The Parable of the Persistent Widow. 1* Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.a He said, 2“There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 3And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ 4For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 5* b because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” 6The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 7Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? 8I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. 9He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.c 10“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 11The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’d 13But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’e 14I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”f
Saying on Children and the Kingdom. 15* People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them,* and when the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.g 16Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”h
The Rich Official. 18i An official asked him this question, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”j 19Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20You know the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother.’”k 21And he replied, “All of these I have observed from my youth.” 22* l When Jesus heard this he said to him, “There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23But when he heard this he became quite sad, for he was very rich.
On Riches and Renunciation. 24Jesus looked at him [now sad] and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26Those who heard this said, “Then who can be saved?” 27And he said, “What is impossible for human beings is possible for God.”m 28Then Peter said, “We have given up our possessions and followed you.” 29n He said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30who will not receive [back] an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”
The Third Prediction of the Passion.o 31* Then he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem and everything written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.* 32p He will be handed over to the Gentiles and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon; 33and after they have scourged him they will kill him, but on the third day he will rise.” 34But they understood nothing of this; the word remained hidden from them and they failed to comprehend what he said.q
The Healing of the Blind Beggar.r 35Now as he approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, 36and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38s He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David,* have pity on me!” 39The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” 40Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”t 42Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”u 43He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.
* [18:1–14] The particularly Lucan material in the travel narrative concludes with two parables on prayer. The first (Lk 18:1–8) teaches the disciples the need of persistent prayer so that they not fall victims to apostasy (Lk 18:8). The second (Lk 18:9–14) condemns the self-righteous, critical attitude of the Pharisee and teaches that the fundamental attitude of the Christian disciple must be the recognition of sinfulness and complete dependence on God’s graciousness. The second parable recalls the story of the pardoning of the sinful woman (Lk 7:36–50) where a similar contrast is presented between the critical attitude of the Pharisee Simon and the love shown by the pardoned sinner.
* [18:5] Strike me: the Greek verb translated as strike means “to strike under the eye” and suggests the extreme situation to which the persistence of the widow might lead. It may, however, be used here in the much weaker sense of “to wear one out.”
* [18:15–19:27] Luke here includes much of the material about the journey to Jerusalem found in his Marcan source (Lk 10:1–52) and adds to it the story of Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1–10) from his own particular tradition and the parable of the gold coins (minas) (Lk 19:11–27) from Q, the source common to Luke and Matthew.
* [18:15–17] The sayings on children furnish a contrast to the attitude of the Pharisee in the preceding episode (Lk 18:9–14) and that of the wealthy official in the following one (Lk 18:18–23) who think that they can lay claim to God’s favor by their own merit. The attitude of the disciple should be marked by the receptivity and trustful dependence characteristic of the child.
* [18:22] Detachment from material possessions results in the total dependence on God demanded of one who would inherit eternal life. Sell all that you have: the original saying (cf. Mk 10:21) has characteristically been made more demanding by Luke’s addition of “all.”
* [18:31–33] The details included in this third announcement of Jesus’ suffering and death suggest that the literary formulation of the announcement has been directed by the knowledge of the historical passion and death of Jesus.
* [18:31] Everything written by the prophets…will be fulfilled: this is a Lucan addition to the words of Jesus found in the Marcan source (Mk 10:32–34). Luke understands the events of Jesus’ last days in Jerusalem to be the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, but, as is usually the case in Luke-Acts, the author does not specify which Old Testament prophets he has in mind; cf. Lk 24:25, 27, 44; Acts 3:8; 13:27; 26:22–23.
* [18:38] Son of David: the blind beggar identifies Jesus with a title that is related to Jesus’ role as Messiah (see note on Lk 2:11). Through this Son of David, salvation comes to the blind man. Note the connection between salvation and house of David mentioned earlier in Zechariah’s canticle (Lk 1:69). See also note on Mt 9:27.