Luke 18

Luke 18:1 - The NIV here says "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.", the ESV says "And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." Give up or loose heart? At first glance, the difference seems subtle, but I find it profound. The NIV's "never give up" implies effort, striving, work toward a goal while the ESV's "not loose heart" implies hope, faith and confidence. I find the ESV's translation closer to the message of Christ. He did not come to give us a goal to shoot for, rather he came to accomplish that goal and in that give us a reason to hope.

Too often I've been taught to "never give up" instead of to "not loose heart."

This gives new light to the parable as well, and better gels with Jesus lament about finding faith when he returns. If even an unjust judge can be prompted to act, have faith for God cares about you and he will not leave your prayers unanswered.

Luke 18:24 - Living in the USA with my 4 bedroom house, my high-speed Internet, my patio and my toy car, this verse scares the willies out of me. I wonder, how many in the USA, confident of their standing with God, are actually far, far from Him? I wonder sometimes if we can actually see through our wealth and grasp how far we are from where he would have us be. This has to be one of the scariest verses in all the Bible for folks in the first world.

Luke 18:27 - In light of verse 24, this verse gives us hope. God is able. Able to teach us, to enlighten us and to help us see through the blindness that our wealth gives us. We cannot see
how far we are away, but he is able to bring us back.

Luke 18:31-34 - Knowing what happened to Jesus, it;s easy to see how plainly he told the twelve what was to happen (for the third time), yet they didn't understand. How could they not? It's easy, however, to have an idea in your head that is so entrenched, it blocks out even the most plain description of something else. Jesus was to be their savior from the Romans, him being beaten and killed didn't fit with that, so Jesus must be speaking metaphorically. We'll understand later, I bet is what they thought.

I call this tendency to believe what we already believe Intellectual Inertia, and it's all over the gospels. People think they know what Jesus is about, or what he should be about, and then act on that misinformation. Sometimes, they just get redirected, sometimes they are rebuked (like Peter). In this chapter alone, the disciples assume that Jesus doesn't want to be bothered by the children (Luke 18:15-17), the rich ruler thought he knew where he stood (Luke 18:18-23) and those at the front of the crowd assume Jesus doesn't have time for a blind beggar (Luke 18:39)

Today, it leads folks who claim the name of Jesus to do a lot of stupid stuff in His name, because they assume they know what he wants them to do and can't see his plain teachings to the contrary all over the Bible.

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