Judges, Justice, & Prayer (2022) (Luke 18)
Luke 18:1-8 This is the second time Jesus has taught on persistent prayer. So, it must be vital that we understand this.
- This parable uses a rabbinic style of lesser to greater argument.
- In both passages on bold persistent prayer Jesus has set the stage with times of trouble.
Verse 1 There is a word present here in the Greek that could translate as “it is necessary.”
- You could translate this verse, “But he said to them in a parable, it is necessary to always pray and not become discouraged.
- There is a connection between this verse and the last section in Luke 17. Where Jesus talked about the end times and the swiftness which those times will come.
- The point Jesus is making here is that during the persecution and hard times that are to come the disciple is to not grow weary in their prayer efforts.
Verse 2 This Judge could have been a Jewish judge since the Romans allowed the Jews to manage their own affairs.
- Judges in Israel were supposed to be God’s representatives, administering justice to those that needed it the most. They were to look out for the widows and orphans.
- In the OT book 2 Chron 19:6-7 King Jehoshaphat lays out the requirements for judges.
- This judge in Luke appears to be the opposite of those requirements.
Verse 3 The NLT adds the word “repeatedly.” So, she has come to this judge more than once.
- A widow should have been the person a judge would have been most obligated to help
Verse 4 It appears she has been coming before this judge for many days or weeks.
- Real persistence on the part of the widow. This is the kind of Prayer Jesus is talking about.
- There is no specific reason given for the judges’ refusal and other than he is only looking out for himself.
Verse 5 The NIV here uses “attack me,” which is not great for the Greek.
- The word in Greek Can mean “harass,” but not the best way to translate this.
- Other translations use “wear me out’
- The Greek word is really “exhaust me”
- But this expression “exhaust me” can be idiomatic and could mean “to give someone a black eye.”
- Used figuratively, it means to wear down emotionally or to beat down someone’s reputation.”
- You could say, “My reputation has been given a black eye.”
- But since this judge could care less about loss of his reputation, he is probably more concerned with being worn down emotionally.
- This woman was truly persistent and bold.
- That is the kind of prayer Jesus is talking about.
- Now we must remember that the judge does not represent God,
- Just like the passage we looked at last week, the grumpy neighbor did not represent God.
- In both cases Jesus is contrasting these people to God.
- This is a lesser to greater style of rabbinic argument.
Verse 6 Remember this is a lesser to greater style of argument.
- If this uncaring jerk of a judge responds to repeated pleas from someone he does not know or care about, how much more will a righteous and loving Father respond to his children.
Verse 7 First God will bring about justice in the face of trouble; he will judge those who persecute the righteous.
- This statement reemphasizes God’s desire for justice a theme we see throughout the OT and the NT.
- This statement also shows where we can lean into prayer that God will answer.
- Matters of justice. God is a God of justice and He will always answer pleas for justice.
- Second: with the statement “will he keep putting them off” Jesus also tells us that we will not have to wait forever.
Verse 8 This is also tied in part back to the verse in the last section in Luke 17 and the swiftness of the end times.
- When God acts it will be quick and decisive. This does not mean that God will act immediately.
- While justice may not happen immediately, once God starts to work justice, it will finish quickly.
- Then Jesus asks if he will find faith when he returns.
- This also tied back to the verses from the last section here in Luke 17 on the end times.
- When Christ returns people will be doing the normal things of life?
- This whole passage is a call to pray at every opportunity and seek the kingdom and justice of God.
- This passage in Luke 18 is about prayer. When he returns will he find people still praying?
- Jesus is saying that the condition of our praying indicates something about our faith level.