THE PERSISTENT WIDOW & THE UNJUST JUDGE
Luke 18:1-8 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, there was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?
In the first verse of the lesson text, we find the essential point Jesus wants us to learn and practice in our Christian lives - pray and faint not! He illustrates this with the subject parable. It is God's desire that His children stay in close, continual communication with Him. This is done through prayer. Prior to the Christian Dispensation, access to God in prayer was attained through the Patriarchal leader of the family, or, under Jewish law, through the Levitical order of priests. Under the New Covenant, each Christian can communicate directly with God through His Son Christ Jesus. This is possible because those in the body of Christ are a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9). For through Him (Christ) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph. 2:18). Not only does God want, and expect, us to pray to Him, but also we are not to faint, in doing so. We must consistently and persistently pray without becoming tired and weary. Prayer is to be looked upon as a wonderful privilege, as a spiritual blessing,instead of a laborious task.
Consider the teaching found in this parable. Here we find a judge, in a certain city, before which a widow appeared, seeking justice from a wrong that she had suffered. The judge is described as one that feared not God, neither regarded man. His judgments had little regard for godly, righteous justice or for a person's civil rights. During this era, widows had few rights and were totally dependant on relatives or charitable alms for survival - they were practically social outcasts. It is evident that the judge ignored the widow's first plea and for a while after, continued to disregard her call for justice. However the widow continued, unrelentingly, to bring her petition before the judge - she refused to give up. Realizing that he would never be able to rid himself of this troublesome widow, he finally agreed to hear her case and ended up avenging her of her adversary. Administering godly justice didn't motivate the judge because it is said that he feared not God. There was no compassion in his heart for the welfare of the widow because he had no regard for mankind. This was a cold-hearted, unemotional judge that could not be moved by any outside influence. And yet the widow moved him to hear her plea. How was she able to do what no one else could do? Because she knew her adversary had wronged her; because she believed with all of her heart that her cause was just; and, in order to prove her sincerity and determination for justice, she knew not to faint.
To restate the lesson Christ gave us at the beginning of this text, and emphasized with this parable,all children of God ought always to pray, and not to faint. After stating the parable, Jesus tells us to hear what the unjust judge saith. Because of her persistence, he said, I will avenge her. With this rhetorical question, Jesus compares the judge to God:And shall not God avenge His own elect? Unlike the unjust judge, God is merciful, righteous, and just. He cares for mankind. He loves His children. If an unrighteous judge can be moved by persistent pleading, don't you think that our righteous God will be moved even more by the continual, determined prayers of His Christian children? Yes! Do you thank God once a year for your blessings, or many times each day? Do you pray only once that a loved one will be healed of a disease, or do you pray continually until there is recovery? Do you seek God's guidance only when difficult decisions need to be made; His comfort only in times of sorrow; His aid only in times of need? Your faithful, persistence in prayer to God demonstrates your sincere reliance on Him. Cry (pray) day and night unto Him (Vs.7)! The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). Pray, and faint not! We conclude this lesson with these assuring words of Jesus to all sincere Christians seeking God through continual prayer - I tell you that He (God) will avenge them speedily (Vs. 8).