Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 18:10-17

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Luke 18:10

There was an incredible contrast between these two men who both sought God in prayer. Pharisee. Jewish laymen known for their dedication for God's law and reputations for righteousness (see note on 5:17). tax collector. Men despised for working with Rome. They were outsiders to the community and thought to be especially sinful (see note on 3:12).

Luke 18:11-12

stood. A normal posture of prayer in biblical times. about himself. Five times in this short prayer, the Pharisee emphasized his religious activities and lack of obvious sins. thank you. He rightly thanked God for keeping him from sin and involved in the religious life of his people. However, his mistake was in trusting his righteousness for salvation (v. 9). No one can ever be made right with God on the basis of their obedience to God (Rom. 3:19-20; Gal. 2:16). Human righteousness is insufficient to meet God's standard (Ps. 143:2; Rom. 3:10).

Luke 18:13-14

See WLC 185.

Luke 18:13

tax collector. He was a dramatic contrast to the Pharisee (vv. 10-12; see note on 3:12). standing at a distance. Everything about the man's posture and position shows that he felt unworthy to stand before God in prayer. mercy. This is not the normal word for mercy in the New Testament. Instead, it's the word which speaks to the satisfaction of God's wrath (propitiation) as atonement is made for sins (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). It was a word associated with the sacrifice made on Israel's Day of Atonement (Exod. 25:17-22; 37:6-8; Lev. 16:15-16; Heb. 2:17). The Pharisee boasted before God, while the tax collector appealed to God for atonement which brings forgiveness (Ps 25:11; 65:3; 78:38; 79:9). sinner. He did not flaunt his righteousness or suppose that he had anything to impress God. He makes no case to convince God to save him. He simply trusts in God's mercy.

Luke 18:14

justified. A legal declaration made by God toward sinners. To be justified is not to be made righteous, but considered righteous by God (Rom. 3:24-26). Sinners are justified by God when they trust Jesus to save them (Rom. 4:5; 5:1, 9; Gal. 2:16). The tax collector looked to God to provide forgiveness and justification as a merciful gift (v. 13). the other. The Pharisee trusted in his own righteousness and was not justified by God (v. 9; Gal. 3:11). exalts . . . humbled. This was an unexpected reversal for Jesus's listeners. They expected the Pharisee to be justified, not the tax collector (see note on 1:51-55).

Luke 18:15-17

Jesus's interactions with children pointed to the humble faith needed to be his disciples.

Luke 18:15-16

See WCF 10.3; 28.4; WLC 166.

Luke 18:15

bringing. Not, they brought, or as Luke often said, On one occasion (5:1; 10:25; 14:1). The tense speaks to the fact that the people kept doing this. It was a common occurrence for Jesus. touch them. The ancient Jews had a cultural history of the elder men in society speaking a blessing onto those who were younger (Gen. 48; Num. 6:24-26).

Luke 18:16

Though the disciples rebuked the crowds (v. 15), Jesus rebukes the disciples. He wanted to reverse their thinking about children and the preaching of the gospel. Permit . . . do not forbid. Jesus gave a positive exhortation for children to be brought to him. He also gave a prohibition not to hinder children from coming to him. kingdom . . . belongs to such. Not that children are always saved. But that those who are saved receive the kingdom like children (v. 17).

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