A Passage To Ponder: Luke 18:1-8

When Abraham Lincoln was facing the crisis of a divided nation during the civil war, he was faced with many tough decisions. Often he was second guessed. Criticized. And even mocked.

It’s no wonder he admitted, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.”

During this current crisis, we may wonder where to go. Literally there’s no place to go. Everyone is told to stay home. At times, the advice of the experts seems contradictory and confusing. We ponder what the future holds. Will life ever be the same again?

In our Bible reading this week is a powerful parable that ought to encourage us. It’s the parable of the persistent widow. Luke writes that Jesus “spoke a parable to them that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.”

The Parable Analyzed

The character of the Judge. He’s an unjust man. One of ill repute. He was devoid of religious principles with no fear of God. And immune to public opinion with no regard for mankind.

The distress of the widow. She had an adversary who wronged her. Her repeated attempts for justice fell on deaf ears. She was fighting an uphill battle.

The difficulty she faced. . As a woman, she had no rights and little standing before the court. Being a widow, she had no husband to plead her cause. Plus she was poor. Three strikes. She was out. She’s a picture of vulnerability. She had no recourse in her cry, “Grant me justice.” Only to return the next day.

The reward of persistence. Apparently the woman’s repeated attempts for the judge to hear her case got on his nerves. “She wearing me out,” he sighs. So he relents. Hears her case. And executes justice.

Lessons Learned by Constants

We tend to quickly apply this parable by teaching the lesson of persistence in prayer. While that’s true, there’s more to it. It’s an interesting study in contrasts.

1. Praying is contrasted with discouragement. Don’t lose heart. Don’t despair. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Don’t grow weary. Don’t lose hope. “Pray without ceasing,” regardless of the adversary, obstacles, or circumstances.

2. The widow is contrasted with God’s elect. The widow does illustrate the power of persistence, but Jesus is not saying we are like her. Actually, he’s arguing from the lesser to the greater. If she received what she wanted from a selfish judge, how much more should we expect from a loving Father.

◆She was a stranger. We’re the children of God. (1 Pet 2:9-10)
◆She was only one and all alone,. We are many as a part of the Family of God.
◆She could only plead at a distance. We can draw near and come boldly (Heb. 4:15-16)
◆She pled her own case. But we have an advocate who intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26)
◆She had no promise of an answer. But we have the promise that God hears and answers our prayers (LK. 18:8).
◆She came to a court of law. We come to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16)
◆Her request provoked the judge.  Our supplications delights God.

3. The earthly judge is contrasted with the heavenly Father. Obviously God is not like the judge in the story.

◆The judge was unjust. But God is righteous.
◆The judged was inattentive to the woman. But God is attentive to our requests.
◆The judge had to be pressured. But God is naturally concerned.
◆The judge was wearied by the woman’s coming. But God is glad that we asked.
◆The judge listened to the woman for the wrong reason. But god listens because we loves us.

What a great God we serve who is holy and just, but also caring and compassionate. Our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears. Instead they are music to His ears.

4. Finally remember that man’s delays are not God’s denials. We’re told to keep praying. Yet, God may not immediately answer. Why? Maybe God is teaching us to exercise patience. Waiting may strengthen our resolve, deepen our desire, and grow our faith.

But we may wonder, “Will God execute and administer justice for His people?”

Yes. He. Will.

In this present distress, unprecedented in our generation, don’t give in to discouragement. Despair. Or desperation. Don’t throw in the towel. Don’t give in. Don’t give out. Don’t give up.

Don’t lose heart. Pray.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

7 Comments

Filed under Parables of Jesus, Passage To Ponder

7 responses to “A Passage To Ponder: Luke 18:1-8

  1. Ranger

    Excellent breakdown of this contrasting parable.

    Rock on “Preacherman”

  2. As a widow, I can relate. It’s not easy to plead one’s case if the Judge must think like an earthly judge and uphold laws that are on the books or clearly stated in your husband’s will. A wise advocate may find some loophole in the law or some precedent or moral imperative to warrant overturning the law. And often one’s advocate is only as persistent and committed to justice and truth as you are.

    I think Luke 7 can shed light on the Persistent Widow Story. The Woman in Luke 7 anointed Jesus the Good Teacher, and the whole household headed up by Simon the Pharisee. Pharisees were the Elders, the Fathers of the Law, who Judged sinners. The Woman in Luke 7 came in all by herself and brought her case up in front of Simon and the GOOD TEACHER. She uncovered her hair, and humbled herself. In front of strangers and people she knew, she showed her unlawful love for the Teacher begging Simon and her children and theirs to vindicate her illicit love for the GOOD TEACHER, saying he was Jesus the Son of the Father (Barabbas).

    To the people gathered to hear Jesus the Good Teacher, she was a sinner. There was no denying it. Even the Teacher said she was. Very likely he looked at her with love in his eyes as she touched him and kissed him. What more proof did people need. Yet they were not going to vindicate her. They were sure the Teacher was blameless and had not encouraged her in this illicit act of love and devotion. So the Woman persisted. She spilled the contents of her alabaster jar and he did not stop her. And then, when the Teacher told the parable of the Debtors to Simon, the penny dropped for Simon.

    Barabbas and all sinners were forgiven and anointed that day with the sweet fragrance of the Woman’s LOVE. Her persistence paid off. Back then, the Law was not fair to women, especially widows.

    Thankfully, Jesus the Son of the Father and the Teacher of all Israel, loved the Light and did not keep the Truth buried. Thankfully, Simon listened and stopped denying his role as the Gardener, the Husbandman and Father of a Divine Family.

  3. Philip North

    All people need the prayer, and we need the practice!

  4. Pingback: Passage To Ponder: Luke 18:1-8 | A disciple's study

  5. Pingback: Weekly Recap: April 5-11 | ThePreachersWord

  6. Pingback: Coronavirus Lessons To Learn | Bible Study Page

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.