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Jesus Gives a Parable about Prayer

18 One day Jesus taught the apostles to keep praying and never stop or lose hope. He shared with them this illustration:

“In a certain town there was a judge, a thick-skinned and godless man who had no fear of others’ opinions. And in the same town there was a poor widow who kept pleading with the judge, ‘Grant me justice and protect me from my oppressor!’

4–5 “He ignored her pleas for quite some time, but she kept asking. Eventually he said to himself, ‘This widow keeps annoying me, demanding her rights, and I’m tired of listening to her. Even though I’m not a religious man, and I don’t care about the opinions of others, I’ll get her off my back by answering her claims for justice and I’ll rule in her favor. Then she’ll leave me alone.’ ”

Jesus continued, “Did you hear what the godless judge said—that he would answer her persistent request? Don’t you know that God, the true judge, will grant justice to all his chosen ones who cry out to him night and day? He will pour out his Spirit upon them.[a] He will not delay to answer you and give you what you ask for. God will give swift justice to those who don’t give up. So be ever praying, ever expecting, in the same way as the widow. Even so, when the Son of Man comes back, will he find this kind of undying faith on earth?”

Humility in Prayer

Jesus taught this parable to those who were convinced they were morally upright and to those who trusted in their own virtue yet looked down on others with disgust:

10 “Two men who went into the temple to pray. One was a proud religious leader, the other a despised tax collector. 11–12 The religious leader stood apart from the others and prayed, ‘How I thank you, O God, that I’m not wicked like everyone else. They’re cheaters, swindlers, and crooks—like that tax collector over there. God, you know that I never cheat or commit adultery; I fast from food twice a week and I give you a tenth of all I earn.’

13 “The tax collector stood alone in a corner, away from the Holy Place, and covered his face in his hands, feeling that he was unworthy even to look up to God. Beating his breast,[b] he sobbed with brokenness and tears saying, ‘God, please, in your mercy and because of the blood sacrifice, forgive me,[c] for I am nothing but the most miserable of all sinners!’

14 “Which one of them left for home that day reconciled to God? The humble tax collector, not the religious leader! For everyone who praises himself will one day be publicly humiliated, and everyone who humbles himself will one day be publicly honored and lifted up.”

Jesus Blesses Children

15 The people brought their babies and small children[d] to Jesus so that he might lay his hands on them to bless them. When the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents and told them to stop troubling the Master. 16 Seeing what was happening, Jesus called for the parents, the children, and his disciples to come and listen to him. Then he told them, “Never hinder a child from coming to me but let them all come, for God’s kingdom belongs to them as much as it does to anyone else. These children demonstrate to you what faith is all about. 17 Learn this well: unless you receive the revelation of the kingdom the same way a little child receives it, you will never be able to enter in.”

Jesus Speaks with a Young, Wealthy Official

18 One day a wealthy Jewish nobleman of high standing posed this question to Jesus: “Wonderful Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?”

19 Jesus answered, “Why would you call me wonderful when there is only one who is wonderful—and that is God alone?[e] 20 You already know what is right and what the commandments teach: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not lie, and honor your father and your mother.’ ”

21 The wealthy leader replied, “These are the very things I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember.”

22 “Ah,” Jesus said, “there’s still one thing you’re missing in your life.”

“What is that?” asked the man.

“You must go and sell everything you own and give all the proceeds to the poor so you will have eternal treasures. Then come and follow me.”[f]

23 These words devastated the rich leader, for he was extremely wealthy.

24 Jesus saw his disappointment, and looking right at him said, “It is next to impossible for those who have everything to enter into God’s kingdom. 25 Nothing could be harder! You could compare it to trying to stuff a rope through the eye of a needle.”[g]

26 Those who heard this said, “Then who can be saved?”

27 Jesus responded, “What appears humanly impossible is more than possible with God. For God can do what man cannot.”

28 Peter said, “Master, see how we’ve left all that we have, our houses and our careers, to follow you.”

29–30 Jesus replied, “Listen to my words: anyone who leaves his home behind and chooses God’s kingdom over wife, children, parents, and family, it will come back to him many more times in this lifetime.[h] And in the age to come, he will inherit even more than that—he will inherit eternal life!”

Jesus Prophesies His Death and Resurrection

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them in private, “We are going to Jerusalem so that everything prophesied about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 They will betray him and hand him over to the people, and they will mock him, insult him, and spit in his face. 33 And after they have abused[i] and flogged the Son of Man, they will kill him. But in three days he will rise again.”

34 The disciples had no clue what he was saying, for his words were a mystery that was hidden from them.

Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar

35 As Jesus and his followers arrived at Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting by the roadside. 36 When he heard the crowd approaching, he asked, “What’s all this commotion about?”

37 “It’s Jesus!” they said. “Jesus the Nazarene is passing by.”

38 The blind beggar shouted, “Jesus, Son of David,[j] have pity and show me mercy!”

39 Those in the front of the crowd scolded him and warned him to be quiet, but the blind beggar screamed out even louder, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!”

40 Suddenly Jesus stopped and directed those nearby, “Bring the man over to me.” When they brought him before Jesus, he asked the man, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Master,” he said, “please, I want to see.”

42 Jesus said, “Now you will see. Receive your sight this moment, for your faith in me has given you sight and new life.”[k]

43 Instantly he could see again. His eyes popped open, and he saw Jesus standing in front of him! He shouted loud praises to God and he followed Jesus. And when the crowd saw what happened, they too erupted with shouts of praise to God.

Footnotes

  1. 18:7 Translated from the Aramaic text. The Greek text has an unusual verb that means “ever tapping,” signifying one who keeps knocking on the door of heaven until he receives what he came for.
  2. 18:13 The Greek verb typto, means “to strike,” or “to strike dead.” It is a violent term also used of the scourging of Jesus.
  3. 18:13 The Greek text uses a word that implies he was saying to God, “Look at me as you look at the blood-sprinkled mercy seat.”
  4. 18:15 There is a hint in the Greek text that these children may have been sick. Jesus loves and heals children.
  5. 18:19 Jesus is implying that if we call him “wonderful,” we are calling him “God.”
  6. 18:22 Jesus was not teaching that salvation can be earned by giving away our possessions to the poor. Jesus was showing the young, wealthy man that he couldn’t truly be a disciple until there was no competition in his heart to following Jesus.
  7. 18:25 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “to stuff a camel through the eye of a needle.” The Aramaic word for “rope” and for “camel” is the homonym gamla. This could be an instance of the Aramaic text being misread by the Greek translators as “camel” instead of “rope.” Regardless, Jesus used a metaphor for something impossible. It would be like saying, “It’s as hard as making pigs fly!”
  8. 18:29–30 Mark’s Gospel adds, “and with persecutions.” See Mark 10:30.
  9. 18:33 The word translated “abused” is powerful. It occurs in the Greek text in v. 32 but in the Aramaic text in v. 33.
  10. 18:38 The term Son of David was used for the Messiah. The blind man believed Jesus was the Messiah.
  11. 18:42 Translated from the Aramaic. The Greek word signifies both healing and salvation.

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