Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 18:1
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,” – Luke 18:1
Today we will look at the Parable of the Persistent Widow and unjust judge. Here is this parable as found in Luke’s gospel.
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God, and did not respect man. And there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, Give me legal protection from my opponent. And for a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, lest by continually coming she wear me out. And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8.
The story begins with the mention of a judge. He was not connected with either a synagogue or the temple but rather with a municipality. He was a part of the secular judicial system, which, in Israel in Jesus’ time, seems to have coexisted with the religious one. However, what interested the narrator is not what belonged to the world, but what belonged to the world of ethics.
Now a woman was constantly being attacked in a legal sense. And in this town, an unjust judge presided over everyone, who feared no one, not even God. In that time in the Jewish community, a judge was expected to be impartial, to judge righteously, and to recognize that judgment ultimately belongs to God. “Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.” Deuteronomy 1:16-17. Therefore, because of these verses, the judge was actually not competent to be the judge.
Now this widow comes many times before this judge. And again, in that time because of the law, a widow deserves special protection under the justice system. “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:17-18. Eventually, the judge grows weary of her coming to him, he decided to give her protection. “And for a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, lest by continually coming she wear me out.” Luke 18:4-5.
Now, we do not always get immediate results when we pray. Our definition of swift justice is not the same as the Lord’s definition. The parable of the persistent widow demonstrates that effective prayer requires tenacity and faithfulness. A true disciple must learn that prayer never gives up and is based on absolute trust and faith in God. We can fully count on the Lord to answer how He deems best, and when He chooses. God expects us to keep on asking, seeking, knocking, and praying until the answers come.
Jesus presents a final question regarding the matter at the end of the parable of the persistent widow and unjust judge. He asks, “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8. Faithful and persistent prayer is the permanent calling of every true disciple of Christ who is dedicated to living for the Kingdom of God. Like the persistent widow, we are needy, dependent sinners who trust in our gracious, loving, and merciful God alone to supply what we need.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.