When Jesus wanted to make a point about prayer, He used a woman as the heroine of a parable. The woman in the story (found in Luke 18) was a widow who was being taken advantage of. With no other recourse, the widow appealed to the local judge.
Middle Eastern culture has long been characterized as an honor culture, “in which social behavior is guided by a community sense of honor and shame more than by means of an individual sense of loyalty to an abstract principle of right and wrong (Bailey, 2008).” What people think of you drives behavior in this culture.
Unfortunately for the widow, the judge in her district was so despicable that he, “neither feared God, nor cared what people thought (vs. 2).” He did whatever was good for him with no regard for others. He didn’t care about this widow and refused to do his job and see that justice was served.
Jesus’ audience must have gasped! It was unthinkable! This was not the kind of man that you want imparting justice in your community!
Given no other choice, our widow began nagging the judge to take up her case and give her justice! Finally, Jesus concluded, she exhausted the judge so thoroughly that, though he didn’t care about her at all, he made sure that justice was served on her behalf just to get rid of her!
God is not like the judge in this parable. We are God’s beloved children. When we are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) it is not because we have to nag God in order to get what we need. We pray continually because that is what keeps us in communication with our Heavenly Father. This brings Him great pleasure!
At the end of the parable Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Why did He link prayer with people being ready for His return? Because prayer helps us be ready! Prayer gives us an eternal perspective, suppresses our selfishness and guides us to God’s will. When Christ returns, the people who are ready will be people of prayer
(For those who have missed any of the previous lessons, you can go to https://comethirstyministry.com/blog/ and view all previous postings.)
Day 1: Luke 8:49-9:11 (Jarius’s Daughter)
Day 2: Luke 10:38-42 (Mary and Martha)
Day 3: Luke 13:10-17 (Crippled Woman)
Day 4: Luke 15:1-32 (Parable of the Lost Coin)
Day 5: Luke 18:1-8 (The Woman and the Judge)