New Defender's Study Bible Notes
18:1 always to pray. Paul also exhorted to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). The context makes it clear that such commands refer, not to interminable prayer, but to persistent prayer (Luke 18:7).
18:8 shall he find faith. Not faith in general, but “the faith.” That is, the true revealed Christian faith. This seems to be a rhetorical question, rather than one of uncertainty, for surely by this time the Lord’s omniscience concerning the future had been restored. At the same time, it both warns us concerning the serious scope of latter-day apostasy and also urges us to warn all men of the wrath to come while there is still time to repent.
18:10 publican. See note on Luke 5:29.
18:12 fast twice. The practice of outward piety—even such self-denying exercises as fasting and tithing—is not the means of earning credit with God. Note that even when the Pharisee prayed, he prayed “with himself” (Luke 18:11), using the first person pronoun five times in his brief prayer.
18:13 be merciful. Actually, the publican’s prayer asked that God “be propitiated to me, the sinner.” The word used referred to the mercy seat; he was confessing his sin and need of forgiveness, trusting in the blood sprinkled on the mercy-seat for atonement. This repentant faith was sufficient to secure his being “justified,” “declared righteous” before God (Luke 18:14). The Pharisee, on the other hand, prayed “with himself,” rather than God, merely congratulating himself on his own self-righteousness, and thus received no forgiveness. If nothing else, he was filled with the sin of pride—perhaps the worst sin of all, since it was the sin of the devil (I Timothy 3:6).
18:17 as a little child. One must be “born again” to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Therefore, when he is saved he enters his new life spiritually as a “newborn babe” (I Peter 2:2), not as a grown man. Unless, therefore, one relinquishes all pride of position or attainment when he comes to Christ to receive spiritual life, he cannot receive it.
18:19 none is good. The “rich young ruler” is called “young” only in Matthew 19:22, a “ruler” only here in Luke 18:18, but all three accounts say he had “great possessions” (Matthew 19:22; Mark 10:22; Luke 18:23). He was quite righteous by most legal standards (except for selfishness), but failed to recognize the true nature of Jesus as the Son of God, calling Him “good” only in the sense that he also considered himself “good.”
18:25 needle’s eye. Some commentators suggest that the “needle’s eye” may have been a small gate in the city wall through which a camel could pass only with difficulty. However, Jesus was referring back to the “ruler” who had just asked how “to inherit eternal life” (Luke 18:18), but was unwilling to give up his wealth to follow Jesus (Luke 18:22-23). Just as it would require a great miracle to get a camel through a needle-eye (possibly by removing all the empty spaces in the atomic structure of its body), so it would take a miracle to get a rich ruler saved. He would have to be willing to become poor (note Luke 6:20), and he was not. To be saved, one must come as one who is “dead” in sin, without any reservations or merit of his own. Nevertheless, with God nothing is impossible (Luke 18:27), and God can so miraculously change a man’s heart and life that he becomes a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17). See also notes on Matthew 19:22, 26, and Mark 10:25.
18:33 rise again. It is amazing how often Christ told His disciples plainly of His coming death and resurrection (Luke 9:22; 13:32; etc.), yet they failed to understand (Luke 24:4-8, 25-27, 44-48) until after His resurrection.
18:35 a certain blind man. Jesus healed one blind man as he entered Jericho, two (including Bartimaus) as He was leaving (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52).