Tag: Luke

The Unjust Judge & the Widow (Luke 18:1-8)

The Text

Luke 18:1-8 (NKJV) “Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Saying: ‘There was a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.’ Now there was a widow in that city: and she came to him, saying. ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he (Judge) would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?’ I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?”  

1. The Setting

In Luke 18:1-30 we find the last events in the public ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by Luke prior to the final journey to Jerusalem – Luke 18:31 “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.” In Luke 18, there are two Parables on Prayer (Luke 18:1-8; Luke 18:9-14): 

  • Perseverance in Prayer (Luke 18:1-8)
  • Right Attitude in Prayer (Luke 18:9-14)

2. The Moral of the Parable

The Moral of the Parable is found in Luke 18:7-8 “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?”

  • This Parable teaches that God will avenge His people in answer to their prayer, though He is longsuffering in dealing with mankind.
  • Our prayer should be consistent and persistent (1Thessalonians 3:10) and that we should not lose-heart (faint-hearted – Luke 18;1) because sometimes God does not immediately answer our prayers – Luke 18:1(NKJV) “Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart (faint).” The word “faint” describes a person who loses heart and gets so discouraged that the person wants to quit

3. The Background

This Parable is set in its Eastern-Setting – the “Courtroom” is not in a permanent building but a tent that is moved from place to place as the Judge covers his circuit. The Judge not the Law sets the agenda; he represents the Authority; he is surrounded by his Assistants. Anybody could watch the court-proceeding from the outside, but only those who are accepted and approved could have their cases tried. This usually mean bribing one of the Judge’s Assistants so that the case could be called to the Judge’s attention.

4. The Widow’s Dilemma

The widow has three obstacles to overcome: First, woman in the Eastern-Setting at the time of Christ has little standing in society and also before the Court and the Law and thus a woman does not go to Court. Second, the woman is a widow, and thus, she has no husband to represent her or stand with her in Court. Widows are a traditionally vulnerable group in Palestine society. Girls are regularly married at the age of thirteen or fourteen, and so a widow could be quite young. For a wife to lose her husband is to lose her position and status in society, and her natural protector.  Finally, she is a poor widow, and she could not pay a bribe, even when she wants to, and as such she does not get the protection of the Court and the Law.

5. The Widow’s Petition

Widows are often easy game for the ruthless Exploiter – “devouring widows’ houses” (Mark 12:40b). The widow shouts out her petition, outside the tent (Court), seeking the unjust Judge to avenge her of her adversary – Luke 18:3 (NKJV) “Now there was a widow in that city: and she came to him, saying. ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’”  

  • Legal Transaction – Prayer is more than meeting physical needs; it is “a legal transaction,” recognized in the Court of Heaven, as the word “adversary” (Gk: “antidikos”) means “an opponent in a lawsuit.” The widow is seeking vindication – it is a legal case needing justice, vindication and avenging of her adversary, her enemy. Prayer initiates legal action in Heaven’s Court which affects the outcome of matters in the earthly realm. In essence, prayer has a legal perspective. Prayer is not just a religious act; it is a binding legal transaction.
  • Divine Decree – Prayer is also “seeking vindication” – the term “vindication” (Gk: “ekdikeson”) is not a request for punishment of her adversary, but for a decree that would provide protection from his (adversary) injustices.  Thus, prayer is about the manifestation of God’s decree in the lives of His children, setting something in order, or making something right.    
  • PersistentLuke 18:5 (NKJV) “Yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” The word “came” (Luke 18:3 – Gk: “ercheto”) is in the imperfect tense, which implies that she keeps coming – the widow walks around outside the tent (Court) and shout out her petition. The widow persistently and consistently keeps coming to the unjust judge appealing for justice, for him to take up her cause.

    The widow is imploring for justice, to set things right on her behalf, which is one of the important purposes of prayer; prayer has a binding legal transaction, asking God to reconcile every situation and circumstance in the earthly realm with His will and purpose – Matthew 6:10 “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”

6. The Unjust Judge

Luke 18:2 (NKJV) “There was a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.” The unjust Judge’s three characteristics: First, he (unjust Judge) is unjust –unjust in all his dealings. Second, he (unjust Judge) does not fear God, that is, he does not uphold the first four Commandments of the Decalogue. Finally, he (unjust Judge) does not have regard or respect for man – that is, he is contemptuous to the people and thus does not uphold the last six Commandments of the Decalogue.

  • Worn-Down“And he (unjust Judge) would not” (Luke 18:4a) – The verb expresses his (unjust Judge) state of mind rather than a single act. The unjust Judge is worn-down by the widow’s persistent, consistent and insistence petition – Luke 18:4-5 (NKJV) “And he (Judge) would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Even though the unjust Judge would not pay-attention to her for a while, he is finally worn-down with her persistency, consistency, and insistence.
  • Ruined Reputation – The word “weary” (Gk: “hypopiaze”) literally means “give me a black eye” or “damage reputation.”  

7. Application

The Parable does not teach that God must be “argued” or “bribed” into answering our prayer. Jesus uses a form of logic that reasons from the lesser (unjust Judge) to the greater (God, the Righteous Judge) – Luke 18:6-8 (NKJV) Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?’ I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?” If the unjust Judge eventually responded to the widow’s persistent appeals, how much more will God, the Righteous Judge respond to His people. The parable of the persistent widow teaches us two things:

  • Pray or FaintLuke 18:1 (NKJV) “Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” If a person does not pray, he will faint (lose-heart); there is no middle-ground. The word “faint” means “to lose-heart and gets discouraged.” Jesus teaches us that we should not give up but be persistent in prayer.
  • Faith on Earth?Luke 18:8b (Amp Bible) “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find persistence in the faith on the earth?” The implication, at the End-of-the-Age, unbelief will abound in the earth; whereas, the Son of Man (Jesus) will find faith in His people, as demonstrated in the widow woman – her persistency not only in her fortitude but also persistent in faith that she would be heard by the unjust Judge; so should the Individual Believer has this persistency of faith before the Righteous Judge, expecting answers to our prayers.   

8. Post-Note

Judges in the Nation of Israel are to be righteous and impartial in their judgements, underpinned justice with mercy (Exodus 18:13-22; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 16:18; 1Kings 3:9; Psalm 9:8; Genesis 18:19; Psalm 89:14). Widows in Israel are to be care for, protected (Exodus 22:22-24; Deuteronomy 10:18; 24:17; Psalm 68:5; Isaiah 1:23; James 1:27; Malachi 3:5); with Divine judgement on those who opposed the widows and the fatherless.

Financial Freedom (Luke 16:11)

The Statement

Money is an essential aspect of life. We cannot avoid being involved with it. It can be a Good Servant or a Terrible Master. Either way it affects every other area of our lives. Our Lord Jesus Christ reminds us if we are not able to handle our finance prudently (worldly wealth), how can He (Jesus) entrusts us with His Riches? – Luke 16:11“If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:11). There are various causes of financial difficulty, but the most common is overspending:

  • This may involve spending all the money we have, leaving none for giving or saving for the future.
  • Spending everything, we have almost inevitably lead to living on credit, which is spending money we do not have.
  • Living on credit reduces our future resources, initiating a vicious cycle of increased borrowing that can lead to a seemingly hopeless situation.
  • Overspending and indebtedness can develop at any age. People with high income are not immune.

The Root of Overspending

A Psychological Test was carried out, the Audiences were given a quick reflex test by asking them to list the emotions they associate with money: Often the lists are dominated by worry, concern, guilt, or desire. There were Psychological Factors discovered, in the Test, behind overspending:

  • The Person may be deprived as a child and would be determined that he and his family would enjoy everything life has to offer.
  • Others think poorly of themselves and try to compensate with displays of affluence.
  • Some seek emotional security in material things when they do not feel loved and accepted.

More often the problem has simpler roots. Some People simply do not know how to manage their financial affairs. Our Society’s insistence on instant gratification encourages overspending. The advertising that surrounds us creates artificial “needs” is another powerful stimulus to overspending. All, of these roots of overspending find fertile grounds in the soil of materialism – the age-old desire for and slavery to material things. Materialism expresses itself in:

  • Covetousness (greedy desire for what does not belong to us).
  • Possessiveness (selfishly clinging to everything we have).

Overspending is almost always closely related to this inordinate desire for things and pleasure. The answer to gaining control of our finances lies deeper than good rules of financial management. These are necessary, but more fundamental is the process of growing into maturity in a very significant area of our life, our attitude. The correct attitude is essential to controlling money.

God’s Word – The Bible provides us the Principle and Guidance on the Management of our Finance. If we are to achieve control, the understanding of the Principles are essential:

God’s Blessing – Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” God created the material universe as a provision, not as a temptation. He described His Creation as “good.” Money represents material things. It functions as a medium of exchange and a store value, facilitating the use of God’s Creation in many ways. If the material things God created are Good, so is the money we substitute for them in exchange. Therefore, our attitude toward both material things and money should be positive.

Stewardship – 1Corinthians 4:1-2 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Responsibility is a corollary of Freedom. All through the Scriptures Individuals are held accountable for their attitudes, decisions and actions. The Scriptures established the Principle of Individual Ownership of the Person’s attitudes and actions. God gives us the right to control and the use of our wealth. But with our right to control what we own comes our responsibility to use it as God’s Stewards, accountable to Him. This responsibility of Stewardship is an Individual matter. In Jesus’ Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), each Steward is held responsible and rewarded or rebuked according to his diligence.

Apostle Paul set the example of assuming responsibility for his financial needs, even though he had the right to be supported by those who have benefited from his ministry (2Thessalonians 3:6-10). He encourages his Followers to work to meet their own needs and to help others (Ephesians 4:28, 1Thessalonians 4:11-12). Unless a person demonstrates his trustworthiness in these “little things” of material wealth, he cannot expect God to entrust him the true riches of Eternal Values (Luke 16:11).

Live Below Income – Proverbs 21:20 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (TLB). Our standard of living must be such that total expenditures are less than income. This requires a life-style that keeps material things in their proper perspective. If we are living within our means, there will be resources to meet even severe emergencies without violating this rule. This is an essential step toward financial freedom. It is particularly importance that this rule never be violated because violations are cumulative and inevitably make tomorrow’s problems worse than today’s. Yet, it is so obvious that it is often overlooked, and its violation is the source of nearly all financial difficulty.

Establish Priorities of Use – Establish priorities for the use of our Resources. Much has been written about the proper order of priorities for the Christian, but our basic guidance should come from God’s Word. Living below our income implies an orderly control of necessary expenditures and at least a small surplus that can be used for optional priorities – including giving and saving – Proverbs 21:20 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (TLB).

Master Our Credit – Proverbs 22:7 “The Rich rule over the Poor, and the Borrower is Servant to the Lender.” In our society credit is the greatest single impediment to financial control. It is not only readily available but is foisted on consumers through the clever advertising of both money and product. Spending on credit without proper control is likening to “a foolish man who spends whatever he gets” (Proverbs 21:20 – TLB).

Learn to Buy Wisely – The Virtuous Wife of Proverbs 31, we are told: “sees that her trading is profitable” (Proverbs 31:18). Clearly, she must have looked for good buys! Notice that she “considers a field and buys it” (Proverbs 31:16). One Writer states that he does not believe that it is an exaggeration to say that expenditure costing one family, of the same family size, $10,000.00 can cost another $15,000.00. Many factors enter into this discrepancy, but the important ones are ordinary common sense, patience, and willingness to search hard for the best buy. Financial Freedom – Living in control of our financial affairs – is not only a wonderful experience, it is an enabling one. It prepares us for fruitful usefulness in other areas of life, an initial step toward maturity!

Prayer the Answer to Not Giving Up (Luke 18:1-14) (Part 2)

The Day of Crisis

Proverbs 24:10-12 “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver those who are drawn unto death and those who are ready to be slain.

  • Proverbs 24:10 there is a play on the word adversity (Hebrews “tsarah”) = “distressful (severe trouble, mental pain), constricting, narrowing, pressure-packed,” and small (Hebrews “tsar”) = “narrow.” Because of the “constricting” nature of adversity, our smallness (“narrow corridor”) of strength amplified the situation, thus resulting in “fainting” = Disheartened, a sense of Hopelessness.
  • Proverbs 24:11-12 set forth situations where the character of the Person is tested. The obligation to receive the Person who is being overwhelmed by situation is set forth. Any attempt to avoid the responsibilities for deliverance in such situations is unacceptable. One may not hypocritically plead ignorance. The God who knows us will “render to every man according to his works.”
  • King Solomon reminds us that the time of crisis is in reality a test of strength, an opportunity for the Person to demonstrate his mettle. Strength neutralized by pressure is weakness. For the Person who cannot show strength to cope, endure, or produce while under pressure and in difficulty is perhaps physical weakling.

Waiting on God

The Answer to Fainting is Prayer (Luke 18:1) and Waiting on the LORD (Isaiah) – Isaiah 40:28-31 “Hast thou not known? Has, thou not heard, that the Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to those who have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

  • Abraham Lincoln once confided: “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of those around me seemed insufficient for the day.
  • Good Decision – A popular story concerns a successful Executive retiring after much Fruitful Leadership. His Young Replacement nervously asked, “Sir, to what do you attribute your Success?” His quick response was “Good Decisions!” And how, sir, did you know how to make Good Decisions? That’s simple, son, by Experience.” Please, sir, where does this Experience come from? “From Bad Decisions,” was his honest reply. Leaders learn from their Mistakes.

Mind – Area of Fainting

Hebrews12:3“For consider Him (Jesus) that endured such contradiction (opposition) of Sinners (sinful men) against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

The Issue“Wearied” = Sick (James 5:15; Fainting, Revelation 2:3). Weariness is a sudden breakdown in Endurance. “Faint” = Despond, become exhausted, or slack in one’s mind:

  • A more gradual relaxation in vigilance
  • Mental Depression can lead to psychological loss of determination and even physical fatigue and sickness.
  • Discouragement is not a single moment but over a period of time, with a gradual slackening of resolve

The Meditation – The Corrective for Weariness and Fainting is an ever deepening consideration of the Humiliation and Sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ in comparison with our Own Sufferings:

  • In considering our Lord Jesus Christ we must have regard to the Infinite Glory of His Person, the depth of the humiliation to which He suffered both under the cruelty of man, and the wrath of God, and the perfection of the example of meekness, quietness and constancy with which He endured all. 
  • Meditations of our Lord’s humiliation and sufferings will strengthen our courage and support our faith and the solace of our hearts.

Peace of Mind – – In his bestseller, “Peace of Mind,” Joshua Liebman tells of his experience as a young man. He listed the supreme goods in his life and took them to a Wise Mentor. When he showed him the list, he expected to be praised for his precocity (maturity). His list included such values as love, health, riches, talent, beauty and friends. The Wise Old Mentor pondered the list, then with a twinkle in his eye, reached for a pencil. He drew a line through each item on the list and then said: “Young man, you may have all of these, but they will turn out to be your enemies instead of friends unless you have the one and most important thing you missed.” Then he wrote on the paper, “the gift of an untroubled mind.” – Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in Perfect Peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.

Summary

The Answers to Weariness and Fainting are:

  • Prayer (Luke 18:1).
  • Waiting on the LORD (Isaiah 40:31).
  • Considering the Humiliation and Sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:3).
  • Not weary and faint not in Well-doing = Rewards (Galatians 6:9).

Prayer the Answer to Not Giving Up (Luke 18:1-14) (Part 1)

Scripture

Luke 18:1“And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Romans 12:12 “Patient in tribulation, continuing instant (diligently) in prayer.”)

The Setting

Luke 18:1-30, we find the last events in the Public Ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by Luke prior to the Final Journey to Jerusalem:  Luke 18:31 “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” In Luke 18:31 is where the story of the Final Journey begins.  In this paragraph there are two Sections:

2 Parables on Prayer

  • Perseverance in Prayer (Luke 18:1-8).
  • Right Attitude in Prayer (Luke 18:9-14).

Which unquestionably took place in close connection? The First Parable was spoken to His (Jesus’) Disciples (Luke 18:1-8) and the Second Parable to the Crowd or Jewish Rulers, who trust in themselves. The two Parables moved in the same realm of thought but had two entirely different emphases.

2 Incidents

  • The Lesson of the Little Children – Luke 18:15-17
  • The Hindrance of Riches – Luke 18:18-27

Endurance

Luke 18:1“And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

  • The Necessity of Prayer – The First Parable opens with a very arresting statement. Our Lord Jesus Christ introduces this Parable in order to emphasize the Necessity for Prayer, and the Necessity for Prayer as a way of life for the Christian in the face of the events that surround Christ’s Second Coming (Luke 17:22-37).
  • The Revelation – The Age in which we live would be days of great difficulty. The Parable, then, is a Revelation of what is necessary for the Life of Faith, in the Age which is not conducive to faith. In such an Age, Prayer is the very essence of life to carry us through to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Prayer or Faint – Under such circumstances, our Lord Jesus Christ says, in effect, there is one alternative offered to us, Prayer or Faint. Our Lord Jesus warns of the Age and of the life of His people through that Age, is that unless we Pray, we will Faint. Thus, the Revelation on the Purpose of the Parable is revealed in the opening verse of Luke 18:1 “And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Romans 12:12 “Patient in tribulation, continuing instant (diligently) in prayer.”).
  • Readiness – Our Lord Jesus Christ was making an immediate application of His Prophecy on the Second Coming (Luke 17:22-37). Readiness for His Return will be conditioned by Prayer.

The Principle Enforced

  • Positively – “Men ought always to pray.” “Ought” = Renders an infinitive (dein) which expresses a moral and spiritual obligation. It is only “always prayer” that will Prevent the Fainting.
  • Negatively –“Not to faint” means “Never to lose heart.” The word “to faint” render a word (enkakein) which means “to give in to evil, to lose heart, or to play the coward:”
    • It suggests great trials.
    • It suggests a lack of spiritual health.

All of these meanings enhance Jesus’ Words about Prayer.  Men are not to do these things but are to rely upon Prayer for strength, encouragement, and bravery. That the Apostles needed such an exhortation is seen in their conduct when Jesus was arrested. But that they kept Praying and received answer is evident in their conduct following Pentecost. It was to encourage them to be perseverance in Prayer that the Lord Jesus spoke the Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8). 

Discouragement

To be discouraged is to lose heart and strength. Doctors and Psychologists are convinced of the relationship between the two:

  • Discouragement can actually paralyze both our wills to do something and our strength to carry it out.
  • Discouragement saps our strength emotionally and physically.
  • Weariness – We need to be aware of the relationship between weariness and discouragement. We are especially susceptible to discouragement when we are overly tired. A person often gets discouraged when he is too tired.
  • Temptation – We need to be aware of the relationship between physical weariness and temptation. That is why it seems to be Satan’s prime strategy against those who really want to work for God.
  • Faith – Luke 18:8 “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Our Lord Jesus is concerned that Christians might Fail to Pray persistently and therefore become discouraged and lose Faith.

To be continued….. Stay tuned