Parables Concerning Prayer.
SUMMARY.--The Widow and the Unjust Judge.
The Pharisee and the Publican.
Little Children Brought to Christ.
The Young Ruler Seeking for Eternal Life.
Going Through the Needle's Eye.
The Lord's Sufferings Declared to the Twelve.
Blind Bartimæus Healed at Jericho.
1. They ought always to pray. Prayer is a privilege and a duty.
Not to faint. Persistence in prayer is requisite to making it
"God reserves for thee that which he is slow to give thee, that thou
mayest learn to entertain a supreme desire and longing for
2, 3. A judge. The judges of the East are irresponsible, often
unjust, usually delay justice for the sake of bribes.
A widow. The widow of the East, unless she has powerful
friends, is absolutely helpless. In India, she is regarded almost as an
outcast. It is only the Bible that proclaims God as the widow's
Avenge me of mine adversary. That is, redress the wrong I have
4, 5. And he would not for a while. Because selfishly
This widow troubleth me. What neither the fear of God nor the
regard for human rights could do, her persistence accomplished, because
her "continual coming wearied him."
6-8. The Lord said. This is the application of the parable.
Shall not God avenge his elect? If an unjust, hard-hearted
judge can be moved by the persistent prayers of a widow, will not the
tender, loving, good Father hear the cries of his children?
Though he bear long. Rather, as in the Revision, "He is
long-suffering over them." He is long-suffering for them for their own
good, and long-suffering towards their enemies in order that they may
have opportunity to repent.
Shall he find faith on the earth? Prayer is the utterance of
faith. Prayerlessness is proof of unbelief. The Lord, pained by the
unbelief of even his disciples, shows in these words what a burden to
him is our unbelief (see
9. He spake this parable, etc. The persons described in this
verse are so much like the Pharisees that we can hardly believe that
they were not. Rabbi Simeon, one of them, said, that if there were only
thirty religious men in the world like Abraham, he and his son would be
two of them; if only two, he and his son would be those; and if only
one, that would be himself.
10. A Pharisee . . . a publican. The one the type of orthodoxy;
the other regarded by orthodox Jews a religious outcast. See notes on
11, 12. The Pharisees stood. Stood forth where he could be seen.
Prayed thus with himself.
Self was the center of his thoughts.
Not as the rest of men. Pride and contempt of others are
I fast twice a week. He enumerates his claims on God.
He is very scrupulous about fasting and paying tithes
13. But the publican, standing afar off. Remote from other
worshipers, like a pariah.
Would not so much as lift up his eyes. His spirit was so humble
and contrite. The Pharisees probably had both hands and eyes lifted up.
Smote his breast. An act denoting sorrow.
Be merciful to me a sinner. A humble confession.
14. This man went . . . justified. With his sins forgiven. His
prayer was answered; not the proud boasts of the Pharisee. "This
parable teaches us the spirit that should pervade our prayers. The
first parable encourages us to pray, and faint not. The second reminds
us how we ought to pray. Both should be often pondered by every true
15-17. They brought unto him babes, that he should touch them.
See notes on
It was the customs of the Jews to bring their babes to the synagogue
for the rabbi to lay his hands upon and bless. So says the Talmud.
18-30. And a certain ruler asked him. For notes on the case of
the Rich Young Ruler, see
The ruler was probably ruler of a synagogue. See
31-34. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem. See notes on
All the things that are written by the prophets shall be
accomplished.. For some things written by the prophets, see
22:7, 8; 49:15; Isa. 53:1-9; Dan. 9:26.
35-43. As he drew nigh to Jericho. This was on his last journey
to Jerusalem, a little more than
a week before the crucifixion.
Matthew and Mark
also give accounts of the healing of the blind beggar. See notes on
says there were two blind beggars. "If there were two there certainly
Luke and Mark
only name the one who was most active and earnest.
says his name was Bartimæus. For a description of Jericho see