Keeping At It
The text for this week is Luke 18:1-8. Jesus opens this parable with a clear statement of its purpose; it is about the need to “pray always and not to lose heart” (Verse 1). Jesus then launches into the story of a judge who was not afraid of God, nor had respect for other people. This was a judge that would do as he wished, when he wished.
This judge was faced with a widow that kept after him asking for justice. The judge refused at first but in the face of the unrelenting persistence of the widow he granted her the request for justice.
Persistence is a key here, as it often is in Scripture. Luke 11: 5-10, Hebrews 12: 1-2, Philippians 3:14, are but a few examples of this. An excellent real-life example is Mother Teresa. After her death her journals were discovered, and her entries showed a woman beset by doubt for most of her life. How could she not be working in some of the worst slums on the planet. What was notable was that she persevered in the face of her doubt, continually trusting God. This parable is but one testament to our need to be persistent in our faith and to trust God.
And Justice for All
The other thing about this parable is the notions of justice, both ours and God’s. It is clear that the human judge mentioned here is not particularly just. He neither fears God, nor respects others. True, the widow is persistent enough that he offers her some measure of earthly justice. This is then immediately compared to God’s justice. The comparison is made clear. If a fallen earthly, human judge, finally grants some justice, how much more justice and how much more quickly will God offer it to the faithful who “cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?” (Verse 7). The lesson is clear, be persistent in prayer to God, which is another way of saying, have faith and simply believe, and God will grant you what you need, which may be different from what you desire. He will even, and perhaps especially, grant this to the most marginalized in society. This is evidenced by the fact that it is a widow that is discussed. Widows were probably the most downtrodden class of people in the ancient world. So, God’s justice, and as elsewhere revealed, His mercy, is granted to all who believe.
Jesus ends this parable with a somewhat ominous question in Verse 8, “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”. That is the question. We should not worry so much about how this applies to others, as removing the log from our own eye comes first. We should strive to examine ourselves and ponder whether we truly believe. Remember, we must have a relationship with God before we can prayerfully ask Him for anything. This relationship is created and maintained by faith, by simply believing. This faith is God’s gift. Then (Here described as justice), comes our obedient response.
Praise Be to God