18 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people.3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people,5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge.7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man[a] returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else:10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[b]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus Blesses the Children
15 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.
16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
18:8“Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
18:11Some manuscripts read stood and prayed this prayer to himself.
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 Lord, you poured out blessings on your land! You restored the fortunes of Israel.[a] 2 You forgave the guilt of your people— yes, you covered all their sins. Interlude 3 You held back your fury. You kept back your blazing anger.
4 Now restore us again, O God of our salvation. Put aside your anger against us once more. 5 Will you be angry with us always? Will you prolong your wrath to all generations? 6 Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you? 7 Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. 9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.
10 Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! 11 Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. 12 Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. 13 Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.
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