds on straight to the end. The whole sentence means that when the Son of Man comes, will He really find men who have the steadfast and persevering faith and firmly believe that the Lord comes to avenge on their enemy?

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) God the Father sent His son in order to avenge God’s people on His enemy------Satan, as the Lord said that I will repay (See Rom. 12:20).

2) For this purpose Jesus Christ was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil and its ill-treatment towards us (See 1John. 3:8).

3) Before the Lord comes back, believers will suffer a period of tough days------they will suffer persecution and tribulations. Under that kind of condition, we should hold fast our faith to the Lord.

4) Though we believe that the Lord is willing to work for us and He is able to do everything. However, our faith is always temporary and few of us could believe and endure to the end.

5) The faith is much more precious if it has been proved. Therefore when we are in various trials, we should not only hold on and endure but also greatly rejoice because of the trial (1Pet. 1:6-7).

6) If we lack faith in our prayers, it shows that we haven’t really truly asked God about something. We should not hope that God would hear our heartless prayers.

7) It is the prayer with faith that one holds fast the promise of God and prays unyieldingly.

8) God will never be unfaithful and the problem is that we may not believe in Him.


Luke. 18:9 “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

   YLT: “And he spake also unto certain who have been trusting in themselves that they were righteous, and have been despising the rest, this simile:”

   Meaning of Words: “despise”: least esteemed, set at naught.

   Literal Meaning: “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” indicate the Pharisees (See 16:15).


Luke. 18:10Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

   YLT: “`Two men went up to the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer;”

   The Background: “went up to the temple to pray” In the morning and evening offering in the temple, there are two routine gatherings of public prayers in the outward court. In addition, each one could go to the temple to pray privately.

  “A Pharisees” It was one of the most serious sect in Judaism. The Pharisees boasted that they had the holy life, feared God and had knowledge of the Bible.

  “A tax collector” collected taxes for the Roman Government. They on one hand pressed their fellow countrymen and on the other embezzled levies and therefore they were usually despised by the common Jews.


Luke. 18:11 “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

   YLT: “the Pharisee having stood by himself, thus prayed: God, I thank Thee that I am not as the rest of men, rapacious, unrighteous, adulterers, or even as this tax-gatherer;”

   Literal Meaning: “the Pharisee stood” Though “standing” is the common gesture of the Jews when praying, here it shows the tone of showing off: one raises his head proudly and stands in the noticeable place. 

  “Prayed thus with himself” “With himself” shows that his prayer is not said to God but to himself.

“I…I…” He repeated “I” again and again (See v.12), showing that the real state of his heart is self adulation and pride. The word in this verse is not like prayer to God at all but the accusation against others.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Every prayer in which one regards himself as righteous and condemns others is only the talk with oneself instead of the true prayer in the sight of God.

2) Those who are full of the thoughts of the Law and live under the principles of the Law (“the Pharisees”) are only intoxicated with self-satisfaction and have not experienced the spiritual reality.


Luke. 18:12 “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'

   YLT: “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all things as many as I possess.”

   The Background: “I fast twice a week” The Pharisees fast twice a week in order to show their piety (See 5:33; Matt. 6:16; 9:14; Mark. 2:18). However it has not been ordered in the Law. There is only the feast of fasting in the Day of Atonement (See Lev. 16:29-31; 23:27-29; Acts. 27:9).

  “I give tithes” The Pharisees quite value the tithes (See Matt. 23:23; Lev. 27:30; Deut. 14:22).

   Literal Meaning: please pay attention to the prayer of the Pharisee. Though apparently he made the form of prayer, he did not speak to God actually. On the contrary, he boasted of his own morality (See v.11) and his pious behaviors. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) One’s arrogance and boast towards God in prayer is the most abominable sin before God.

2) Prayers of many believers are like that of the Pharisee. They do not expect any answer from God and therefore their prayers cannot be answered.


Luke. 18:13 “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner!'

   YLT: “`And the tax-gatherer, having stood afar off, would not even the eyes lift up to the heaven, but was smiting on his breast, saying, God be propitious to me the sinner!”

   Meaning of Words: “be merciful”: show mercy, remit, atone for, make reconciliation for.

   Literal Meaning: “And the tax collector, standing afar off” shows that he did not dare to attract others’ attention.

  “Would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven” shows that he feared God.

  “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” “Be merciful” in the original refers to making reconciliation for. “Me a sinner” shows that he cared about his own sins instead of others’ sins (See v.11).

  It shows    the following truth: a) Only God is qualified to show mercy to men. b) God is the God who is willing to show mercy to men. c) We do not receive God’s mercy because of reasons. d) We should only admit our poor states before God. e) We should trust ourselves to God completely.

Spiritual Meaning: standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven” It shows that he knows his corruption. “Beat his breast” shows that he is broken and contrite for sins. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” It symbolizes that he asks God to remit his sins by the effect of Christ’s redemption. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If God does not show mercy, it is in vain no matter how one wills or runs. The moment God shows mercy to someone, all his problems will be solved. Therefore we all need God’s mercy.

2) God is full of mercy. Whenever you have the true intention of seeking His mercy, you will receive His mercy and enter into grace.

3) When one asks for God’s mercy, he has to give up his reasons. Many people do not need God’s mercy because they have many reasons and it seem that they own many worthy things and they could use them to exchange the grace of God with Him. It is wrong because grace is free.


Luke. 18:14 “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’”

   YLT: “I say to you, this one went down declared righteous, to his house, rather than that one: for every one who is exalting himself shall be humbled, and he who is humbling himself shall be exalted.’”

   Literal Meaning: “justified” means that he is justified by God and he is counted righteous. “Justification” is more than the remission of sins because God sees him as if he has not committed sins.

  In the original the word “justified” has been used five times in the Gospel of Luke (See 7:29, 35; 10:29; 16:15). In other three Gospels, it only has been used twice in the Gospel of Matthew (See Matt. 11:19; 12:37).

  “And he who humbles himself will be exalted.” “Humble himself” indicates the modest attitude and it does not mean the self-abasement of one’s personality.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) It is the reckoning of God------men’s goodness and evilness in behaviors are not effective sometimes and men’s humbleness is effective.

2) That tax collector asked God to be merciful to him (See v.13) and God’s answer to him is that “he was justified”. What God has done is not according to our thoughts but according to His own thoughts and therefore what He does exceeding abundantly above all which we ask or think (See Eph. 3:20).

3) Believers should not exalt themselves or think of themselves more highly than they ought to think (Rom. 12:3). Believers should humble themselves and esteem others better than themselves (Pill. 2:3).

4) When we see others, we should see the new man in others. When we see ourselves, we should see the old men in us. In this way, we won’t exalt ourselves and we will humble ourselves.


Luke. 18:15 “Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

   YLT: “And they were bringing near also the babes, that he may touch them, and the disciples having seen did rebuke them,”

   Literal Meaning: “that He might touch them” It shows that they asked the Lord to bless them.

  “When the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.” Most probably, the disciples thought the Lord’s journey to Jerusalem should not be blocked by such little, naive and ignorant infants.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Men’s natural concept is full of the thoughts of divisions of honor and lowliness (See James. 2:1-7). Believers may usually be unconsciously be puffed up on behalf of one against the other (See 1Cor. 4:6).

2) Those who fear the Lord should not be with respect of persons (See James. 2:1), or even not play the bully to others.


Luke. 18:16 “But Jesus called them to Him and said, Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.

   YLT: “and Jesus having called them near, said, `Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the reign of God;”

   Meaning of Words: “forbid”: hinder, prevent.

   Literal Meaning: “for of such is the kingdom of God.” Please note that the Lord did not say “these” but “of such”. It shows that it does not refer to the age but the nature. “Of such”, it refers to men who are as innocent, humble and dependent as little children. Such characters are the qualifications for entering the kingdom of God (See Matt. 18:3).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) In the church, nothing is so little that the Lord is not concerned about. Therefore we should bring all things, whether it is great or not, to the Lord.

2) In the church, no one is so great that something, in his eyes, is too small for them to do.

3) Those who think that they own nothing and ask for the Lord humbly will be acceptable to the Lord.

4) No matter who we are and no matter how our states are, the Lord likes to have fellowship with us and draw near to us. The Lord does not allow any person or thing to hinder us from having communion with Him.


Luke. 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.’”

   YLT: “verily I say to you, Whoever may not receive the reign of God as a little child, may not enter into it.’”

   Literal Meaning: “does not…as a little child” Compared with adults, “a little child” has his advantages and disadvantages. The Lord did not ask them to be like little children who are naïve (See 1Cor. 3:1-3), unable to discern both good and evil (See Eph. 4:14), unable to eat solid food (See Heb. 5:12-14) and so on. He asked them to be as “humble” as little children (See Matt. 18:4). This feature shows their dispositions that they are innocent, simple, humble, willing to hear and obey, fully rely on their parents and so on.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) It is not to “pretend to be” a little child but “as” a little child. Therefore one could rest upon the present positions and does not feel that he is tired or in an unfavorable situation.

2) The Lord’s words show that our old men and old dispositions do not have any place in the kingdom of God because God resists the proud (James. 4:6; 1Pet. 5:5).

3) We should be like little children and do not allow our hearts to be occupied by traditional concepts and then we could receive the kingdom of God as a new thing.


Luke. 18:18 “Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’”

   YLT: “And a certain ruler questioned him, saying, `Good teacher, what having done shall I inherit life age-during?’”

   Literal Meaning: “a certain ruler asked Him” This ruler is a young rich man (See Matt. 19:22).

  “Good teacher” shows that he saw Jesus as “teacher” to teach others instead of the “savior” to save all the people (See John 3:2).

  “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This sentence includes four meanings: 1) he knew the importance of “inheriting eternal life”. 2) He confessed that there was no eternal life in him. 3) He thought that he may inherit eternal life by “doing something”. 4) He did not know what he should do in order to inherit eternal life.

  “Have eternal life” is “be saved” (See v.26). It means to “have the eternal life of God” and be delivered from the eternal perdition (See John. 3:16).

  “Eternal life” is grace that God gives men through Jesus Christ and it is not the repay that men win from God by good works.


Luke. 18:19 “So Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

   YLT: “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why me dost thou call good? no one [is] good, except One God;”

   Literal Meaning: “Why do you call Me good?” means “if you think that I am a common teacher, you should not call that I am good,” because every man is not good.

  “No one is good but One, that is, God.” It means that there is none good, besides God (See Rom. 3:10). That the Lord said so did not show that He thought him sinful or same with normal men. However it shows that: 1) God is the source of true goodness. 2) Men do not have true goodness once they depart from God.

  The Lord Jesus here did not deny that He Himself is God. He wanted to lead this young ruler to know that He is the only good God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) A worthless tree cannot produce good fruit (See Matt. 7:18). The world cannot do something good through the evil nature.

2) The good man out of the good treasure brings forth good things (See Matt. 12:35). However, only God is good. Therefore no matter what we do, the things we do cannot be counted as good in God’s sight.

3) That except the righteousness of believers shall exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, we shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (See Matt. 5:20). Therefore, we should not only keep the commandments of the Old Testament concerning morality but also keep the new commandments issued by the king of the kingdom of heaven (Matt.5-7).

4) No one is good but God. No one can be saved by his good works, and only the salvation of the Lord Jesus works.

5) All the works outside of the will and power of God are not “good” works. All the works of believers should be of God and through God.


Luke. 18:20 “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,' ‘Do not murder,' ‘Do not steal,' ‘Do not bear false witness,' ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”

   YLT: “the commands thou hast known: Thou mayest not commit adultery, Thou mayest do no murder, Thou mayest not steal, Thou mayest not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.’”

   Meaning of Words: honor”: respect.

   Literal Meaning: “You know the commandments” The purpose that the Lord Jesus mentioned “commandments” here is not to imply him that he could be saved by keeping the Law. On the contrary, the Lord wanted to make him know two things through the Law: a) The commandments show God’s love and His disposition of holiness and righteousness. b) He had to know his incapacity from the failure that men were totally unable to keep the commandments, thus realizing that men could not have eternal life by doing good.

  “Do not commit adultery. Do not…” They are the fifth to the ninth commandments of the Ten Commandments. “Honor your father and your mother” was the fifth commandment and it has been arranged at the back. Here the tenth commandment------“do not covet” has not been mentioned. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Though believers in the New Testament do not need to keep the commandments concerning the ceremonies in the Old Testament, we should still keep the commandments of morality.

2) In the church we should keep spiritual commandments: a) do not bring the world into the church------commit adultery; b) do not spread the factor of death------murder; c) do not usurp the glory of God------steal; d) do not bear witness to things outside of Christ------bear false witness; e) magnify the Lord------honor the father and the mother.


Luke. 18:21 “And he said, All these things I have kept from my youth.’”

   YLT: “And he said, ‘All these I did keep from my youth;’”

   Literal Meaning: unfortunately, this young man had not seen his incapacity and thought that he had kept all these things. Actually, he only kept the commandments in words and letters and unavoidably violated the commandments in the spirit.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The self-righteous ones indeed live in darkness and they are unable to see their transgressions.

2) As long as one has offended in the least commandment of the Law, he is guilty of all (See James. 2:10).


Luke. 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.’”

   YLT: “and having heard these things, Jesus said to him, `Yet one thing to thee is lacking; all things as many as thou hast sell, and distribute to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, be following me;’”

   Literal Meaning: here the Lord raised the strictest claim to show his imperfectness.

You still lack one thing”, it implied that he was not “perfect” at the time------even if men have kept all the commandments, they are still imperfect in the sight of the Lord. From the Lord’s following words, we could know that what he lacked was the tenth commandment------“do not covet”, especially money.

“Sell all that you have”, it showed that “all that he had” was the clear proof of his imperfectness, so he had to “sell” what he had.

“And distribute to the poor”, if he could not “distribute all that he have to the poor”, it proved that he couldn’t “love his neighbor as himself” (See Matt. 19:20).

And you will have treasure in heaven”, it indicated that what he had now was only on the earth and he had nothing in heaven.

And come, follow Me”, it implied that even though he had distributed all that he had to the poor, he might still keep the poor only, not the Lord Jesus in his heart (See Mark. 14:7). Therefore he had to “follow the Lord”, in other words, he had to love the Lord more than all (See Matt. 10:37-38).

According to the context, this verse is not a general rule that every Christian should live a poor life. The Lord, with a purpose of asking the young man to do in this way, intended to let him know he had not kept all the commandments indeed (See v.21) and realize that men could not inherit eternal life by doing something (See v.18).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) This verse is the general outline of the law: “sell all that you have and contribute to the poor”, namely, “love your neighbor as yourselves”. “Come, follow Me” is “love the Lord your God”.

2) The Lord demands more and more: a) “sell”------it is easy for general believers to sell the possession for money (See Acts. 5:1); b) “contribute to the poor”------it is very difficult; c) “come, follow Me”------it is more difficult, because what one distributes to others is the worldly possessions but one follows by “the whole person”.

3) The Lord asked the young man to sell all that he had and then follow the Lord, showing that what we had was always an obstacle to follow the Lord.

4) Believers should not only be concerned about their own needs but also care for that of others. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (Pill. 2:4).

5) One shall remove the obstacles so as to walk in the way of life and follow the Lord ahead.

6) The Lord asks us to abandon all besides Him, no matter it is the material or spiritual------“sell all that you have” and look upon Him single-mindedly, follow Him and regard Him as the most precious------“have treasure in heaven…follow me”.

7) “And come, follow Me”, some people may devote all his possession (See 1Cor. 13:3) for the sake of some lofty ideal, but not give himself to be a follower of the Lord. Such kind of “selling all that one has” profits him nothing.


Luke. 18:23 “But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

   YLT: “and he, having heard these things, became very sorrowful, for he was exceeding rich.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Anyone who keeps something for himself and is unwilling to follow the Lord will lead a “sorrowful” life.

2) Even little children, through grace, could be blessed by the Lord (See v.16). However, the one who had kept all the commandments through deeds (See v.21) went away “sorrowfully” in the end.

3) The more possessions one has, the greedier he will be. Such situation can also be applied in spiritual things------if one stresses on spiritual possessions besides the Lord such as eloquence, knowledge, and gifts, he will suffer the sorrow consequently.

4) Those who love treasure more than the Lord make themselves be “sorrowful”. However those who love the Lord more than all have the fullness of joy, though they have lost their goods (See Heb. 10:34).

5) Great possessions may hold men back from following the Lord. Not only material sufficiency but also spiritual complacency will hold men back from receiving grace.

6) Though that young rich man had come to Christ, he did not obtain Christ. If we can neither forsake all things “what things were gain to me”------spiritual achievements in the past, nor seek Christ earnestly, probably we still cannot fully obtain Christ (See Pill. 3:7, 12).

7) Earthly things and heavenly things cannot be mixed together. If believers are reluctant to give up the earthly and worldly things, they will be unable to enjoy the heavenly and spiritually riches.

8) Whenever you meet the Lord, the Lord must demand you of something. If we have not answered the Lord, or are unwilling to pay the cost, there will be two results:

(a) As for us, we will go away sorrowfully.

(b) As for the Lord, He cannot be manifested in us.


Luke. 18:24 “And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!

   YLT: “And Jesus having seen him become very sorrowful, said, `How hardly shall those having riches enter into the reign of God!”

   Literal Meaning: how hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”------On one hand, being born from above is the prerequisite for entering the kingdom of God (See John. 3:3, 5). And as long as we believe in the Lord, we will be born from above. Therefore it is not difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. On the other, the Lord told the rich man that the prerequisite for him to enter the kingdom of God was to “sell all that he has and contribute to the poor, come and follow Him”. Therefore, “to enter the kingdom of heaven” here is not equal to “having eternal life” or “being saved”. “Entering the kingdom of God” means that believers must live in the reality of the kingdom of heaven in this age and seek to be an indeed citizen of the kingdom of God, and will gain the glory of the kingdom when the Lord comes back. In that sense, it is indeed difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

   Spiritual Meaning: the spiritual definition of “those who have riches” is those who own something besides the Lord and yet are unwilling to deny themselves or lose the enjoyments of soul for the sake of the Lord (See Mark. 8:34-35).

   Enlightenment in the Word: men cannot enter the kingdom of God by money. The love or attachment for wealth will prevent a man, even a poor man, from entering the kingdom of God.


Luke. 18:25 “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.’”

   YLT: “for it is easier for a camel through the eye of a needle to enter, than for a rich man into the reign of God to enter.’”

   The Background: “for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,” there was often another smaller door besides the city gate of the Jews in the old days. The smaller door was called “the door of the eye of a needle”. During the day, the city gate was open for the coming in and going out of men and goods. At dusk, the city gate would be closed and only the door of the eye of a needle was open. That smaller door was so small that only “man” was allowed to come in and go out. Therefore, if there came camels carrying goods, man had to firstly unload the goods and made the camels incline and crawl and then pushed and drew them so that the camels would pass the door. Later, “a camel to go through the eye of a needle” had become a common saying to describe that something is very difficult and yet is not absolutely impossible.

   Literal Meaning: “for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” The word “needle” in the original indicates the needle that surgeons use and it is different from the “needle” in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark (See Matt. 19:24; Mark. 10:25). “Camel” was the greatest animal in Palestine. “The eye of a needle” was the smallest channel known by men. “A camel to go through the eye of a needle”, it showed that “it was totally impossible to men” (See v.27).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Though it is difficult for rich men to enter the kingdom of heaven, it is not absolutely impossible. “Camel”, a kind of animal that carries goods, represents treasure------as long as one is willing to dedicate his treasure to the Lord, he can enter therein.

2) Though it is difficult for the great camel to go through the small eye of a needle, as long as the principle of cross is applied------to deny oneself, burn self into ashes and come to naught------it will become possible to pass through.


Luke. 18:26 “And those who heard it said, Who then can be saved?’”

   YLT: “And those who heard, said, ‘And who is able to be saved?’”

   Literal Meaning: they had at least two faults: a) they equated being saved with entering the kingdom of God; b) they thought wealth could help men to earn the right of entering the kingdom of God, since the treasure was a token of God’s blessing to righteous men (See Deut. 28:1-12).

  Strictly speaking, “being saved” is a synonym of “inheriting eternal life” (v.18), but it is different from “entering the kingdom of God” (v.24). Believers who have been saved have already inherited the eternal life and therefore they have obtained the basic requirement of “entering the kingdom of God” (See John 3:3, 5). Moreover, believers should also let the Lord reign in them thoroughly so that they will enter the kingdom of God actually, in other words, they live in the reality of the kingdom of God.


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

   YLT: “and he said, ‘The things impossible with men are possible with God.’”

   Literal Meaning: the word of the Lord answered the tough question that it is impossible for one to both “have riches” and “enter the kingdom of God”. Therefore He meant that God could get rid of the power of treasure in men’s hearts and enable men to leave all (See v.28-29) and enter the kingdom of God.

  Someone thought that that young ruler may believe in Christ according to this verse. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The young man thought it was impossible for man to enter the kingdom of God (See v.23), so did those who heard this (See v.26). Even the Lord Himself also proved that, “which are impossible with men”. It is impossible for men to enter the kingdom of God by themselves.

2) “Are possible with God.”------God can change the impossibility of men into possibility. God’s way is to give Himself to men and strengthen them and enable men to “have strength for all things” (See Pill. 4:13).

3) “The things that are impossible with men”, it declares the uselessness of men’s deeds. “Are possible with God”, it shows the fullness of God’s grace. Only by faith instead of deeds can we be saved (See Eph. 2:8-9).

4) That young ruler only saw his impossibility and did not see God’s possibility in all things and therefore he went away sorrowfully (See v.23). If one only sees his impossibility, he will become sorrowful. However, if one sees that it is possible with God, he will rejoice and praise God.

5) After we have been saved, we have to rely on God’s “almightiness” to do good works (See Eph. 2:10) so that we can indeed live in the reality of the kingdom of God (See 2Pet. 1:10-11).

6) God has the infinite power to help us to solve all difficulties whether in the living environments or the spiritual growth. We should rely on Him.

7) In the eyes of men, it is difficult for some unbelievers to believe in the Lord and be saved. However, it is possible in the eyes of God. Therefore, we should not give up anyone rashly. Because once God works in men, the most hardened sinners will be saved.


Luke. 18:28 “Then Peter said, See, we have left all and followed You.’”

   YLT: “And Peter said, ‘Lo, we left all, and did follow thee;’”

   Literal Meaning: Peter meant that since we “had left something”, we should obtain something in future and that would be reasonable. Though it was not wrong, it carried the nature of exchange and its motive was not noble enough.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Peter’s “see” showed his “possession”. He was “a spiritually rich man” and really had something to boast.

2) The reason why we can leave all and follow the Lord is God’s attraction, working and strengthening. Therefore all the glory should be given unto God.


Luke. 18:29 “So He said to them, Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,

   YLT: “and he said to them, `Verily I say to you, that there is not one who left house, or parents, or brothers, or wife, or children, for the sake of the reign of God,”

   Meaning of Words: “left”: lay aside, abandon, had remitted. 


Luke. 18:30 “who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.’”

   YLT: “who may not receive back manifold more in this time, and in the coming age, life age-during.’”

   Literal Meaning: “who shall not receive many times more in this present time” it means that one shall receive full enjoyment and joy in this age.

  “And in the age to come eternal life”, it refers to obtaining the blessings of the everlasting life in the coming age. The Lord did not mean that we could earn eternal life by leaving all (See v.29). He meant that when we enter the realm of eternal life, our leaving could enable us to enjoy the fullness of life more------the reward that God has prepared for the overcoming believers.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The spiritual principle is to forsake first and receive afterwards.

2) The reward of the kingdom is both in this age and the coming age.

3) The reward of the kingdom of God is a “hundredfold”. This reward is Christ Himself, for Christ is fully perfect.


Luke. 18:31 “Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.

   YLT: “And having taken the twelve aside, he said unto them, ‘Lo, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be completed that have been written through the prophets to the Son of Man,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord did not speak of “I am going to” but “we are going to”. It is not enough for one to walk in the way of the cross and we should also exhort and lead men to keep the will of God and take up the cross to walk forth.

2) “And all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.” If the will that God had established has not been accomplished, He won’t be satisfied. Therefore we should cooperate with God so that all things that He had planed for us shall be accomplished in us.


Luke. 18:32 “For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.

   YLT: “for he shall be delivered up to the nations, and shall be mocked, and insulted, and spit upon,”

   Literal Meaning: “He will be delivered to the Gentiles” “The Gentiles” refer to the Romans. Jesus was condemned to death by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and then was crucified (See 23:23-25).

  “And will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.” Before being crucified, Jesus was mocked and insulted by the men who held Him, the soldiers of Herod and the Roman soldiers and was spit upon His face (See 22:63; 23:11; Mark. 15:16-20).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord guided the disciples all the way and often mentioned His suffering and being killed to them (See 9:22, 44, 17:25), showing that the Lord’s way was pointing to the cross all the time.

2) If we could surpass the suffering of the cross and see the glory in the resurrection, we will joyfully run the way that is set before us fearlessly.

3) There must be suffering before glory (Rom. 8:17); the death before resurrection (1Cor. 15:36). The cross is the way for one to be highly exalted (Pill. 2:8-9). This is the model left for us by the Lord Jesus. 

4) The more sufferings one suffers, the more consolations of the Lord he will receive (2Cor. 1:5). The more one is delivered to death, the more the Lord’s life of resurrection will be manifested in him (2Cor. 4:11).


Luke. 18:33 “They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.’”

   YLT: “and having scourged they shall put him to death, and on the third day he shall rise again.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “And the third day He will rise again.” The difference between Christianity and other religions is the resurrection of the Savior the Lord Jesus. The difference between Christians and other religious believers is that Christians have the hope of resurrection.

2) To Christians, the cross is not the end and there is the glory of resurrection after the cross. If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Rom. 8:17).


Luke. 18:34 “But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.

   YLT: “And they none of these things understood, and this saying was hid from them, and they were not knowing the things said.”

   Enlightenment in the Word: Those who are spiritually proud and conceited------“See, we have left all and followed you” (v.28) cannot understand the meaning of the cross------“they understood none of these things…they did not know the things which were spoken.”


Luke. 18:35 “Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging.

   YLT: “And it came to pass, in his coming nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the way begging,”

   The Background: “as He was coming near Jericho” This event happened “as they departed from Jericho” in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark (See Matt. 20:29; Mark. 10:46). We should know the background of the city of Jericho so as to understand the reason of this discrepancy. There was a new Jericho and an old one at that time. The former was built by Herod the Great and there was a road connecting these two cities. Mark and Matthew recorded the time when Jesus went out of the old Jericho, Luke mentioned the time when Jesus was coming near the new Jericho. Therefore there was no contradiction between them.

  Jericho”, it was a land which had been cursed (See Josh. 6:26).

   Literal Meaning: “a certain blind man” His name was “Bartimaeus” (See Mark. 10:46). Two blind men were recorded in the Gospel of Matthew (See Matt. 20:30) and only one was recorded here. Probably, Bartimaeus was one of the two and he was more active and it was he that cried out.

   Spiritual Meaning: “a certain blind man”, it refers to the one who lacks enlightenment and revelation and neither knows God nor himself in darkness. 

  “Sat by the road begging” “Sat by the road” means man no longer grows up in life. “Begging” symbolizes that one has to rely on others’ provision and feeding because of the naivety of life.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Following the Lord is the way for one to be blessed. However men cannot follow the Lord because of blindness, only “sitting by the road”. This is a picture of men’s poor state in darkness.

2) He “begged”, for he was a “blind man”. All those who are dark in spirit and lack revelation cannot receive provision from the Lord directly and have to beg the second-hand things from men.


Luke. 18:36 “And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant.

   YLT: “and having heard a multitude going by, he was inquiring what this may be,”


Luke. 18:37 “So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.

   YLT: “and they brought him word that Jesus the Nazarene doth pass by,”


Luke. 18:38 “And he cried out, saying, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’”

   YLT: “and he cried out, saying, `Jesus, Son of David, deal kindly with me;’”

   Literal Meaning: “Son of David” is a name used by the Jews for the Messiah. They hoped that the Messiah would come to save them and remove the suffering of the world (See Is. 9:7, Jer. 23:5-6).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Though this blind man could not “see”, he could “hear” (See v.36). Once he had heard it, he caught the chance to call upon the Lord. It is the reason why he was granted grace.

2) Thank the Lord! He makes us hear the gospel and know that He is “Jesus” (it means “Jehovah the Savior” and “the salvation of Jehovah” in the original) and the Son of David (it means that He is the coming Messiah). Therefore we cry out to Him.


Luke. 18:39 “Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me!’”

   YLT: “and those going before were rebuking him, that he might be silent, but he was much more crying out, `Son of David, deal kindly with me.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Those who went before” The religious leaders who are sophisticated and seem to be closer to the Lord usually become the stumbling blocks for others to seek Christ.

2) The prayer of seeking to be able to see may often be forbidden by men. However the more one is forbidden, the more urgently he asks. In this way he will be blessed.

3) If one seeks revelation in prayer, one should seek urgently regardless of all the difficulties and blocks, and thus he will receive what he has asked.


Luke. 18:40 “So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him,

   YLT: “And Jesus having stood, commanded him to be brought unto him, and he having come nigh, he questioned him,”

   Literal Meaning: “Jesus stood still” Darby once commented on this sentence that, “Joshua once ordered the sun to stand still in the air. However, here the Lord of the sun, the moon and heavens stood still unexpectedly in order to answer the request of a blind beggar.


Luke. 18:41 “saying, What do you want Me to do for you? He said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.’”

   YLT: “saying, ‘What wilt thou I shall do to thee?’ and he said, `Sir, that I may receive sight.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “What do you want Me to do for you?” One should have a clear purpose in prayer.

2) We may pray generally, aimlessly or even ask amiss (James. 4:3) without knowing what we ask, and it is why our prayers have not been answered.

3) “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” We should dare to trust in the Lord concerning the things that seem to be impossible.

4) To ask for spiritual sight is the beginning of running the heavenly way (2Cor. 4:6, Eph. 1:18, Acts. 26:18).

5) Though the blind man had not seen the Lord, he had “heard” Him (See v.36) and immediately he cried out unto the Lord that “I may receive my sight”. When reading the Bible, we may not receive the revelation suddenly or understand the Lord’s words, but after we hear the words and cry out unto the Lord for enlightenment humbly we will receive the revelation.


Luke. 18:42 “Then Jesus said to him, Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.’”

   YLT: “And Jesus said to him, `Receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee;’”

   Literal Meaning: “your faith has made you well” He trusted that the Lord Jesus was able to heal him and therefore the faith is not self-confidence but faith in God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The blind man once “sat by the road” (See v.35), his eyes were opened now and then followed the Lord on the way. If a man wants to run the way, he has to receive sight first.

2) Men’s faith is the channel of the Lord’s power. The greater the pipe of faith is, the more power the Lord will import. If we have not experienced the great power of the Lord, the problem is the lack of our faith instead of the lack of the Lord’s power.


Luke. 18:43 “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

   YLT: “and presently he did receive sight, and was following him, glorifying God; and all the people, having seen, did give praise to God.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The true faith brings in the true “sight” (See v.42) and the true sight brings in the true following.

2) The blind ones do not know the preciousness of the Lord and therefore they are reluctant to sell all that they have and follow the Lord (See v.22-23). If one’s eyes of heart are opened, he will forsake all for the excellence of the Lord (Pill. 3:8) and follow the Lord to walk in the way of the cross willingly.

3) The young ruler wanted to “do something” and went away sorrowfully in the end (See v.18, 23). The blind man asked to “receive the sight” and he glorified God joyfully in the end.

4) Jesus Christ always did something for the purpose of glorifying God. Believers should walk to seek the glory of God instead of our own glory.

5) The grateful one bears witness to the Lord’s grace at any time and glories God so that men could see the works of God in us and then give praise to Him.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Teachings of Prayer from the Unrighteous judge

I. The unrighteous judge did not fear God nor regard man (v.2, 4)------however God is our Father and He only gives us blessings.

II. When the widow came to him, he profited nothing because the widow did not have money to give him (v.3)------however, we have been chosen by God and He cares about us.

III. Every time he sat on the seat of judge, she was there. In the end he could not bear it and answered her request (v.5)------God showed mercy to the church of all the past dynasties and the church has been ill-treated and persecuted as that widow.


The Wrongness of the Prayer of the Pharisee

I. He though that he was righteous------I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers (v.11a).

II. He condemned others------or even as that tax collector (v.11b).

III. He boasted himself before God------I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess (v.12).


The Example of the Prayer of the Tax Collector (v.13)

I. He admitted his corruption------standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven,

II. He was broken for sins------beat his breast.

III. He asked for God’s kindness and mercy------God, be merciful to me a sinner!


The Conditions to Enter the Kingdom of God

I. Humble oneself before God and know that he is a sinner and need God’s “remission” (v.9-14).

II. Be like infants and do not have the preconceived ideas (v.15-17).

III. Overcome treasure and the occupation of all material things and follow the Savior (v.18-30).


The Things Which Are Impossible with Men Are Possible with God

I. Men think that they could partake in the heavenly blessings by their own strength (adults) (v.15-17).

II. Men want to inherit eternal life by doing good (v.18).

III. Men think that they have met the requirements of God (v.19-21).

IV. All that men have contrarily become the block for them to receive the heavenly blessings (v.22-23).

V. Men have to stop all their struggle and effort and fully trust on God (v.24-27).

VI. Men should leave all and then they will receive all that are of God as the full reward (v.28-30).


The Wrongness of the Young Ruler and the Lord’s Correction to Him (v.18-23)

I. He misunderstood that the Lord was only a “good” master------the Lord lead him to see that no one is good but One, that is, God.

II. He misunderstood that he could inherit eternal life by “doing good”------the Lord pointed out the requirements of the Law to show him that it is impossible for men to do “good” completely.

III. He misunderstood that he had already kept the Law “completely”------the Lord pointed out the condition to be perfect to show him that he was not “perfect”. 


The Wonderful Foreknowledge and Prophecy of the Lord Jesus

I. We are going up to Jerusalem (v.31)------he went into Jerusalem (18:35-19:46).

II. The Son of Man will be delivered to the Gentiles (v.32a)------He was betrayed and delivered (19:47-23:1).

III. They will mock and insult Him (v.32b)------He was insulted (23:2-32).

IV. They will kill Him (v.33a)------He was crucified on the cross (23:33-56).

V. The third day He will rise again (v.33b)------He rose from the dead and appeared and was taken up into heaven (24:1-53).


The Blind Man in Jericho Received the Sight

I. The blind man’s poorness------he sat by the road begging (v.35).

II. The blind man’s gospel------he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by (v.36-37).

III. The blind man’s reaction------he cried out, saying “Jesus, Son of David” (v.38).

IV. The blind man’s persistence------but he cried out all the more (v.39).

V. The blind man’s being called------Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him (v.40).

VI. The blind man’s request------I may receive my sight (v.41).

VII. The blind man’s being saved------your faith has made you well (v.42).

VIII. The blind man’s change------immediately he received his sight (v.43a).

IX. The blind man’s way------he followed Him, glorifying God (v.43b).


The Reason Why the Blind Man Received Grace

I. He seized the chance------hearing the Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, he cried out (v.36-38).

II. He disregarded the blocks------many people warned him that he should be quiet, but he cried out all the more…(v.39).

III. He called upon Him bluntly------he said that, “Lord, that I may receive my sight” (v.41).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren