Christmas to Calvary — December 18

The Parable of the Unjust Judge

And he told them a parable to show that they must always pray and not be discouraged, saying, “There was a certain judge in a certain town who did not fear God and did not respect people. And there was a widow in that town, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary!’ And he was not willing for a time, but after these things he said to himself, ‘Even if I do not fear God or respect people, yet because this widow is causing trouble for me, I will grant her justice, so that she does not wear me down in the end by her coming back!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge is saying! And will not God surely see to it that justice is done to his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night, and will he delay toward them? I tell you that he will see to it that justice is done for them soon! Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, then will he find faith on earth?”

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

And he also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and looked down on everyone else: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed these things with reference to himself: ‘God, I give thanks to you that I am not like other people—swindlers, unrighteous people, adulterers, or even like this tax collector! I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far away, did not want even to raise his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than that one! For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Little Children Brought to Jesus

Now they were bringing even their babies to him so that he could touch them. But when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to himself, saying, “Allow the children to come to me, and do not forbid them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a young child will never enter into it.”

A Rich Young Man

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, “Good Teacher, by doing what will I inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these I have observed from my youth.” And when he heard this, Jesus said to him, “You still lack one thing: Sell all that you have, and distribute the proceeds to the poor—and you will have treasure in heaven—and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things he became very sad, because he was extremely wealthy.

And Jesus took notice of him and said, “How difficult it is for those who possess wealth to enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” So those who heard this said, “And who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

And Peter said, “Behold, we have left all that is ours and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly I say to you that there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children on account of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection a Third Time

And taking aside the twelve, he said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written by the prophets with reference to the Son of Man will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and mistreated and spit on, and after flogging him they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” And they understood none of these things, and this saying was concealed from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.

A Blind Man Healed at Jericho

Now it happened that as he drew near to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting on the side of the road begging. And when he heard a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. And they told him, “Jesus the Nazarene is passing by.” And he called out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him, that he should be silent, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought to him. And when he approached, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, that I may regain my sight. And Jesus said to him, “Regain your sight! Your faith has saved you.” And immediately he regained his sight and began to follow him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Questions for Reflection:

  • Justice, mercy, the Kingdom, eternal life, and sight – out of these, which do you think is the most precious gift in this chapter?

  • What do we learn in this chapter about Jesus’ attitude toward those who are marginalized? What do we learn about the tendency of disciples and crowds to keep marginalized people away from Jesus? How would Jesus have us act in these situations?

  • Consider the instances of prayer in this chapter. What do we learn about Jesus’ response to prayer? What ideas from the chapter encourage you in your prayer life?

  • Do you think riches and material possessions are a significant hindrance to eternal life for some people? If so, why do you think some people choose their possessions rather than Christ? What is it about riches or about people that gives money/possessions this power?


  1. Luca says:

    Saved as a favorite, I love your blog!


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