Everyone gets discouraged. Knowing this, Jesus encouraged his followers to pray "at all times" and to not "lose heart" (Luke 18:1).
In the parable of the unjust judge, a widow repeatedly requested legal protection. The judge was unwilling to help her, but because she persisted in asking him the judge finally relented. He granted her request "lest she wear me out." She was rewarded for being persistent.
Jesus also offered a parable on the importance of humility in prayer. In this parable, a Pharisee prayed "to himself", congratulating his own actions and deriding a tax collector he viewed with contempt (Luke 18:9-12).
In the same parable a tax collector is also presented, aware of his sin and grieving over his shortcomings. This man simply prayed for mercy (Luke 18:13). This prayer was answered because of his humility.
Luke 18 Outline
Instructions on prayer
Parable of the unjust judge
Prayers of Pharisee and the tax collector
Jesus blesses the children
See Matthew 19:13-15 and Mark 10:13-16
The rich, young ruler
Jesus journeys toward Jerusalem
Jesus tells disciples about His death
Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus in Jericho
Comparing the Gospels
You can gain a richer understanding of Jesus’ life by comparing events in the gospels. Each gospel writer offers different perspectives on events in the life of Christ.
For example, the man known as the “rich, young ruler” gets his title from both Matthew and Luke. Matthew reveals that he was young (Matthew 19:20), and Luke reveals that he was a ruler (Luke 18:18). Mark offers additional insight, telling us that this man ran and knelt before Jesus (Mark 10:17).
When Jesus blessed the little children, Matthew indicated their guardians wanted Jesus to lay his hands on them and pray (Matthew 19:13). Mark tells us that Jesus “took them in His arms” (Mark 10:16). Luke omits these details (Luke 18:15-17).
Jesus Predicts His Death
Three times in Luke, Jesus plainly told his disciples about his death. He told the twelve after feeding the 5000 (Luke 9:22). He told them shortly after the transfiguration (Luke 9:44). And Jesus told them on his final journey to Jerusalem (Luke 18:31-34).
The disciples did not comprehend the last two predictions. Three parallel statements appear in Luke 9:45:
- "they did not understand this statement"
- "it was concealed from them"
- "they were afraid to ask Him about this statement."
This triple pattern is used again in Luke 18:35:
- "they understood none of these things"
- "this saying was hidden from them"
- "they did not comprehend the things that were said."
- In the Aramaic language, the prefix “Bar” meant “Son of.” Bartimaeus was the son of Timaeus. This prefix also appears in the names Bartholomew, Simon Bar-Jonah, and Barnabas.
- As with the unjust judge, the parable of the friend at midnight highlights the importance of persistent prayer (Luke 11:5-8).