Parables on Prayer
1Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart, 2saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and had no respect for man. 3There was a [desperate] widow in that city and she kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice and legal protection from my adversary.’ 4For a time he would not; but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will give her justice and legal protection; otherwise by continually coming she [will be an intolerable annoyance and she] will wear me out.’ ” 6Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says! 7And will not [our just] God defend and avenge His elect [His chosen ones] who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [in providing justice] on their behalf? 8I tell you that He will defend and avenge them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?”
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [posing outwardly as upright and in right standing with God], and who viewed others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood [ostentatiously] and began praying to himself [in a self-righteous way, saying]: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—swindlers, unjust (dishonest), adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13But the tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but was striking his chest [in humility and repentance], saying, ‘God, be merciful and gracious to me, the [especially wicked] sinner [that I am]!’ 14I tell you, this man went to his home justified [forgiven of the guilt of sin and placed in right standing with God] rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself [forsaking self-righteous pride] will be exalted.”
15Now they were also bringing their babies to Him, so that He would touch and bless them, and when the disciples noticed it, they began reprimanding them. 16But Jesus called them to Himself, saying [to the apostles], “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God [with faith and humility] like a child will not enter it at all.”
The Rich Young Ruler
18A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Honor your father and your mother.’ ” 21He replied, “I have kept all these things from my youth.” 22When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” 23But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24Jesus looked at him and said, “How difficult it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth or status] to enter the kingdom of God.” 26And those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”
28Peter said, “Look, we have left all [things—homes, families, businesses] and followed You.” 29And He said to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30who will not receive many times as much in this present age and in the age to come, eternal life.”
31Then taking the twelve [disciples] aside, He said to them, “Listen carefully: we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that have been written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled and completed. 32He will be betrayed and handed over to the Gentiles (Roman authorities), and will be mocked and ridiculed and insulted and abused and spit on, 33and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and on the third day He will rise [from the dead].” 34But the disciples understood none of these things [about the approaching death and resurrection of Jesus]. This statement was hidden from them, and they did not grasp the [meaning of the] things that were said [by Jesus].
Bartimaeus Receives Sight
35As He was approaching Jericho [on His way to Jerusalem], it happened that a blind man was sitting beside the road begging. 36Now when he heard a crowd going by, he began to ask what this was [about]. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38So he shouted out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” 39Those who were leading the way were sternly telling him to keep quiet; but he screamed all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40Then Jesus stopped and ordered that the blind man be led to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me regain my sight!” 42Jesus said to him, “Regain your sight; your [personal trust and confident] faith [in Me] has made you well.” 43Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus, glorifying and praising and honoring God. And all the people, when they saw it, praised God.