Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
18:1 He spake a parable to them - This and the following parable warn us against two fatal extremes, with regard to prayer: the former against faintness and weariness, the latter against self confidence.
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
18:7 And shall not God - The most just Judge, vindicate his own elect - Preserve the Christians from all their adversaries, and in particular save them out of the general destruction, and avenge them of the Jews? Though he bear long with them - Though he does not immediately put an end, either to the wrongs of the wicked, or the sufferings of good men.
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
18:8 Yet when the Son of man cometh, will he find faith upon earth - Yet notwithstanding all the instances both of his long suffering and of his justice, whenever he shall remarkably appear, against their enemies in this age or in after ages, how few true believers will be found upon earth!
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
18:9 He spake this parable - Not to hypocrites; the Pharisee here mentioned was no hypocrite, no more than an outward adulterer: but he sincerely trusted in himself that he was righteous, and accordingly told God so, in the prayer which none but God heard.
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
18:12 I fast twice in the week - So did all the strict Pharisees: every Monday and Thursday. I give tithes of all that I possess - Many of them gave one full tenth of their income in tithes, and another tenth in alms. the sum of this plea is, I do no harm: I use all the means of grace: I do all the good I can.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
18:13 The publican standing afar off - From the holy of holies, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven - Touched with shame, which is more ingenuous than fear.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
18:14 This man went down - From the hill on which the temple stood, justified rather than the other - That is, and not the other.
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
18:15 Mt 19:13; Mr 10:13.
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
18:16 Calling them - Those that brought the children: of such is the kingdom of God - Such are subjects of the Messiah's kingdom. And such as these it properly belongs to.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
18:18 Mt 19:16; Mr 10:17.
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
18:20 Exo 20:12, and c.
And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
18:22 Yet lackest thou one thing - Namely, to love God more than mammon. Our Saviour knew his heart, and presently put him upon a trial which laid it open to the ruler himself. And to cure his love of the world, which could not in him be cured otherwise, Christ commanded him to sell all that he had. But he does not command us to do this; but to use all to the glory of God.
And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
For 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.
And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
And 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,
Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
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.
18:31 Mt 20:17; Mr 10:32.
For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
18:34 They understood none of these things - The literal meaning they could not but understand. But as they could not reconcile this to their preconceived opinion of the Messiah, they were utterly at a loss in what parabolical or figurative sense to take what he said concerning his sufferings; having their thoughts still taken up with the temporal kingdom.
And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
18:35 Mt 20:29; Mr 10:46.
And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.