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Luke 18

The Gospel of Luke
/ Part
October 18, 2023
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Gospel of Luke

Chapter 18

Scripture of the Week:

Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:1-4


The stories Luke shares with us in chapter 18 continue to paint a picture of how Jesus was counter-culture. He shares a parable of how a widow would get justice and focus from a prominent judge in a position of power. He tells another parable of a tax collector receiving justification before God rather than a religious leader. He refers to the law and the commandments not being enough. All of these stories and statements went against the conventional wisdom and teachings of the Jewish practices of the time. Even in foretelling his death for a third time, Jesus was trying to get his disciples to understand that he sought to establish an eternal kingdom, rather than the military/political one that the Jewish people believed he would bring.

The main focus of our time together is going to point to the other major theme of chapter 18; Persistence. The Jewish people were taught to pray 3 times a day, so as to not over burden God. Jesus continues his counter-culture teachings in Luke 18:1 when he gives his disciples a story about praying continually. Jesus wants his followers to live a life of faith. We want this to be easy, but so often it is not. Living by faith means not giving up.


In this first parable, Jesus tells of an evil judge. He was not making a comparison to our loving Heavenly Father at all. What Jesus was showing in this parable, was that even an evil judge will notice (and be moved) by persistence. How much more would a perfect and loving God see persistence in our prayers? The widow in this parable was out of options. Her only chance at redemption was to appeal to the judge. In the same way, Jesus encourages faith and persistence. This was the heart in his statement in verse 8, “I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Jesus was not saying that faith will not be found but was posing a question. Will my people be ready and waiting? Will they seek me above all else? Like this widow in the parable, will they be drawn to their knees in prayer knowing I am their only option?

In prior talks about prayer, Pastor Micah has said that on a macro level, God answers prayers in one of 3 ways: Yes, No, or Not Yet. Each of these answers to our persistent prayers are intentional. God desires us to draw closer to Him. Even though God doesn’t always answer us

immediately, Jesus tells us to be persistent in our prayers. We often misinterpret God’s silence as answers to our prayers. We move on or move forward without giving any more thought to our supplications to God. What if He is trying to build our faith in the silence?

Now, an important note to make is what Luke shares next. Luke intentionally follows up the parable of persistent faith with a teaching on humility. Jesus (again, teaching in story form), tells a story of two very different prayers. One of a religious leader, a Pharisee, and the other of a lowly outcast of society, a tax collector. Note here the motivations and heart posture of these two men.

The Pharisee comes to God with a self-righteous attitude, boasting of his accomplishments and expressing false gratitude for his lofty place in society. In talking of the sins of others, he fails to acknowledge his own, rendering all his religious accomplishments meaningless. The tax collector presents a humble and contrite heart. Verse 13 says that he “beat his chest” which in Jewish culture was a sign of sorrow. This man felt remorse for who he was and what he had done. He acknowledges his sinful nature and begs God for mercy. The posture of his heart and how he presented himself to God is why he was justified and the Pharisee was not.

The attitude of our prayers is vital. Just like the Pharisee, we can be caught up in the trap of speaking self congratulatory speeches and speaking empty words that don’t touch Heaven. When expressing persistence in our prayer lives, we need to check our heart posture, just like the tax collector. We need to come humbly before God, acknowledge our sins and shortcomings, and plead with the awesome creator to hear our cries for mercy.


What comes to your mind when you hear the word 'persistence'? Do you think of your favorite sports team fighting against a deficit to win the big game? Do you think of a military squad battling tremendous difficulties and opposition to achieve an objective? Do you think of a friend, relative, or acquaintance that remains joyful despite facing impossible circumstances? Persistence is defined as firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Whatever picture comes to mind, the constant in being a persistent person is opposition. Luke chapter 18 gives us a great example of a persistent widow and we can all learn from her.

Corrie Ten Boom, who was christian author and famous for aiding the Jewish people during the Holocaust, has a quote on prayer. She writes, “Is prayer your spare tire, or your steering wheel?” Jesus calls us to be persistent in our prayers. So ask yourself, are you a persistent person? We can follow the examples of the widow and the tax collector and be persistent in our prayers to God. We can come humbly, acknowledging our shortcomings, our sin, and our inability to fix our circumstances on our own. We too can fall on our faces in prayer, knowing that Jesus is our only option.

Application Questions

  1. What do you struggle to pray for with persistence?
  2. Why is it important to approach God with the right heart posture in prayer?
  3. How are faith, persistence in prayer, and humility connected?
  4. What else stood out to you about Luke 18? Share with your group.

Luke 18