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The Widow And The Judge


    PART VI: THE PARABLES ON PRAYER
 
            CHAPTER 25 THE WIDOW AND THE JUDGE
 
 

                               Introduction

            This  parable has been called The Unjust Judge  (Trench);
         The Unrighteous Judge (Morgan); The Parable of the Persistent
         Widow (New International Version); The Parable of  the  Widow
         and  the  Judge  (Today's  English Version); The story of the
         godless judge (Williams) and  God  Hears  (Beck).    All  the
         titles  suggest  a  different  facet  of the truth that Jesus
         conveyed in this parable.   The Parable of the Widow and  the
         Judge is found only in Luke 18:1-8.
 
 

The Story
                         Then  Jesus  told  his  disciples  a
                   parable  to  show  them  that they should
                   always pray and not give up.    He  said:
                   "In  a certain town there was a judge who
                   neither feared God nor cared  about  men.
                   And  there  was  a widow in that town who
                   kept coming to him with the  plea, `Grant
                   me justice against my adversary.'

                     "For  some  time  he  refused.    But
                   finally  he said to himself, `Even though
                   I don't fear God or care about  men,  yet
                   because  this widow keeps bothering me, I
                   will see that she gets justice,  so  that
                   she won't eventually wear me out with her
                   coming!'"

                    And  the  Lord said, "Listen to what
                   the unjust judge says.  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?  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?"
                   (Luke 18:1-8, New International Version).
 

              This judge was not the type of judge we have today.   He
         was  not  a  Jewish  judge,  but  rather  a  paid  magistrate
         appointed by Herod or the Romans.  They  were  notorious  and
         took bribes. (Barclay, DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES, LUKE, p. ?).
         The Greek text reveals that he "had neither reverence for God
         nor  respect  for man." (Turnbull, Gen. ed., PROCLAIMING  THE
         NEW TESTAMENT, THE GOSPEL OF LUKE, by Ralph Earle, p. 80).

            Widows did not have the care and protection then as they
         have today in America.  Trench informs us that

              Many  writers have noticed the exceeding desolation
              of the state of widowhood  in  the  East,  and  the
              consequent exposure to all manner of oppression; of
              this, the numerous warnings  in  Scripture  against
              such  oppression,  are  sufficient  evidence (Exod.
              xxii. 22; Deut. xxiv. 17; Mal.  iii.  5,  and  many
              more).  (Trench, NOTES ON THE PARABLES OF OUR LORD,
              pp. 177-178.

         With that background in mind, let us look at the  story  that
         Jesus tells.

             The widow's case  would  seem  hopeless.    She  had  no
         husband for physical, legal and psychological protection. The
         judge that was her legal recourse, did not reverence God  and
         he  had no respect for human beings.

            Yet the widow came to the corrupt judge  and  asked  him
         for justice concerning the person who was taking advantage of
         her weak position.  The  judge  tried  to  brush  her  aside.
         However, she would not take "No" for an answer.

           The judge reasoned within himself,  "I don't believe  in
         God  and I don't care anything about this woman.  However, if
         I don't insure that she receives justice,  she  is  going  to
         keep  coming and continue this verbal pummeling."  The phrase
         "wear me out" is a weak rendering of the original Greek which
         is a metaphor taken from boxing, which means to be beaten  on
         the face until the eyes become black.  (Turnbull,  Gen.  ed.,
         PROCLAIMING   THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE GOSPEL OF LUKE,
         by Ralph  Earle,  p.  81).  (Clarke,  COMMENTARY  ON  THE  HOLY
         BIBLE,  Abridged by Ralph Earle, p. 883).
 


 
                   The Interpretation
                       Jesus himself interprets his parable.  Trench gives  the
                logic of Jesus:

              If a bad man will yield to the mere  force  of  the
              importunity  [shameless  persistence  or "nagging"]
              which he hates, how  much  more  certainly  will  a
              righteous  God  be  prevailed  on  by  the faithful
              prayer which He loves.     (Trench,  NOTES  ON  THE
              PARABLES OF OUR LORD, p. 177).
 

                                 Central Truth
 
                GOD WANTS US TO ASK HIM FOR OUR NEEDS
                     THEN HE WANTS US TO PERSIST IN FAITH
                     UNTIL HE ANSWERS PRAYER.
 
 
                                  Conclusion

            Jesus taught us that we "should always  pray  and  never
         give  up."    (Luke  18:1,  paraphrased).    Prayer  is  both
         listening and talking to God.  Even when we are  doing  other
         tasks,  we  can  have  our  "spiritual  modems"  turned on to
         receive messages from our Heavenly Father.

           After  we  have  prayed  in  line with God's Word for our
         needs, we must not give up if  our  prayer  is  not  answered
         immediately.    We must persist in faith until we receive the
         answer.  END