Jesus is the Son of Man
Parable of the Persistent Widow
All right! Let’s go ahead and turn
in our Bibles to Luke chapter 18. As I say every week, if you are in need of a Bible, if you do not have a Bible, please see me after the service and we can help get a Bible into your hands.
You know the rules of real estate, famously stated as Location, Location, Location. And the Bible, reading it and understanding it has its own set of rules. Context! Context! Context!
And some of the context of this morning’s passage is quite important. Jesus has been teaching about eternity and the coming and present Kingdom of God. WE also remember the definition we introduced last week of what the Kingdom of God is, God’s people, in God’s place under God’s rule.
And due to those teachings, Jesus was asked first by the Pharisees, then by the disciples, When? Where? WE want to see the Kingdom!
Jesus’ response to them is don’t worry about the when. You know it will happen. Be prepared for it to happen. Prepare others for it to happen. Don’t worry if you don’t see it happen yet. It is coming.
And that brings us into this week’s passage. Luke chapter 18, verses 1 through 8. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version. I greatly encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. Luke 18:1-8.
The Holy Spirit inspired Luke to record the words of Jesus:
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 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?”
May God Bless the Reading of his Holy Word.
Now, what’s interesting about this passage, about this parable is that Luke tells us right up front what the point of the parable is. Often, we don’t get the point, or the explanation until afterwards, if at all. And we remember that parables have one main point. And the main point of this parable is to pray always and never lose heart.
Now, I ask that we remember some of the basic rules of biblical understanding, of biblical study. First, not in any order, the text can only mean one thing. As RC Sproul says, there may be 10,000 applications of that one meaning, but there can only be one meaning. Second, Context! Context! Context! And third, the text can never mean what the original author never meant.
So whatever else we do with this passage, it only has one meaning: Always Pray and Never Lose Heart.
And the context is that this parable comes right after telling the Pharisees and His disciples that the Kingdom is coming, not to worry about when and to keep looking and be prepared.
So, Jesus tells the parable. There was a judge. He was not God fearing so you couldn’t appeal to his sense of right and wrong. He was not man fearing, meaning that you could not appeal to his heart, his compassion, his love for people. He only cared about himself and his power and his position, his authority.
And along comes this widow, who represents in this parable, the poor, the needy and the oppressed. Those having injustice done to them. This widow is looking, seeking for justice, for wrongs to be righted.
And the judge wouldn’t help her. HE didn’t care one bit. But she kept coming, kept asking, kept persisting. This was her only weapon against injustice. She kept crying out to him, “Give me justice against my adversary!”
Now, for a while he did resist. She saw no advancement for her cause. She saw no justice. This judge didn’t care about her plight, he causes or about justice at all.
However, she was an annoyance. She was bothering him. And so, to get some peace for himself, to get her to stop bothering him, he finally gave in and gave the widow her justice.
Now, one thing to point out. Not all who give justice, not all who stand up to injustice, or make a decision that’s on the right side is on Gods side. Not all who agree with God’s people on moral or ethical grounds are actually on Gods side.
But in the end, this widow succeeded. She wore him down. She broke him. She got on his nerves enough for him to throw in the towel. Justice has prevailed.
Now, to be clear, God is not this judge. When he is telling us to be persistent and always pray, He is not saying that we will wear God down. He is not saying that we will break him down. He is not saying that we will get on his nerves enough until he finally relents and grants justice.
Instead, Verses 7 & 8 speak of God. He will hear his people.
He will grant justice.
He will dry every tear.
He will right every wrong.
He will Heal every pain.
He will answer those prayers, not all prayers, but those prayers that we hold deep in our hearts. The prayers for justice to be done. The prayers for His return. The prayers the Kingdom to manifest. The LORD, come quickly prayers.
James 5:16, The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
However, its Gods justice. Which means that it is God’s timing. Which means that it is from God’s perspective. Which means its all up to him.
And so, Be persistent. Always pray. Never lose heart. Stay Faithful.
You have been told it will happen. Trust that. Have faith in that. Believe that.
And work towards that. Jesus is not telling us that we are to sit back, kick our feet up and wait for Jesus to come back for Justice to be granted. WE are to be active in pursuing it like the widow was.
If you see injustice take place, if you see someone being oppressed or held down, if you see wrongs taking place, if you see abuse taking place, it is your responsibility, as an ambassador of Christ, as a child of God and as a decent human being to stand up and fight for those who aren’t able to fight for themselves. It is your responsibility you stand up for being people treated as the image bearers of Christ that they are. We are not to only stand up for injustice done to other Christians, but injustice anywhere and everywhere.
Whether or not we see success in this life and in this world does not change that ultimate and perfect justice will be granted and achieved in God’s timing.
IF you are a victim of injustice, abuse, wrongdoings, please do not hear this as a reason to give up. This parable shows that we are to continue to fight and pursue justice and that God will ultimately grant it and that it will be greater and eternal justice when he does.
And Jesus finishes up and he asks, when the Son of Man returns, will he find faith?
God is not the one who will be answering questions when we stand before him. We all think about different questions that God better answer when we get to heaven. Bu the truth is that he owes none of us an answer.
We will be answering the questions. And really there is only one question that will matter. Will he find faith? Will he find faith in you like in Noah? Will he find faith in you like in Lot? Will he find faith in you like this widow?
Or will he find you outside the faith? Outside the faith like Lots wife? Outside the faith like the judge here? Outside the faith like so many that the LORD will tells us he never knew?