Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;3. The Judge and the Widow (LUKE 18:1–8)
1And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men [they1] ought always topray, and not to faint [become discouraged]; 2Saying, There was in a [certain] city a3[certain] judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widowin that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God,nor regard man; 5Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her6continual coming [coming forever, εἰς τέλος] she weary [stun, or, distract] me. Andthe Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7And shall not God avenge his ownelect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he [indeed, ἆρα] find faith on the earth?
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 18:1. And He spake.—Although it is possible that between this and the immediately preceding discourse of the Saviour some intervening discourses were delivered (Olshausen, Schleiermacher), yet this hypothesis is not indispensably necessary, as the connection of the parable of the Unjust Judge with the foregoing discourse about the Parusia, strikes the eye at once. The Saviour had already long before announced that heavy times were coming, in which conflicts and oppression would by no means be wanting to His people; what could He now do better than to admonish them to persevering prayer, that, at last, the long-sighed-for ἐκδίκησις, Luke 18:7, might become their happy lot? The parable, according to this, is principally addressed to His disciples (αὐτούς, comp. Luke 17:22), and the not becoming discouraged against which a warning is here given with so much earnestness, is not the neglect of the Christian vocation generally, but especially of prayer, as sufficiently appears from the example of the Widow.
Luke 18:2. A certain judge.—According to Deut. 16:18, Israel must have in all the gates of the city judges, who in cases that occurred had to deliver sentence, and were under obligation to administer justice, without respect of persons. See Exodus 23:6–9; Lev. 19:15. In the days of our Lord, also, such municipal tribunals existed, Matt 5:21–22; and it is not impossible that the narrative before us was taken from life. The character of the judge here delineated is of such a kind that he allows himself, with perfect recklessness, to be controlled by the most shameless selfishness. Of the two impulses which often restrain men from evil—the fear of God and respect to men—neither one is able to move him to strict righteousness. He is destitute of the character of genuine Old Testament piety, φόβοςτ. Θεοῦ, as well as of respect for the judgment of others. Thus does he stand even below the ungodly, who, at least, still have the latter, and what is the worst, he is not even ashamed of this his reckless temper in his soliloquizing.
Luke 18:3. Avenge me.—The widow desires not only that he will at last make an end of her tedious suit (Schleiermacher), but that he will deliver her forever from the hand of a mighty adversary, who is obstinately persecuting the helpless woman. Although now every soul that finds itself in similar distress may, in a certain sense, be compared to such a woman, yet the connection of the discourse gives us occasion to find here in particular an intimation of the Church of the Lord, which before His παρουσία is in apparent defencelessness exposed to the obstinately assailing might of the world and sin, while it a thousand times appears as if she called on God entirely in vain for deliverance and victory.
Luke 18:4. A while, ἐπὶ χρόνον, aliquamdiu, Erasmus. Indefinite indication of the comparatively long time during which all entreaty might appear in vain.—In the days of the great tribulations, Matt. 24:21, 22. They must be spent in prayer, these days, but reach an end as surely as the widow’s time of trial The justice which the Unjust Judge executes by constraint, the Righteous One bestows at its due time willingly.
Luke 18:5. Yet because.—Comp. Luke 11:8. The judge gives ear to the widow, because her endless complaining becomes unendurable to him. How greatly the beauty of the parable is heightened by the fact that he communicates his resolution in the form of a soliloquy, strikes the eye at once. The tragical fortune of the widow is related in dramatic form.—Εἰς τέλος, not tandem but incessantly, LXX = לָנֵצִה,—ὑπωπιάζειν, properly to beat one black and blue under the eyes, but then also proverbial for the designation of any possible torment, comp. 1 Cor. 9:27. According to Meyer, the judge is to be understood as having really become afraid, or at least having scoffingly presented the case to himself that the woman might become desperate, and undertake to make an attack upon him and strike him in the face. Possible, undoubtedly; but surely this was no feature that would have suited well to the image of a defenceless and supplicating widow, since she in this way would have been transformed into a fury. As to the rest, it appears from the whole monologue that it is only selfishness that determines the judge now to yield, as it had before impelled him to unrighteousness. The Vulgate, Ne sugillet me. Luther’s marginal gloss: “That she may not plague and torture me, as they say of impetuous and wanton people: How much the man plagues me.” Well expressed is the proverbial character of the style of speaking in the Dutch translation: Opdat zy niet kome en my het hoofd breke. [That she may not come and break my head for me.]
Luke 18:6. Hear what.—In surprising wise the Saviour holds the man of power to the word which He has Himself put in his mouth. Here, also, rising from the humanly imperfect to the Divinely perfect as before, Luke 11:5; 16:8: in which, of course, we have to take careful note of the tertium comparationis. The force of the antithesis in the question: and shall not God, &c, may be better felt than rendered in a paraphrase. As to the rest, here also the Elect are not conceived so much as individuals, but rather as a collective body, although, of course, what is here said is applicable also to every individual in his measure.
Luke 18:7. Though He bear long with them, καὶ μακροθυμεῖ ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς.—In the reading preferred by us it is not necessary to take καί in the sense of καίπερ, quamvis, comp. Acts 7:5; Heb. 3:9, and elsewhere. With μακροθυμεῖ it is not the idea of forbearance in general, but delaying of help that is to be adhered to, and the second half of the question, Luke 18:7, is, with Meyer, therefore, to be paraphrased: “and is it His way in reference to them to delay His help?” It appears from this that the first member of the question requires an affirmative, the second, on the other hand, a negative, answer; and that the here-designated μακροθυμία stands directly in contrast with the ἑκδίκ. ποιεῖν ἐν τάχει which, Luke 18:8, is promised in the most certain manner. ’Επί designates the ἐκλεκτοί as objects of a delay, in respect to which, according to the Saviour’s word, it cannot be thought that it should endure endlessly. He gives here, therefore, not the assurance that God is forbearing towards His own, which here would not be at all in place, nor yet that He for their sake postpones the punishment of His enemies, which is Indeed taught in other places, but not here; but He denies that God can to the last withhold a help which His elect so ardently entreat from Him.
Luke 18:8. I tell you.—The fixed assurance of the opposite of the negative μακροθ. ἐπ̓ αὐτοῖς. God is so far from being more inexorable than the Unjust Judge, that, on the contrary, He will hasten, after shorter or longer delay, to assure the victory to the cause of right. The ἐκδίκησις runs here parallel with the Parusia of our Lord, at which His enemies are most deeply humbled. While this παρουσία was in the last chapter represented as the terror of the careless, it is here described as the deliverance of the oppressed, and as the hearing of the prayers which have day and night ascended from the hearts of the elect towards heaven.
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh.—After the Saviour has assured His own that God will in no case leave their complaints unheard, He emphatically proposes to them the question, whether they would indeed exhibit so much patience and perseverance in prayer as the Widow had displayed, and shows thereby that He, at least in relation to some of them, doubts thereof. There is not the least ground to understand here any other than the last coming of the Son of Man, which, it is true, presupposes an uninterrupted, continually ascending climax of revelations of His glory. The Saviour transports Himself in spirit to the time of the συντέλεια τοῦ αὶῶνος, which shall be preceded by the last conflict and the deepest tribulation of His church, and which His disciples on earth are to endure in faith, prayer, patient waiting. Will their faith, even after the long time of trial, be yet great and persevering enough to be able to reckon on such a deliverance as this widow obtained? Ἆρα contains a certain intimation of doubt, which must stimulate His own so much the more strongly to remain, along with their praying, watchful also.—τὴν πίστιν designates, not saving faith in general, which recognizes Jesus as the Messiah (Meyer), nor yet the faithfulness of the disciples, which elsewhere, Luke 12:35–48, is demanded of them (De Wette); but faith in God as a Righteous Judge, which alone enables to so persevering prayer, and which in His disciples is most intimately connected with personal faith on the Saviour, comp. John 14:1. Plainly our Lord presupposes that this faith will have to sustain a severe conflict, on account of the delay of the hearing of prayer and the delay of the Parusia. There is, however, no need whatever on this account to assume (De Wette), that the present redaction of this parable belongs to a later period, comp. 2 Peter 3:3. In other places also it gleams, not obscurely, through the words of the Saviour, that the παρουσία will not come so quickly as some suppose, comp. Matt. 25:5, 19.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. In the doctrine of Christian prayer, the parable of the Unjust Judge, preserved to us by Luke alone, may with right be named a locus classicus. In parabolic form the promise is here repeated which in John, Luke 14–16, is given without a parable. It is, however, to be observed, in addition, that “to pray ever” is not exactly “to pray without ceasing,” of which there is mention, 1 Thess. 5:17. By the latter, the uninterrupted living and breathing of the soul in communion with God is designated; here, on the other hand, the unwearied praying and calling for the same thing is meant, as to which one has attained the persuasion that it coincides with God’s will. Paul speaks of the prevailing frame of mind of the believer; the Saviour, on the other hand, of the conflict of prayer of the distressed and suffering disciple.
2. In a striking way is the relation of the Church militant to the hostile world placed before our eyes in the image of the Widow.—“Here we see the Church, which in her nature and her destiny is the bride of Christ, and waits for His festal appearance, in the form of a widow. Matters have the look as if her betrothed Spouse were dead at a distance. Meanwhile, she lives in a city, where she is continually oppressed by a grievous adversary, the Prince of this world. But since she continually calls on God for help, it may, in a weak hour, appear to her as if He had become the Unjust Judge over her—as if He were dealing entirely without Divine righteousness, and without love to man. But she perseveres in prayer for His redeeming coming. And although this is long delayed, because God has a celestially broad mind and view, and accordingly trains His children for Himself to the great spiritual life of eternity, yet it comes at last with surprising quickness.” Lange. Only we must guard ourselves against the inclination to find here a definite period in the history of the church militant, as, for instance, Vitringa does, who interpreted this parable of the relation of the Roman Emperors to the Christian church, through whom the church was first oppressed, but afterwards protected. The image has, in a greater or less measure, found its fulfilment in all ages, and will in particular be realized in the yet impending grievous times of which Paul speaks, 2 Tim. 3:1, and elsewhere.
3. This parable deserves so well its place in the Pauline Gospel of Luke for the reason also that the disciples of the Saviour are here very especially represented as ἐκλεκτοί. As such they are, entirely without their own merits, the objects of the gracious complacency of God, and may even regard their cause as His. Persevering prayer is at once the sign and the pulse of their spiritual life, and all their prayers meet in the ἔρχου, which the Spirit and the Bride unceasingly repeat, locking towards the heavenly Bride-groom. Rev. 22:17.
4. Before one extols excessively the righteousness and the love of the natural man, it is well worth the, trouble for once carefully to distinguish how much of it, as with the Unjust Judge, is begotten of necessity arid selfishness. This is precisely the character of that external good which man accomplishes outside of union with God; namely, that it is entirely accidental, springs from caprice—not from a fixed principle—and remains a fruit of carnal calculation, but not of spontaneous obedience.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The coming of the Saviour must not only be awaited with watching, but also with praying.—Christian perseverance in prayer: 1. A holy; 2. a difficult; 3. a blessed duty.—Injustice here below is not seldom practised under the form of law, and by those who should administer justice.—The image of the church militant: 1. The Widow, Isaiah 54:1, 2; 2. the Adversary, 1 Peter 5:8; 3. the Judge, Ps. 43:1.—God, a Husband of widows and a Judge of orphans.—From His elect God cannot possibly withhold what an unjust judge grants a complaining widow.—God delays long, but only to make haste at last.—All the prayers of the church militant converge at last in longing for the coming of the Lord.—The Lord comes: 1. In order to humble His enemies; 2. in order to redeem His friends; 3. in order on both to reveal His glory.—How small comparatively will the number of those be whose faith and prayer endures to the end.—The Son of Man will, at His coming, find not only careless enemies, but also faint-hearted disciples.—The long postponed deliverance comes certainly, and at last often unexpectedly besides.—The persevering prayer of faith: 1. A widely comprehensive duty of faith; 2. an indispensable support of faith, Luke 18:2; 3. a painful conflict of faith, Luke 18:4 a.; 4 a triumphant might of faith, Luke 18:4 b.; 5 a rare fruit of faith, Luke 18:8.
STARKE: QUESNEL:—Prayer is a property of the poor, and sighing the salvation of the wretched.—CANSTEIN:—Power in the world often misleads men, so that they concern themselves neither about God nor man.—Where there is no fear of God, there is also no true respect nor regard for man.—Rulers should, according to God’s commandment, take especial care of widows and orphans, Isaiah 1:17; Jer. 7:6.—Complaints are torments, even in the most righteous cause.—God brings to pass justice and righteousness when it pleases Him, even through an unrighteous judge.—CANSTEIN:—One can draw profit even from the worst examples.—HEDINGER:—Beware of impatience: God does not what we prescribe to Him, but what He finds good for us, 1 John 5:14.—ZEISIUS:—When often before believers’ eyes all appears to be lost, help is often nearest at hand, Ps. 12:6.—HEUBNER:—The question whether prayer is a duty, is as sensible as that whether it is a duty to breathe.—Continuous prayer to God the best help of widows.—The prayer of the elect must at last be heard, for the redemption of the saints is God’s eternal will.—Without faith in God’s father’s heart, prayer is grimace.—Faith is the main thing on which all depends.—LISCO:—Motives for the citizens of the kingdom to persevering in prayer.—ZIMMERMANN:—Persevere in prayer; to that should impel us: 1. The consciousness of our dependence on God; 2. the greatness of our need; 3. the so oft delaying help; 4. the certainty of a final answer.—GEROK:—The course of Christians through the school of prayer: 1. The need which brings before God’s door; 2. the faith that knocks at God’s door; 3. the patience that waits before God’s door; 4. the experience that goes in at God’s door.—F. ARNDT:—Why should we persevere in prayer? 1. Grounds in us; 2. grounds in God.
Luke 18:1.—Αὐτούς. See LACHMANN and TISCHENDORF, ad locum.
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:4. The Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9–14)
9And he spake this parable unto certain [men] which trusted in themselves that theywere righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; theone a Pharisee, and the other a publican [taxgatherer]. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [the rest of12men] are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican [taxgatherer]. Ifast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess [acquire]. 13And the publican [taxgatherer], standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, butsmote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a [the] sinner. 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:2 for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 18:9. And He spake this parable.—That the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican was delivered on the same occasion as the previous one (Meyer), we do not believe. In this case we should have to conceive the Pharisees, Luke 17:20, as yet present; and, moreover, it can scarcely be assumed that our Lord in their presence would have chosen the Pharisee as the chief personage of His parable. It appears, therefore, that some time afterwards, among the wider circle of the auditors of Jesus, an occasion offered itself for contrasting with one another these portraits of haughtiness and humility. Perhaps Luke gives the parable in this connection because it also stands in relation to prayer, while its conclusion constitutes a very proper transition to the immediately following narrative, Luke 18:15–17. That it, however, was actually uttered during this period in the public life of Jesus, appears to be deducible from the fact that both men are described to us as going-up to the temple in order to pray there, which certainly is doubly congruous when we consider that just during this time many caravans of pilgrims to the feast were travelling up towards the temple, and that Jesus Himself was making His last journey to the feast.
To certain men.—Πρός is here not, as in Luke 18:1, to be understood of the bare intention of the parable (De Wette, Stier, Arndt), but as a designation of the persons who were addressed. Among whom we have to seek these τινές is not stated particularly, any more than in what way they had made their self-righteous temper manifest. Pharisees proper they certainly were not, but we know how much our Saviour had to warn even His disciples against the Pharisaic leaven, and how self-righteousness was not only the ruling evil of the Jews of His time, but is also even yet the common evil of every natural man. We need not even assume (Stier) that these proud μαθηταί expressed themselves in some such way as this before the previous parable: “Pray? Oh, that we can do already better than others; nor are we lacking in faith,” and the like. We may, however, reasonably conceive that the Saviour read this proud imagination in their hearts, or that He had already remarked in actual life a similar contrast to that which He nere places before their eyes. As to the rest, Luke describes the disposition which the Saviour here attacks more precisely than the here-named persons.—In themselves, ἐφ̓ ἑαυτοῖς, they believed that they had the righteousness required by the law, comp. Phil. 3:4; 2 Cor. 1:9. Of others they believed exactly the opposite.
Luke 18:10. Two men.—Here also two persons are types of two different essential tendencies. Never does our Lord represent any virtue or vice in the abstract, but always in the concrete, as it shows itself in reality. Ἀναβαίνειν, a literally exact expression for the visiting of the more elevated temple-mountain.—To pray.—The main element and compendium of the whole public worship of God. Comp. Isaiah 56:7.
Luke 18:11. Stood.—Σταθείς can either be taken by itself or be connected with the remark following, πρὸς ἑαυτόν in the sense of stabat seorsim (Grotius, Paulus). It would then indicate that he chose a position entirely apart, in order not to be Levitically defiled by the too great nearness of men whom he regarded as unclean. It is, however, more simple to connect the words πρὸς ἑαυτ. with the immediately following ταῦτα προσηύχετο (Lisco, Meyer). The expression εἰπεῖν πρὸς ἑαυτ. is usual. See Luke 20:5, 14. Comp. Luke 12:17; Luke 3:15; Mark 11:31; 12:7, &c. The simple σταθείς already contains a genuinely graphic touch, which vividly brings out the confident feeling of the Pharisee, and especially by the contrast with the μακρόθεν ἐστώς, Luke 18:13.
Prayed thus with himself.—Yet so loud that others also hear him. His praying is a thanking, his thanking a boasting, not of God but alone of himself. In unbounded presumption he contrasts himself not only with many or with the most, but with the whole body of other men, οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. “Duas classes Pharisœus facit, in alteram conjicit totum genus humanum, altera, melior, ipse sibi solus esse videtur.” Bengel. Yet soon he begins to distinguish the great mass of sinners into particular groups. There are the ἄδικοι in the more restricted sense, the ἅρπαγες, like a Zacchæus, for instance, the μοιχοί, not in the Old Testament scriptural sense, but in the literal sense of the word, and finally the man who stands behind him as the incarnation of all possible moral faults, οὗτος ὁ τελώνης, whom he had probably seen entering also into the temple, but of whom he knows beforehand that his prayer cannot possibly be acceptable to God. Thus does he vaunt his own person in order now in one breath to pass over to the heralding of his good works.
Luke 18:12. I fast twice in the week.—The law (Lev. 16:29–31; Num. 29:7) had only prescribed an annual fast-day; but he in addition keeps twice a week a private fast day, according to the custom of that time, Monday and Thursday. Here also, as in Mark 16:9, τοῦ σαββ. is the designation of the week, which was concluded with the Sabbath.—I give tithes of all.—Therefore much more even than was demanded in the law, according to which only the fruits of the field and of the cattle were tithed (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21; Deut. 14:22). Ὅσα κτῶμαι, not “what I possess,” which would have to be κέκτημαι, but “what I take in,” “what comes in to me.” He is not speaking of fixed property in itself, but of the natural profits of that for which he has to thank his own insight and keenness, as to which he therefore from his point of view might easily believe that he could properly keep it for himself. Thus do his thanks in a certain manner become an intimation that God really has to thank him for all which he has the goodness to give up of his legitimate property, and as his soliloquy ends with this enumeration, we may conceive the Pharisee as now continuing in silence to please himself with the thought of the great and good things which he has done or is still doing and will do in the future.
Luke 18:13. The tax-gatherer.—In everything the direct opposite of the proud fool, whose image has inspired almost even more compassion than disgust. The unfeigned humility of the tax-gatherer reveals itself first in the standing-place which he chooses.—Standing afar off, μακρόθεν, not in the court of the Gentiles, 1 Kings 8:41, 42 (Starke), for he is a Jew; not at a distance from the Pharisee (Meyer), for we do not read that he had observed the latter, as on the other hand the latter had noticed him, but far from the sanctuary, which the Pharisee, σταθείς, has without doubt approached as nearly as possible, while on the other hand the publican’s courage to do this vanished even as he first ascended towards the temple-mountain. In the second place, his demeanor indicates his humility. It was usually the custom to pray with uplifted hands, 1 Tim. 2:8, and with look turned towards heaven, Ps. 123:1, 2; but he is as far from venturing on the one as on the other, comp. Ezra 9:6, because he in the temple actually thinks of God and His spiritual holiness. Finally, his humility expresses itself in his words, ὁ Θεός, κ.τ.λ. Certainly he is far from comparing himself with the Pharisee or with other men; he sees only himself in the clear mirror of the law, and feels that he has the worst to fear if God will enter with him into judgment. It is possible, undoubtedly (Stier), that we have here to understand an impulse of first repentance, if we only, above all, do not forget that the publican’s prayer continually repeats itself out of the depth of the continually renewed contrition of the publican’s heart. It is right to lay emphasis on the τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ. He accounts himself a sinner, κατ’ ἐξοχήν, as Paul names himself, 1 Tim. 1:15, the chief of sinners, and all for which he prays is comprehended in the single word “Grace.” It is entirely unnecessary to press the word ἱλάσκεσθαι in such a way as to see intimated in it the dogmatic conception of atonement. See STIER, ad loc.
Luke 18:14. I tell you.—In view of the high importance of the contrast, the Saviour does not once leave His hearers to judge respecting the two suppliants, but Himself passes the irrevocable judgment, in which it is silently presupposed that no suppliant can become participant of a higher prerogative than to go down again from the temple δεδικαιωμένος. Therefore, in the eyes of our Lord also, δικαίωσις is the summary of all good which the praying sinner can entreat of the holy God. The question only is, Who has good ground to hope for this privilege, he who prays like the Pharisee or he who prays like the publican? The Saviour expresses Himself, as is often the case, more mildly than abstract logical necessity requires. Although He could, considering the case in itself, have well said that the Pharisee did not go down justified at all, He, however, contents Himself with placing the benefit of the publican far above that of the Pharisee. Παρ’ ἐκεῖνον, see notes on the text; comp. Luke 15:7; Matt. 21:31. The translation of the reading ἢ ἐκεῖνος in the sense of a question, “Or did he perchance, the Pharisee, go home justified?” appears to us even of itself hard, and, besides that, by no means to be recommended by the immediately following ὅτι. It is, however, at all events, arbitrary from the forbearing judgment which here the Saviour passes upon the Pharisee, to draw the conclusion (Stier) that the consciousness of the possession of justification may gradually begin to give way again, if a δεδικαιωμένος begins again secretly to trust in his righteousness.
For every one that exalteth himself.—See Luke 14:11. The repetition of such a maxim will cause us the less surprise if we consider that it expresses the unalterable fundamental law of the kingdom of heaven, according to which all men are judged, and at the same time gives the deepest ground why the justification of the Pharisee and the rejection of the publican were each entirely impossible.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The two parables of the Judge and the Widow, and the Pharisee and the Publican, although they perhaps were not delivered immediately after one another, constitute, however, together a complete whole. Both have reference to prayer, yet so that in the first, believing perseverance before, in the second, humble approach to, the throne of grace, is commended. In order to end like the Widow, one must have begun like the Publican, and in order to act as recklessly of conscience as the Judge, one must have the heart of a Pharisee in his bosom. Comp. Luke 20:47.
2. The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican shows a remarkable coincidence with that of the Prodigal Son and his brother—the same contrast of unrighteousness and self-righteousness, of humility and pride, in the one as in the other. As there the two sons represent not only the Pharisees and the publicans, but essentially all mankind, so here the two suppliants give us to recognize the fundamental and chief distinction in the relation of man to God. Every natural man is more or less like the Pharisee; whoever learns to know himself as a sinner is, on the other hand, like the Publican. Here, however, it is by no means denied that in the microcosm of a human heart often something of the Pharisee may be found along with the character of the Publican, even though we ourselves do not take note of it. The question, however, remains simply this, Which disposition in our hearts is the ruling one? According to this God will judge us.
3. As in the previous parable the Pauline idea of ἐκλογή, so in this that of δικαίωσις, comes distinctly into the foreground. “Hic locus perspicue docet, quid proprie sit justificari, nempe stare coram Deo, ac si justi essemus; neque enim publicanus ideo Justus dicitur, quod novam qualitatem sibi repente adquisierit, sed quia inducto reatu et abolitis peccatis gratiam adeptus est, unde sequitur, justificationem in peccatorum remissione esse positam.” Calvin. It is, however, of course, understood that in this definition the idea of the forgiveness of sins must be interpreted not only negatively, as acquittal from the deserved punishment, but also positively, as reinstatement in the forfeited favor of God, including all the blessed consequences connected therewith.
4. The Epistle to the Romans is the consistent development of the cardinal evangelical idea which is laid down in this parable, and the Reformation is the triumph of the publican’s humility over the Pharisaic self-righteousness, which in the Pelagianism of the Roman Catholic Church had acquired the character of a formal system.
5. This parable is important also as a new proof how strongly and continually the Saviour, in all manner of forms, continued that conflict with the Pharisaical principle which He had already begun in the Sermon on the Mount, and which He was about to crown with an eightfold Woe, Matt. 23. Pharisaism and Christianity stand not only relatively but diametrically opposed. It is worthy of remark, however, that the Saviour views this instruction as necessary, not only for Pharisees but also for His disciples.
6. The prayer of the Publican is a short compendium of Theology, Hamartology, Soteriology, and a striking proof that true repentance and living faith are absolutely inseparable from one another. In another form we find here the same temper of mind as in the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:18. It cannot surprise us that this utterance has become for so many a motto in life and death. It was (to pass over other instances) the answer Of the famous Hugo Grotius, when he lay dying at Rostock, and an unknown minister of the gospel referred him to this parable: This publican am I!
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The continual danger of the disciples of the Saviour, of being defiled by the Pharisaical leaven.—Pride and contempt of others are commonly most intimately united with one another.—Duo, cum faciunt idem, non est idem.—A man sees what is before his eyes, but the Lord looks on the heart, 1 Sam. 16:7.—Pride and humility before God: 1. The diversity of their nature, Luke 18:10–13; 2. the diversity of their destinies, Luke 18:14.—How one may sin even with his praying.—Many a virtue which is great in men’s eyes is damnable before God.—The Pharisee and the Publican: 1. The one so gives thanks that he forgets prayer; the other so prays that he can afterwards give thanks.; 2. the one compares himself with other men; the other considers himself in the mirror of the law; 3. the one recounts his virtues; the other cannot reckon up his sins; 4. the one keeps with all his virtues his evil conscience at the bottom; the other receives with all his sins the full assurance of justification.—The fasting which God chooses, and the fasting of the holiness of works.—The Miserere of the soul which precedes the Hallelujah of redemption.—The publican’s heart, the publican’s prayer, the publican’s lot.—One may give the tenth, yea, all his goods, to God, and yet withhold from Him his heart, that is, all.—The publican’s prayer: 1. A prayer as comprehensive as rare; 2. a prayer as fitting as indispensable; 3. a prayer as rich in sorrow as in blessing.—Happy he whose transgressions are forgiven, &c., Ps. 32:1.—The way of justification under the Old Covenant.—The true penance.—The whole parable admirably adapted to fast-day and communion sermons.
STARKE:—A. teacher of the right kind seeks thoroughly to uncover even to the concealed hypocrites among his hearers their evil heart.—QUESNEL:—If wretched men knew themselves aright, they would not thus so easily despise others, Rev. 3:17.—CRAMER:—The whole world is full of those that pray, and yet not all by far are pleasing to God; therefore must we not only pray, but see to it how we pray.—When man deals with God, he must never remember what he is before others.—QUESNEL:—Let not one compare himself with infamous evil-doers, but with perfect saints.—A self-elected worship of God, without the foundation of the Holy Scripture, avails nothing, Matt. 15:9.—OSIANDER:—O man, hast thou sinned? deny it not, &c. How many have the “God be merciful to me a sinner” in their mouths but not in their hearts!—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Penitent and believing humility brings light and salvation; humility belongs in heaven, high-mindedness belongs in hell, Isaiah 57:15.—Bibl. Wirt.:—Man cannot by his own works or piety stand or become righteous before God.
LISCO:—Religiosity and religion in their most striking contrasts.—ARNDT:—How humility expresses itself in reference to the evil we have done: 1. It acknowledges its sin; 2. and that in all its magnitude; 3. and as its own guilt; 4. and prays for grace to God.—H. MÜLLER:—The Graves of the Saints, Frankfort, 1700: Whoever will die happy must die as a sinner and yet without sin.—SCHMID:—The gospel way of salvation, how it leads, a. down into the depths; b. up to the heights.—HEUBNER:—Prayer a touchstone of the heart.—Tremble to have only the guise of virtue and yet to be proud.—A strict, continent way of living is often joined with inflexible selfishness.—Let us prove ourselves as we go from the church home, whether we go as new men or not.—A. MONOD, Sermons, 1er Recueil, p. 201, La peccadille d’Adam et les vertus des Pharisiens.
On the Pericope.—HEUBNER:—False and true devotion: 1. Nature; 2. appearance.—Justification before God: 1. How it comes not to pass; 2. how it always comes to pass.—COUARD:—The true churchgoer.—JASPIS:—Your prayers your judges.—ULBER:—The confession of man that he is a sinner: 1. It is hard even for the mouth to utter it; 2. still harder if it is to come from the heart; 3. and yet easy if one knows himself aright.—RAUTENBERG:—A look into the heart of the justified sinner.—That we ought to come to God not on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of God’s compassion.—AHLFELD:—Of grace is man justified before God; this is: 1. A true saying; 2. a worthy saying.—STEINMEYER:—As the devotion, so the reward.—POPP:—There is a division and decision.
Luke 18:14.—The reading of Elzevir, ἢ ἐκεῖνος, has here no adequate critical authority. That of Tischendorf, ἢ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος, is strongly supported, but gives a scarcely intelligible sense. That of Lachmann, παρ’ ἐκεῖνον, which Grotius already defended, and which is favored by B., [Cod. Sin.,] L., Cursives, deserves on internal grounds the preference, at the same time that it must be supposed that by an ancient and quite generally diffused error in copying (γάρ instead of παρ’), the true reading was very soon lost.
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.K. Towards Jericho, at Jericho, out of Jericho towards Jerusalem. LUKE 18:15–19:27
1. Jesus and the Children (LUKE 18:15–17)
15And they brought unto him also infants [their babes, τὰ βρέφη], that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called them [i. e., the children, αὐτά] unto him, and said, Suffer [the] little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is [to such belongs3] the kingdom of God. 17Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 18:15. And they brought.—From here on the narrative of Luke proceeds parallel with that of Matthew and Mark; he leaves the source from which he had drawn his narratives of journeying, Luke 9:51—ch. 18:4, in order thenceforth to take his material again from the common evangelical tradition. There is, therefore, not the least ground for extending, with Schleiermacher, the special narrative of journeying of which Luke before availed himself, as far as Luke 19:48. The ground why he precisely at this point coincides again with the other Synoptics, especially with Mark, can hardly be given otherwise than conjecturally. The conversation of our Saviour with the apostles about divorce, Mark 10:2–12; Matt. 19:1–12, he passes over in silence, perhaps because he has already on another occasion noted down an important utterance on this subject, Luke 16:18. Neither does he define particularly the locality in which the Saviour met with the children, while however it is plainly to be seen, from Matt. 19:1, that we have here to understand it as taking place on our Lord’s last journey to Jerusalem, and at His definite departure from Galilee.
Luke 18:15. Their babes, τὰ βρέφη, little children, therefore sucklings, Luke 2:16; while Matthew and Mark only speak in general of παιδία. They are in any case children of the Saviour’s auditors, who, not content with having received a blessing for themselves, entreat this now for their little ones also. This scene is the more touching, since it was at the same time a scene of farewell, and this act of the parents appears to have had its ground in the obscure presentiment that they should not again see the Saviour in Galilee. The mothers desire that He might leave for these young souls a parting blessing behind. It was, it is true, quite customary in Israel to entreat Rabbins and rulers of synagogues for such a benefit; but that this was desired from Jesus even yet in the last period of His public life, in spite of the continually increasing opposition to Him, is an unequivocal evidence of the deep and favorable impression which His activity had left behind in these regions.
Luke 18:16. Called them.—Αὐτά, the children themselves. Comi voce et nutu, Bengel. The opposition between the friendly countenance of the Master, and the contracted brow of the disciples, is indescribably beautiful. The disciples rebuked the mothers, in the serious belief that it was incongruous to molest the Great Prophet with such trifling affairs, while they now especially desire that He may continue the interesting elucidation respecting marriage and divorce. But scarcely has Jesus learned who it is that wished to approach Him, and who it is that wished to keep these back, than He takes it very ill, and rebukes His disciples therefor; while they had thought that children belonged less than any one in His vicinity, He gives them on the contrary to know that He wishes to have, more than many others, precisely these around Him. If the Twelve thought that these children must first become like them, in order to attract the interest of the Saviour to them, our Lord, on the other hand, gives them the assurance that they must first become like children, if they would become the participants of His complacent regard.
Luke 18:17. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child.—Comp. Matt. 18:3, and LANGE, ad loc. Mark also speaks, Luke 10:15, of this utterance of the Saviour on this occasion; while Luke, Luke 9:47, 48, had passed it over, and therefore brings it in afterwards here. With the requirement to receive the kingdom of God as a little child (δέχεσθαι), the Saviour directs attention to the receptivity for the Gospel which is found in the child’s disposition. This temper of mind the disciples would soon lose, if they gave ear to the voice of pride and self-seeking, by which they had just before allowed themselves to be influenced to repel these little ones. In this way they might even incur the danger of forfeiting the blessing of the kingdom of heaven, whose subjects they had already begun to be. As to the rest, we are not to overlook the fact that, at least according to Luke, the warning οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ, κ.τ.λ., can be interpreted as addressed to the wider circle of the auditors, parents, &c., who with the disciples at this moment surrounded the Saviour.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The desire of the mothers to see their children blessed by Jesus, sprang from a similar feeling of need from which afterwards the baptism of children proceeded. The Saviour, who approved the firstnamed wish, would, if asked about it, undoubtedly not stand in the way of the latter. [The connection between the two is admirably expressed in the exhortation contained in the office of the Episcopal Church for the Public Baptism of Infants.—C. C. S.]
2. Precisely when Christ appears surrounded by the little ones, and moves in the world of children, is He the image of the invisible God, whose majesty never shines more gloriously than when He condescends to that which is least and last, Ps. 113:5, 6. Such a High-priest we needed, who bears a whole world on His loving heart, and yet also presses children to His heart and blesses them. In the Prosopography of the Redeemer, the trait must not remain unconsidered, that the only thing of which we read that He took it ill, was precisely this repelling of the children. After all which had just before been uttered about the sins and the wretchedness in wedded life (see in Matthew and Mark), this whole scene makes the impression of a friendly sunbeam which breaks through on a thickly-clouded sky.
3. As for the subjects, so also for the King of the kingdom of God, did the way to true greatness lie precisely in this His deep humiliation. He who requires the childlike temper, has shown Himself also the most perfect Son, Heb. 5:8.
4. The becoming like children, and the ἄνωθεν γεννηθῆναι, John 3:3, are correlative ideas. How completely indispensable the requirement of humility and the childlike temper was, could not appear more evidently than on this occasion. Scarcely do the children retire from the hallowed scene, when a rich young man enters, who, only for the reason that he is lacking in this childlike humility, does not find the entrance to the kingdom of heaven.
5. See the parallels in Matthew and Mark, and observe the intimate connection of this occurrence with the immediately preceding parable.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The blessing of children: 1. Ardently desired; 2. precipitately forbidden; 3. graciously granted; 4. lastingly confirmed.—From that which we desire for our children, is made manifest what we ourselves think of Jesus.—Christ and the world of children.—The misguided zeal of the disciples is not seldom in direct conflict with the intention of the Master.—What found the Saviour in the little children that was much more welcome to Him than the sight of many adults?—How the true childlike temper teaches us, 1. To find; 2. to receive; 3. to esteem aright, the kingdom of heaven.—The disciple of the Lord is called to be in malice a child, but in understanding full grown, 1 Cor. 14:20.
STARKE:—The hasty and precipitate character even yet cleaves strongly to beginners in religion.—HEDINGER:—The child’s state a blessed state!—Ah, few become like children, therefore we may well suppose more children than grown people enter into the kingdom of heaven.—BRENTIUS:—The children, as it were, constitute the heart and the noblest part of the kingdom of Christ on earth. Who would not count them dear and precious, and gladly be conversant with them? Mark this, ye parents and schoolmasters!—HEUBNER:—Even love can out of love become indignant; but this is no selfish displeasure, but a holy one.—Love of children a trait in the character of every Christianly religious man.—Whomsoever Jesus presses to His heart, such an one will certainly be warmed by love.—ARNDT’S sermons upon the life of Jesus. Jesus, the children’s Friend without compare. See farther on Luke 9:46–48.
[Luke 18:16.—Revised Version of the American Bible Union.—C. C. S.]
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?2. Jesus and the Rich Young Man (Luke 18:18–30)
(Parallels: Matt. 19:16–30; Mark 10:17–31.)
18And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master [Teacher], what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy 21mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute4 unto the poor, and thou shalt have [a] treasure in heaven [the heavens5]: and come, follow me. 23And when he heard this, he was [became] very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful [saw him6]: he said, How hardly shall [do7] they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all [what was ours8], and followed thee. 29And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, 30Who shall not receive [back] manifold more [many times as much] in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 18:18. A certain ruler.—Ἄρχων, more particular specification of the indefinite εἷς in Matthew and Mark; perhaps the president of a neighboring synagogue, who, concealed among the people, had heard the instruction of the Saviour, been present at the blessing of the children, and excited by both to address himself with a weighty question to Jesus. According to no one of the Synoptics does he come πειράζων, like so many before and after him, but on the contrary with a good intention. Noticeable is the comparatively great fulness with which the three Synoptics communicate this occurrence; it has, as is evident, left a deep impression in the circle of the disciples.
Good Teacher.—It is not hard to sketch a somewhat vivid portrait of the youthful speaker. He is as little lacking in emotion and enthusiasm, as in fluency of speech and demonstration of honor before Jesus. He is better than the common dependers on works [Werkheiligen, lit., work-saints] of that time, under whose self-righteousness there flowed not seldom a current of hypocrisy, but he stands far below to God-fearing men of the Old Testament, in whose hearts, along with the strictest conscientiousness, there ever remained alive the feeling of the necessity of atonement. What he seeks is not grace but reward;—the eternal life in which he, probably a member of the sect of the Pharisees, believes, he will earn by his own virtue. Yet still an obscure feeling is ever saying to him that the treasure of his good works is not yet great enough; to his righteousness he wishes to add something more, altogether extraordinary, in order then to be able to be sure of the perfect certainty of his salvation. Before the Saviour departs, he wishes for once to hear from Him the answer to this great question of life. Thus does he stand before us as a man full of good intentions, but without deep self-knowledge; who takes pleasure in the law of God, but at the same time also has complacency in himself, whose words not only express his thoughts, but in a certain sense anticipate them; more worthy of love than of envy,—a curious mixture of honesty and of pitiable self-deceit. Not until he is considered from this point of view, is it possible wholly to understand the wisdom and love with which the Saviour treats him. He is in a certain sense the Nicodemus character of the Synoptics, comp. John 3:2, although his history, alas, ends less satisfactorily than that of this teacher in Israel.
Luke 18:19. Why callest thou me good?—Luke simply follows Mark, in giving this answer of our Lord. Respecting the famous various reading in Matt. ad loc. see LANGE. We for our part are of the opinion that in Matthew the Recepta must be retained, and that the reading of Lachmann and Tischendorf has no higher value than that of an old interpretamentum. The grounds for this persuasion do not belong here, but as respects the Marcionitic reading of the second part of the answer in Luke: ὁ γὰρ ἀγαθὸς εἷς ἐστιν, ὁ Θεὸς ὁ πατήρ, it is nothing but a gloss, which does not even bear a strongly Marcionitic character.—As to the rest, we scarcely need to remark that the Saviour by this answer: οὐδεὶς ἀγαθ., κ.τ.λ., is as far from indirectly expressing His own Godhead (the old Dogmatici), as He is from decidedly denying it (the later Rationalists). He contents Himself with declining an epithet which in this mouth would have had no meaning whatever, even as He previously also did not wish from every one to be greeted as the Messiah. Thus does He here give on the one hand an example of modest humility, which contrasts not a little with the self-praise of the young man, and on the other hand He points him, if he will really do what is good, to the highest ideal of perfection.
Luke 18:20. The commandments.—The Saviour names the commandments of the second table, because when the rich man had once seen his lack of love to his neighbor, the conclusion as to his lack of love to God could not be difficult. According to Mark and Luke, the μὴ μοιχεύσῃς stands first, with internal probability, if we direct our regard to the youth of the questioner. According to the statement of Luke, the Saviour names only five commandments, the μὴ ἀποστερήση̣ς of Mark and the ἀγαπ. τὸν πλησ. σου ὡς σεαυτ. of Matthew, being wanting.
Luke 18:21. All these.—In vain hitherto has the Saviour endeavored to draw the attention of the young man to the contrast between his duty and his own ability. The youth is still so taken up with his own virtue, that he thinks that he is able to point courageously to his whole past life, although at the same time, in the obscure foreboding that he may yet perhaps come short, he adds (Matthew): τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ. The answer of the Saviour does not confirm the truth of his declaration, but only tells him what he, in case it is really so with him, has yet to do.
Luke 18:22. Distribute.—Διάδος, see the notes on the text. By the peculiar form of the injunction, the salutary strictness of the command becomes evident. He must not only sell his treasure, never to see it again;—even that perhaps in an heroic and high-wrought moment might have been possible;—but to distribute the precious wealth with his own hand, piece by piece, among the poor, and thus see the source of his earthly joy, pride, hope, as it were, drop by drop dry up. “Distribue, ipse id magnam lœtitiam afferre solet piis.” Bengel. Only when he has in this way killed his selfishness even to the root, may he view himself as perfect in love. Then is the Master ready to give him his recompense and highest good, the place of a disciple, His cross, His heavenly treasure.
Luke 18:23. Very sorrowful.—Περίλυπος: Matthew, λυπούμενος; Mark, στυγνάσας, λυπούμενος. These are all expressions which show that the answer of Jesus produces an intense impression upon the young man. No wonder, it was also very fitting to cure him forever of his foolish self-conceit. Up to this moment, he had thought that the external observance of the manifold commandments might open for him the way to heaven, while he yet had left the commune vinculum, the highest principle of all the requirements of God, until now unconsidered. And now it appears that his selfishness is mightier than his seemingly noble love, and that he his life through had already transgressed the first commandment, inasmuch as he offered base worship to Mammon. He becomes aware that to his fabric of virtue even the foundation is yet wanting, and still he had already been hoping to be able to put the capstone on his perfected work. The chasm which lies between knowing and willing, and between willing and doing, becomes to him now plain; he goes away, and it is not impossible that he afterwards returns again; but even though he saw Jesus no more, he has received an instruction which he his whole life long can no more forget. He knows now what is lacking to him, and even though the look of sadness which the Saviour let fall upon the departing one had been a look of irrevocable farewell, yet the lasting loss of this young man would still have been to the rest a gain, on account of the heart-Searching instructions and warnings which Jesus connected with this occurrence.
Luke 18:24. How hardly.—See on Matt. 19:17–29; Mark 10:17–30. That the Saviour here teaches, it is true, a relative but by no means absolute impossibility that the rich man should be saved, shows again how far He, in the gospel of Luke, is removed from all Ebionitic contempt of riches. Only when money has us, instead of our possessing the money, does it close against us the entrance to the kingdom of heaven. Comp. besides the well-known golden tractate of CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS, Quis dives salvetur, also Pœdagogus, lib. iii. Luke 6. The double form in which Mark (Luke 10:23, 24) communicates the saying of our Lord, is especially adapted to explain more exactly His actual meaning.
Luke 18:25. A camel.—See LANGE on Matt. 19:24, and LIGHTFOOT, ad loc. Beyond doubt there here hovers before the Saviour’s soul, in particular, the image of the many rich and mighty in His day, whose earthly temper hindered them from receiving Him, while He in the rich young man saw a type of thousands, to whom the disciples in their Chiliastic dreams had already conceded a place of honor in the kingdom of heaven, but with reference to whom it was soon to appear that they, on account of their love to earthly goods, were not fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 18:26. Who then can be saved?—As well this scene with the ruler, as also this earnest utterance of the Saviour, has taught the disciples to cast a deeper look into their own heart. They feel now that not earthly good in itself closes the entrance into the kingdom of heaven, but that it does so only when one hangs his heart upon it, and that one therefore, even without being in possession of riches, may yet be shut out as a rich man. In the living consciousness that even the poorest may have something of this earthly-mindedness which causes the ἄρχων to go sorrowful away, they now all, instead of surprise at others, feel concern about themselves, and venture the great question, which the Saviour answers with His compassionate look and a comforting word. Comp. Job 42:2; Jer. 32:17; Zech. 8:6.
Luke 18:18. Peter said.—According to all three Evangelists, it is Peter with whom first, in the place of concern, there follows not only recovered composure, but even self-complacency. Very characteristic is it, but at the same time amiable, that he here does not place himself exclusively first, but utters it as the collective consciousness of the apostolic circle, that all more or less had done what had proved too hard for the ἄρχων. The peculiar form of his utterance in Luke, “we have left τὰ ἴδια. that which is ours,” brings the greater difficulty of the sacrifice made still more strongly into view. Instead of the fear of not being able to be saved, there now springs up within them the hope of extraordinary reward; and it is entirely unmistakable that in this whole utterance, an egoistic love of reward expresses itself, of which it is even more easily conceivable how it could arise in the heart of Peter, than how it could be approved by Jesus. Before, however, we find difficulty in this latter fact, let us notice first that the assertion of Peter was no idle vaunt, but pure truth; that the Saviour Himself had just before attached to the renunciation of earthly good the possession of the heavenly treasure, and that with Peter the craving of reward did not exclude love, but was most intimately connected therewith; and secondly, that our Lord not only approves the hope of recompense, inasmuch as He promises to it the richest satisfaction, but also tempers it and sanctifies it, by the immediately following parable, Matt. 21:1–16.
Luke 18:29. Verily I say unto you.—Luke gives the answer of the Saviour less precisely and less in detail than Matthew and Mark, yet with all, the chief thoughts are the same, in which, however, we have to consider that the strictly Israelitish form in which the hope of hundredfold reward is uttered in Matt. Luke 19:28, is less prominent in the Hellenistic gospel of Luke.
Luke 18:30. Receive back, ἀπολάβῃ.—See notes on the text. A still stronger form than in Matthew, and a fitting expression to intimate that he receives what belongs to him as a reward. Afterwards the Saviour expressed the same thought in another form, Luke 22:25–30. The clause: “Many last shall be first,” which Matthew and Mark subjoin here, Luke had already given, Luke 13:30. As a proverb, its frequent repetition is easily intelligible.
In this time, and in the world to come life everlasting.—This passage is one of those in which the distinction between the common Synoptic and the Johannean signification of the word ζωὴ αἰώνιος appears most strongly marked. Here, also, as, e.g., Matt. 19:29; 25:46, and elsewhere, it is something absolutely of the other world.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See on the parallel passages in Matthew and Mark.
2. In the Pauline gospel of Luke also, the history of the rich young man occupies a prominent place, inasmuch as this word serves as a palpable proof of the absolute impossibility of being justified by the works of the law. When the Saviour says to a sinner, in view of the requirements of the law: Do this and thou shalt live, this is done for the very purpose of awakening, by the despair of fulfilling such a requirement, the consciousness of deep sinfulness, and the slumbering longing for grace. In this respect also, the history of the rich young man is a rarely equalled type of the pædagogic wisdom of our Lord, and at the same time a key to the Pauline declaration, Rom. 7:7–24.
3. For the apologetics of the Evangelical history, it is of moment to compare the form in which this occurrence is related in the gospel of the Hebrews. Comp. on this the happy remark of NEANDER, L. J. ad loc., and respecting this whole narrative, the dissertation of K. WIMMER, Stud. u. Krit. 1845, i. p. 115.
4. The evangelical idea of the sinlessness of our Lord is in no way endangered by the negative: τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν. “The declaration is the expression of the same humble subordination to God, penetrated by which Jesus also, although knowing Himself one with the Father, yet designates the Father as the One sending Him, teaching Him, sanctifying Him, glorifying Him,—in one word, as the greater. Ever, indeed, is the Father the original source, as of all being, so of all goodness; the absolutely Good, in His holiness ever the same, while in contrast with Him even the Son, as Man, is one developing in goodness and holiness, perfecting Himself through prayers, conflicts, sorrows, and suffering, unto Divine glory.” Ullmann.
5. The whole history of the rich young man is a powerful testimony to the spirit of the first commandment in the Decalogue. Evidently the Saviour was not concerned with the wealth of the ἄρχων in itself,—for some misfortune or other might then have easily freed him from his possessions; but He wished to detach him from the idol to which his heart was bound. If his idol had been something else, e.g., ambition, the Saviour would not have given him this commandment; he would have fulfilled it without trouble, nay, perhaps would even have boasted of his beneficence; but since his weak side is the love of money, the commandment of self-denial approaches him precisely in this relatively accidental form, that it may become evident to. him how only he who can renounce that which is highest, is on the way to gain that which is best. Hard was the requirement, but it was the severity of love.
[After all, our Lord only required of this young man what the apostles, as Peter declares, had already done; and even worldly wisdom does not now venture to dispute that the preëminent honor which they have gained to all ages of the world thereby, has of itself been a hundred times over worth the sacrifice. What emperor in Christendom would dare for a moment to compare his dignity with that of an apostle, or an evangelist, or even the helper of an apostle? And certainly we may believe that the young ruler, who could have made a still greater sacrifice, and whom Jesus, even at His first and only meeting with him, came to regard with so peculiar an affection, was fitted to occupy no mean place in the kingdom of God. So true is it, that even as respects this world, he missed the opportunity of placing himself on such an eminence, as no potentate of his age ever came within sight of.—C. C. S.]
6. The promise of manifold reward for the sacrifice made for the kingdom of heaven, had already been given to the disciples in another form, Luke 6:23; 12:35–37. Here, In particular, must be considered how the Saviour, after He had promised them more than the most glowing imagination could expect, makes haste to oppose every narrow self-seeking and false rest in their soul. He takes from them therewith at once the fancy of their being the only ones so highly distinguished. In an entirely general way He promises for all following times to all a hundredfold recompense who should renounce anything for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. They should not lack companions of the high fortune which they desired above all things. But that they might not now too early rest upon their laurels, they are on the other hand disquieted by the thought: Those who are now the first, may afterwards very possibly become the last. How thoroughly in earnest, moreover, the Saviour was as to this promise of the hundredfold recompense even in this life, appears from the history of the kingdom of God in all times, comp. e.g., what Paul offered for its sake and afterwards gained. Or consider the French refugees who for the cause of truth and reformation left their native country, and even yet in their posterity are visibly and wonderfully blest! [What blood more honorable in our country than the blood of the Huguenots?—C. C. S.]
7. The whole instruction of our Lord, as well concerning the dangers of riches as concerning the rich recompense of that which is offered up for Him, acquires an additional and peculiar importance if we consider that this was uttered in the presence of Judas, only a few days before the germinating in him of the dark plan of betrayal.
[8. We must bear in mind that while as yet the might of Christian love had scarcely begun to be felt in the world, riches were to their possessors a temptation to hard-hearted voluptuousness in a degree scarcely possible now. In Christendom, imperfect as it is, even a worldly man, in spite of himself, is forced in some measure to take a Christian view of his wealth. This does not, by any means, remove the danger of riches, but it increases the probability, in each particular case, that those dangers will be surmounted.—C. C. S.]
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Sacrifices for the kingdom of heaven are: 1. Required, Luke 18:18–22; 2. refused, Luke 18:23–27; 3. made, Luke 18:28; 4. rewarded, Luke 18:29, 30.—The ruler of the synagogue at the feet of Him who is the Lord of the temple.—Jesus, over against the rich young man, truly the Good Master, although He declines this honorable appellation.—The rich young man the type of the man who has much that is needed for his salvation, but not all: 1. His portrait; 2. his fate.—How little even the knowing of the commandments helps us.—The strictness of the Saviour towards the virtuous, His mildness towards the deeply-fallen sinner, and in both cases His heavenly love.—The advantage of an untroubled retrospect upon a well-spent and unspotted youth: 1. A rare; 2. an inestimable; 3. a dangerous, advantage.—One thing thou yet lackest: 1. A kindly intended felicitation, because only one thing; 2. an earnest warning, because in the one all is lacking to him.—What the rich young man really lacks is love to God above all things.—Whoever will teach others to recognize their own sins against God, does best when he begins with their duties towards their neighbor, 1 John 4:20.—The treasure in heaven: 1. Its high value; 2. its dear price.—True care for the poor must be a personal one.—The rich young man: 1. Trebly rich, a. in treasures, b. in virtues, c. in self-conceit; 2. trebly poor, a. in self-knowledge, b. in love, c. in heavenly possessions.—The ruinous power of a single darling sin, Eccles. 10:1; Matt. 5:29, 30.—How earthly-mindedness: 1. Contemns the King of the kingdom of God; 2. despises the fundamental law of the kingdom of God; 3. forfeits the blessedness of the kingdom of God.—How the Saviour will cure man of his earthly-mindedness by leading him to the way: 1. Of self-knowledge; 2. of self-denial; 3. of self-surrender to Him.—The love of Christ over against the might of the ego: 1. How deep it looks; 2. how much it requires; 3. how richly it rewards.—Why is it harder for the rich than for so many others to enter into the kingdom of heaven?—“How hardly,” &c.: 1. A word of terror for the earthly-minded wealthy; 2. a word of comfort for the heavenly-minded poor; 3. a word of thanksgiving for rich and poor who have really overcome the difficulty and have entered into the kingdom of heaven.—The being saved: 1. On its humanly impossible; 2. on its Divinely possible and easy, side.—How far the question, “What shall we have therefore?” from the Christian point of view is permitted or censurable.—The recompense in the kingdom of heaven: 1. Its extent, a. in this, b. in the future, life; 2. its conditions: one must, a. really have left all, and this then, b. not out of mercenariness, but out of love.
STARKE:—CANSTEIN:—Our first and chiefest question should be concerning everlasting life.—BRENTIUS:—The law is spiritual, and requires internal and external obedience.—In religion nature and grace must be well distinguished.—Let man be taught to distinguish well the general and the special calling of God.—HEDINGER:—Woe to you, ye rich, Luke 6:24; 1 Tim. 6:9; James 5:1.—Bibl. Wirt:—Let not thy mouth water too much after worldly goods, because they are more a hindrance than a help to salvation, Prov. 30:8.—Rising concern for salvation must be regarded and welcomed as a messenger of grace.—HEDINGER:—All lost, all gained.—BRENTIUS:—The lust of reward here cleaves even, it seems, to the best dispositions.—To the children and servants of God belongs all the good which the kingdom of grace and glory possesses; what would they more? 1 Cor. 3:21–23.
PALMER:—What lack I yet? 1. What answer our own heart would be glad to give; 2. what the Lord answers thereto.—Of the unhappy contradiction in which so many men are involved with themselves.—W. HOFACKER:—Good labor brings noble recompense.—C. J. NITZSCH:—No one is good saving God alone: 1. In what sense the expression is meant; 2. how in the light of it Jesus Himself appears to us; 3. whether, then, where it holds good, there yet can be any well-grounded confidence in our neighbor.
Luke 18:22.—Διάδος. The simple δός, which A., D., L., M., Δ., and some others have, and also Lachmann, is taken from the parallels.
Luke 18:22.—According to B., D., ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. [Cod. Sin., ἐν οὐρανοῖς.] The singular of the Recepta is from Matthew and Mark.
Luke 18:24.—E. V.: “saw that he was very sorrowful.” [Ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτόν ὁ Ἰ. εἶπεν, according to B., Cod. Sin., L. Accepted by Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford.—C. C. S.]
Luke 18:24.—Εἰςπορεύονται [according to B., L. Cod. Sin. has εἰςελεύσονται.—C. C. S.]
Luke 18:28.—Τὰ ἴδια (without πάντα), according to Griesbach, Lachmann, [Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford,] on the authority of B., L., 157. Πάντα is taken from the parallels.
Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.3. Jesus and the Blind Man (Luke 18:31–43)
(Parallel to Matt. 20:17–19, 29–34; Mark 10:32–34, 46–52.)
31Then [And] he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning [lit., for, τῷ υἱῷ. κ.τ.λ.] the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated [outrageously handled], and spittedon: 33And they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall riseagain. 34And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew [comprehended] they the things which were spoken.
35And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind mansat by the way side begging: 36And hearing the multitude pass by [a multitude passingby], he asked what it meant. 37And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. 38And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 39And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so muchthe more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 40And Jesus stood, and commanded41him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, Saying,9 What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord [or, Sir], that I mayreceive my sight. 42And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath savedthee [or, caused thy recovery]. 43And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 18:31. And He took.—Comp. LANGE on the parallels in Matthew and Mark. The parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, which in Matt. 20:1–16 precedes the repeated announcement of the Passion, and the request of the sons of Zebedee which follows it, and which is given by Matthew as well as Mark, Luke passes over. According to the Synoptics, the journey to the Passover is now continued steadily in the direction of Jericho. That, however, the Twelve were not the Saviour’s only companions in travel appears from the fact that He calls them to Himself, κατ̓ ἰδίαν, Matt. 20:17–19, in order to impart to them a weighty utterance. Perhaps the women, Luke 8:2, 3, were also with him, and Salome comes forth from their circle with her petition. The visible distinction between the temper of our Lord and that of the disciples is brought into view by Mark in particular, 10:32, with much graphic force. It is as if the feeling of Thomas, which he so strongly uttered, John 11:16, had now possessed itself of all the disciples. Perhaps Jesus considers just this discouraged state of theirs best fitted for the communication to them for the third time of a prophecy which He had already delivered twice to almost deaf ears. The greater the vividness which had been given by the just-reported conversation to the prospect of hundredfold reward, the more necessary does it appear to our Lord to obviate the earthly-minded expectation with which they follow Him, even on the fatal way; and of set purpose He severs them from the circle of the others, in order, by the very mystery in the manner of His communication, to prepare them the better for the weightiness of its matter.
Τελεσθήσεται, κ.τ.λ.—The reference to the prophetic declarations on this occasion is peculiar to Luke. The Saviour speaks with emphasis of πάντα τὰ γεγρ., comp. Luke 22:37. The Messianic prophecies of suffering stand before His eyes as a great whole put in writing τῷ υἱῷ τ. ἀνθρ. for the Son of Man, a dativus commodi by which the proper destination of the word of Scripture, that of being realized in Him, is intimated; an indirect proof that for every detail of the picture of His Passion which is now sketched, Luke 18:32, 33, there must also be at least an intimation to be found in the prophetic record.
Luke 18:32. Delivered unto the Gentiles.—Luke in his more summary report passes over the first delivery to the high-priests and scribes, and the condemnation to death by the Sanhedrim. On the other hand he, like Matthew and Mark, mentions the prediction of the mocking, scourging, and maltreatment of our Lord, and has, in common with Mark, the special mention of the spitting on Him. The more than usual agreement of the Synoptics in the communication of these details is a strong proof for the credibility of this prediction, which can be weakened in no manner by any dogmatic doubt (De Wette and others). According to the Synoptics, the Saviour on this occasion speaks of His resurrection on the third day expressly. The gradual climax καί, καί, καί, disappears therefore at once in an overwhelming antithesis.
Luke 18:34. And they understood none of these things, &c.—“An emphatic diffuseness.” Meyer. It is, of course, understood that this ignorance of the apostles was no wanton, but was yet in a certain sense a self-caused, ignorance; and that it had not reference to the sound of the words, but to the thing itself. Comp. Luke 9:45. How little, moreover, they understood our Lord, appeared immediately from the petition of the sons of Zebedee. Strikingly does Luke bring into view the totality of the misunderstanding, οὐδὲν συνῆκαν, and its ground, ἦν τὸ ῥῆμα κεκρυμμ., κ.τ.λ., and the natural consequence, οὐκ ἐγίνωσκον. Because their heart stubbornly repels the only intelligible sense of the words, their understanding seeks in vain for a more endurable sense which, perhaps, might be given to these words. They are spiritually as blind as the Bartimœus who now comes into view is in body.
Luke 18:35. As He was come nigh unto Jericho.—Respecting the locality of the City of Palms, and respecting the difference among the Synoptics in reference to the number of the blind men, and the question whether the miracle took place at the entrance or the leaving of the city, see LANGE, ad loc. For the various attempts to remove this difficulty, and their advocates, see Meyer, De Wette, and others. If one believes that the accounts must à tout prix be brought into agreement with one another, then without doubt the conjecture of Lange that the Saviour went in and out at the same gate of the city, and that the miracle falls into two parts, seems to deserve the preference before the view that a second blind man associated himself with Bartimæus, and, at all events, deserves the preference above the unlucky harmonistic expedient which makes this miracle take place twice. We believe, however, that a spiritually free view of the Evangelical reports must frankly allow such little discrepancies, and, no doubt, institute attempts to reconcile them, but by no means force them. Comp. the admirable remark of OLSHAUSEN, Comm. 1. p. 28, and that of CHRYSOSTOM, Prœf. in Matt., in respect to the difference of the Evangelists in minor matters: αὐτὸ μὲν τοῦτο μέγιστον δεῖγμα τῆς ἀληθείας ἐστίν̇ εἰ γὰρ πάντα συνεφώνησαν μετὰ ἀκριβείας, οὐδεὶς ἂν ἐπίστευσεν τῶν ἐχθρῶν, ὅτι μὴ συνελθόντες ἀπὸ συνθήκης τινὸς ἀνθρωπίνης ἔγραψαν, ἅπερ ἔγραψαν, κ.τ.λ. [This itself is the greatest evidence of truth, for if all things had accurately agreed, no one of our enemies would have believed that they had not come together by a human agreement and written what they have written, &c.] Taking all together, we account it probable: 1. That here only one blind man was healed, and that when Matthew uses the plural, he, as is more his way, is less intent on giving the number than the description of the healed; and, 2. that the miracle did not take place before (Luke) but after the entrance of Jesus into Jericho (Matthew and Mark). Two narrators, of whom the one is an apostolic eye-witness, stand here over against one another, and it is not probable that the perverse temper of the people, Luke 19:7, would so soon and publicly have found expression if only a few moments before enthusiasm had been so powerfully awakened by the healing of the blind man, as we read Luke 18:43. Far more probable is it that the Saviour performed this miracle on His departure from Jericho, with the design also of leaving behind there an abiding impression. Only on the platform of a mechanical theory of inspiration can offence be taken at this want of diplomatic exactness in the statement of Luke. Whoever, on the other hand, regards his gospel with impartial view, will hardly be able to deny that, especially in the last period of the public life of our Saviour and in the history of the Passion, the exact chronological arrangement of the events is not to be expected, particularly from Luke, and that he in this respect often remains behind Matthew and Mark. The investigation of the cause of this phenomenon does not belong here.
Luke 18:37. That Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.—The people name our Lord according to the customary style. The blind man, who greets Him as Son of David, however, shows even by this that his faith has reached a higher grade.
Luke 18:40. Commanded him to be brought unto Him.—Luke relates, it is true, that the Saviour gave this command, but not that the blind man, upon this command being given, was led by others to Him. His account does not, therefore, conflict with that of Mark, who mentions Bartimæus throwing away his garment and coming to Jesus. Apparently we have to conceive the matter thus: that the blind man left none of the standers-by time to carry out the exact command of our Lord. As little do the accounts of the manner of the healing contradict one another, for the circumstance that Matthew alone mentions that Jesus here also, as often before, touched his eyes, is by Mark as well as by Luke neither directly nor indirectly controverted.
Luke 18:41. What wilt thou.—“Interrogat Christus, non tam cœci privatim causa, quam totius populi. Scimus enim, ut mundus Dei beneficia sine sensu devoret, nisi stimulis excitetur. Ergo Christus voce sua turbam adstantem ad observandum miraculum erigit.” Calvin.
Luke 18:43. All the people.—This statement of the impression which the miracle produced upon the whole people has been preserved to us by Luke alone. It is as if he would cause us to hear at the gate of Jericho the prelude to the Hosannas which were soon to resound far more mightily at the gates of Jerusalem, comp. Luke 19:37. That the Saviour Himself no longer desires to check this triumphant praise, appears even from the fact that He no longer imposes on the blind man any silence about what had been done, nor yet requires that he, like the demoniac, Mark 5:19, shall go home, but willingly allows Bartimæus to swell the enthusiastic throng and go before it. As to the rest, the mention of the doxology, to which the miracles of the Saviour several times give occasion, is peculiar to Luke, comp. Luke 5:26; 7:16; 9:43; 13:17, and is wholly in the Pauline spirit. Comp. Rom. 11:33–36.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The Saviour’s third prediction to His disciples of His Passion is richer in details than the two former ones. We may conclude from this that His own consciousness of His approaching fate gained continually in clearness, and that even the so-called Contingentia of the future—e.g., the spitting on Him—stood before His soul already as present. This can the less surprise us if we consider that even these here-mentioned particulars were not foreign to the prophetic image of the Messiah and His Passion, see, e.g., Isaiah 50:6; Ps. 22:8. Phenomena of this kind create difficulty for those who know no higher basis for the prophetic viewing of the future than human presentiment alone, and will explain all phenomena in this sphere exclusively from within outward, instead of from above downward. On the other hand, we have simply to remind the reader, “After all human mediation and substratum is provided for, still the proper innermost nature of prophecy remains an every-time-renewed discovery of hidden things through the omniscient Spirit, an anticipating of the future beyond the preformations and germs of the present; in short, a speaking of God, out of which in its turn the prophesying history can alone form and comprehend itself. We have, therefore, no right to forbid every prediction, and although it stands there to explain it away out of principle, merely for the reason that we do not know how to make way for it in our understanding of history, because it appears to stand forth to us as a soothsaying prediction.” Stier. If this principle holds good even of predictions of the Old Testament, in how much higher measure must it then hold good of Him who is conscious of Himself being the end of the law and the centre of all prophecy, and whose capacity certainly no one will in any case be able successfully to dispute of knowing all, even to the minute details, which He had to know, in order, as the Founder of the kingdom of God, to accomplish His mission on earth.
2. Attention cannot be too often directed to the closeness with which the Saviour’s consciousness of His Passion attaches itself to the prophetical Scripture. He, the Son of the House, sees in the law and the prophets the Magna Charta of the kingdom of God, to which He, not less than its least subject, is bound. As if He had foreseen that hereafter the days would come in which it should be denied, in the name of science, that Israel’s prophets have ever decisively pointed to a suffering and dying Messiah, He points us to their testimony as to the clear mirror of His suffering as well as of His glory. For him who will really penetrate deeply into the sanctuary of the history of the Passion, it is of the greatest importance that he do not let the key of the prophetic Scripture be taken from Him. Here also plainly appears the truth of the maxim: titubante scriptura, simul titubat fides.
3. In the inquiry, what gave the Saviour courage and energy to go forward with so unterrified a step towards the way of suffering, we undoubtedly must not overlook the truth that He continually beyond His Passion foresaw the Resurrection on the third day. For him who really believes in the Humanity of our Lord, even His lofty courage unto death is a proof that the prediction of the resurrection in the gospel was by no means a bare vaticinium post eventum. On the other hand, it is entirely natural that in the degree in which the Passion pressed more vehemently in upon Him, the heart-exalting prospect of the Resurrection was not, it is true, in any wise shaken, but yet temporarily in His consciousness thrown into the background.
4. The incapacity of the disciples to understand our Lord’s announcement of His suffering, is a new proof of the truth that in the Christian sphere true spiritual understanding comes to pass through the organ of the heart. If the soul turns itself from a clearly uttered truth, then is also the understanding incapable of recognizing its substance and importance. Here also the well-known saying of Pascal holds good, that one must know human things in order to love them, but, on the other hand, must love Divine things if he would rightly understand them. Comp. the beautiful essay of VINET, L’Évangile compris par le cœur.—At the same time, however, this incapacity of the disciples is an unequivocal proof of the indispensable necessity, as well as of the salutary influence, of their enlightenment through the Holy Spirit, in consequence of which they afterwards learned to regard that same Passion as absolutely necessary and worthy of God, which at first was so offensive to them, and for that very reason so incomprehensible.
5. Every healing of the blind related to us in the gospel shows in a striking symbol how the Saviour opens the eye of the soul also for the heavenly light; but in particular may the history of Bartimæus, in its beautiful gradualness of development, be called a type of this spiritual benefit pregnant with instruction. First there makes its way to him merely the report of Jesus, awakening slumbering remembrances, longings, and presagings; then it becomes evident to the people following Jesus that he has a longing for higher benefit than the multitude which only outwardly encircles the Saviour. As commonly, so here also, they do not want the sufferer to enjoy anything from Jesus apart from them, and seek to suppress his tone of lamentation, as a discord in the jubilant acclaim of joy. But this very reaction excites his longing faith to higher courage, and soon the sufferer cannot any longer rest till every hindrance yet separating him from Jesus is overcome; faith triumphs, and the first thing that he now sees is Christ Himself, before whose face he stands, and in whose light he now beholds the whole creation surrounding him as in the glory of the resurrection, “the image of the truth that in spiritual enlightenment Christ is the first, loveliest, and best of everything that one learns to recognize, upon whom, moreover, the simple eye of the spirit with good reason remains through the whole of life directed.” In conclusion, the following of Jesus, the preceding others, the united praise of God, the whole order of salvation, as well on the side of God as on that of man, lies here in nuce visibly before us, that is, if our eyes are opened.
6. “O, what power has the prayer of believers! There prayed Joshua, and the sun in the heaven stood still that he might fully beat down the enemies Now JESUS, the Sun of Righteousness, which in mi[illigibel words found] course was soon to descend, also stood here still.” Bogatzky.
7. The last miracle again—the last performed on a man which is made known to us from the public life of our Lord (Matt. 21:14 contains only a general notice)—presents before our eyes the high end of His manifestation in a striking manner, comp. Isaiah 35:5; Ps. 146:8; and the homage which is here brought to Him at Jericho’s gate is a prophecy of the universal homage of the redeemed which hereafter shall be brought to Him, especially in His exalted character as the Light of the world.
8. It is an element of the pædagogic wisdom of our Lord, that He, the more His public life hastens to its end, rather seeks than avoids the opportunity to do miracles, and unconditionally accepts the homage of the healed. This also was soon to serve His weakly believing disciples as a counterpoise against the σκάνδαλον crucis.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Jesus the Light of the world, as well for the spiritually (the Twelve) as for the corporeally blind (Bartimæus): 1. He creates the light for the eye (Luke 18:31–34); 2. He opens the eye to the light (Luke 18:35–42).—How the Saviour labors to make His servants friends and intimate companions, John 15:15.—Jesus contrasted with His disciples: 1. His clear knowledge in contrast with their ignorance; 2. His lofty courage in contrast with their faint-hearted fear; 3. His willing precedence on the way of humiliation in contrast with their constrained following [“He longs to be baptized with blood, He pants to reach the cross.” Cowper.].—The Passion of our Lord the fulfilment of a Divine prophecy.—The relation of suffering to glory.—The courage of Christ unto death, and the shrinking from suffering of so many Christians.—Sluggishness of heart the deepest ground of the not understanding so many a word of the Lord.—Jesus and Joshua before the gates of Jericho: 1. What both find; 2. what both bring.—Whoever feels that he is spiritually blind can do nothing better than to beg.—Where the eye of the soul is yet closed, there must the ear of the body become so much more keenly alive to the report which ever flies before our Lord where He comes with His salvation: 1. Into a land; 2. into a home; 3. into a heart.—Happy for him who does not keep from the blind the knowledge that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.—How differently the Lord appears to diverse eyes: 1. To the superficial multitude He is Jesus of Nazareth; 2. to the eagerly longing Bartimæus He is the Son of David; 3. to the believing disciples He is the Son of the living God.—The Kyrie Eleison of the soul, which precedes its Hosanna. [κύριε, ἐλέησον μέ—Miserere mei Domine. In some of the German litanies, as well as in the Latin mass, this formula of supplication remains in the original Greek, being afterwards interpreted in the Latin or German.—C. C. S.]—On His way to death the Saviour permits Himself to be detained not a moment by the dissuasions of His friends, but gladly by the cry of a blind man’s distress.—“What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” One must earnestly wish to be made whole by Jesus.—What a faith is it, that really heals the spiritually blind?—In order to be able to follow Jesus one must see Him; in order to follow Him aright, one must praise God.—The good example of a sinner healed finds imitation on the part of others.—Blind Bartimæus a guide to a truly Christian celebration of the communion; his history shows us: 1. The right temper for the communion, a. steady sense of wretchedness, b. eager longing for deliverance, c. courageous coming to Jesus; 2. the highest comfort of the communion, that the Saviour, a. knows us, b. calls us, c. hears us; 3. the fruit of the communion most to be desired: a. that our eyes may see Him, b. our feet follow Him, c. our tongues praise Him.
STARKE:—QUESNEL:—We know not, like Jesus Christ, the time of our sacrifice and death, but we know well that we are ever coming nearer to the moment, and we therefore greatly need to think thereon and prepare ourselves therefor, 2 Tim. 4:6.—Jews and Gentiles have alike shamefully laid hands on Jesus, why then blame we each the other?—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—As God dealt with His child Jesus, so does He deal with all believers: suffering must precede, afterwards follows joy.—Bibl. Wirt.:—To judge with fleshly thoughts concerning the kingdom of Christ is not well.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—The blind man a poor man.—HEDINGER:—Would God we were blind, then should we see.—The Lord is in time of distress nearer to us than we think.—CANSTEIN:—Is there indeed anything pleasanter for a sinner to hear than when he learns that the Fount of Light, the Chief Physician, Jesus, is coming towards Him?—Whoever lets Jesus pass by and detains Him not with his prayer is left helpless.—Many times do we experience from those that go before and have a guise of piety, the greatest temptation and the most numerous hindrances in our Christian life.—Faith cannot hold its peace; whoever believes, he speaks—CANSTEIN:—How often does a God-fearing soul dwell in a wretched body.—God leads one man not like another.—The friendliness of Jesus in converse with all manner of men, especially the poor and needy, calls us to imitation.—OSIANDER:—We will rejoice from our hearts when to our neighbors also salvation is brought from God.—J. MÜLLER:—The history of the blind man at Jericho a mirror of the spiritual recovery of man. [John Newton’s “Mercy, O thou Son of David,” gives the very soul of this scene.—C. C. S.]—LISCO:—Pray, and it shall be given you.
On the Pericope.—SCHEFFER:—The last journey of the Redeemer to Jerusalem.—F. W. KRUMMACHER:—The stages on the journey to the cross.—FUCHS:—The Saviour on His last sorrowful journey to Jerusalem: 1. Submissive as to His own suffering; 2. compassionate towards the sorrow of others.—AHLFELD:—The true evangelical fast-keeping: 1. Concerning the fasting mood; 2. concerning the fasting prayers.—COUARD:—How we may celebrate the approaching Passion-week to the blessing of our heart and life.—STIER:—The present blindness of many Christians to the right understanding of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ: 1. How it is with the blindness; 2. whereby it is healed; 3. what we then see and experience.—BRAUNE:—The light that breaks forth from the Passion of Christ. In the Passion of Christ we learn to esteem aright: 1. The sin of the world; 2. the woe of the time.—BURKHARDT:—How it comes that even to well-disposed innocent souls the word of the cross is yet hidden for a while.—The happy blind beggar.—BOMHARDT:—What the passing of Christ to His suffering says to us.—STAUDT:—The prayer, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”: 1. Its necessity; 2. its power; 3. its nature.—STEINHAUSER:—What is it that we see when through Christ the eyes of our spirit are opened?
VAN OOSTERZEE (from a missionary sermon):—“The sighing creation shows itself to our eyes like Bartimæus at Jericho’s gate. Not yet were his eyes unclosed, but already from afar the footsteps of the coming Saviour sound in his ears; already it is told him who approaches; already does he throw the mantle off that hinders him from making haste towards the Deliverer. Yet a little while and he has received his sight and follows the Lord, and heaven and earth sing praises at the sight to God and His Only-begotten.”
Luke 18:41.—Λέγων (Origen: εἰπών) at the beginning of this verse is omitted by Tischendorf, [Meyer, Alford,] according to B., D., [Cod. Sin.,] L., X. It is at least doubtful.