December 18, 2022

Jesus Christ Told A Parable Of The Persistent Widow

I added the picture above to the message I shared below.

Luke 18:1-8

In the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), a poor, powerless person (the widow) persists in nagging a corrupt, powerful person (the judge) to do justice for her. The parable assumes John the Baptist’s teaching that holding a position of power and leadership obligates you to work justly, especially on behalf of the poor and weak. But Jesus focuses the parable on a different point, that we are “to pray always and to not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). He identifies the hearers — us — with the woman, and the prayed-to person — God — with the corrupt judge, a strange combination. Assuming that Jesus doesn’t mean that God is corrupt, the point must be that if persistence pays off with a corrupt human of limited power, how much more will it pay off with a just God of infinite power.

The purpose of the parable is to encourage Christians to persevere in their faith against all odds. But it also has two applications for those who work in positions of leadership. First, the juxtaposition of a corrupt judge with a just God implies that God’s will is at work even in a corrupt world. The judge’s job is to do justice, and by God, he will do justice by the time the widow is finished with him. Elsewhere, the Bible teaches that the civil authorities serve by God’s authorization, whether they acknowledge it or not (John 19:11; Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13). So there is hope that even in the midst of systemic injustice, justice may be done. A Christian leader’s job is to work toward that hope at all times. We cannot right every wrong in the world in our lifetimes. But we must never give up hope, and never stop working for the greater good[1]in the midst of the imperfect systems where our work occurs. Legislators, for example, seldom have a choice of voting for a good bill versus a bad bill. Usually the best they can do is to vote for bills that do more good than bad. But they must continually look for opportunities to bring bills to a vote that do even less harm and even more good.

The second point is that only God can bring about justice in a corrupt world. That is why we must pray and not give up in our work. God can bring miraculous justice in a corrupt world, just as God can bring miraculous healing in a sick world. Suddenly, the Berlin wall opens, the apartheid regime crumbles, peace breaks out. In the parable of the persistent widow, God does not intervene. The widow’s persistence alone leads the judge to act justly. But Jesus indicates that God is the unseen actor. “Will not God grant justice for his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7).
I added the picture above to the message I shared below.
Bible verse above is Matthew 7:7-8

written by Pastor Dennis Davidson

Summary: Your prayers are heard by your heavenly Father, who loves you and cares about you supremely.


[Hebrews 11:1-6]

In order to be recipients of the abundant blessings Jesus has for us we need to be constantly walking with God. Prayer is an essential component of life with God. Prayer involves asking God for what you need, believing He will provide. Persistence is needed in prayer. In other words, don’t give up. Hang in there and keep on praying in faith. Prayer is based on faith in God. You pray because you believe He is real and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

In this parable [found only in Luke] Jesus introduces a very human judge who did not fear God or respect people. The story of the unrighteous judge and the widow teaches that if an unrighteous, secular judge will finally hear your appeals, how much more will your appeals be heard by your heavenly Father, who loves you and cares about you supremely. [The constancy in prayer is stressed by arguing from the lesser (judge) to the greater (God).Your prayers are heard by your heavenly Father, who loves you and cares about you supremely (CIT).]




Verse 1 introduces the parable which teaches that God responds to the His children’s [persistent] prayer. “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,” [NASV}

Again and again Jesus imparts to His disciples new truths for kingdom living. Here He teaches His disciples yet another truth about prayer. Jesus consistently prayed and wants His disciples to pray consistently also.

Jesus is teaching the need for persistent prayer in the life of every believer. Why? Because prayer is where you meet God in genuine conversation. God has given prayer to His children so that we can be in touch with Him Prayer is not intended to do something for an all-knowing, all caring sovereign God, but to do something for us and in us. . God does not need our prayer, but He has us pray because we need prayer to become all that God desires for us to be. [Bock, Darrell. The IVP NT Com. Luke. InterVarsity Press, Dover Grove, IL. p.292.] We will never become all God has for us without a persistent prayer life.

Without prayer we don’t have what it takes to do God’s will day after day. Prayer enables us to draw on our Father’s limitless resources of grace. His disciples should always pray and not give up.


Verses 2-5 contain the parable itself. Jesus’ parables are filled with interesting characters. In verse 2 we are introduced to a uncaring and cold judge. “... saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.”

The judge was indifferent toward God’s law and apathetic toward people, regardless of their status. If one does not fear God, he will not truly respect man. That’s sad in any life, but such an attitude makes a judge unfit for duty since he is to do his best to pass down God’s own verdict (Deut. 1:16-17).

It is interesting that, although our own judicial system has increasingly moved to restrict prayer, Jesus uses a parable set in a courtroom to teach us about prayer.

In verse 3 we are introduced to a relentless widow. “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’

A local widow came to this uncaring judge to pled for justice in a dispute with a neighbor. This widow continued to keep coming before this judge to plead for justice [or protection] in her case. As a widow she should have received special protection and care from the justice system (Ex. 22:22; Deut. 10:18; 24:17-21; 27:19; Jas. 1:27). In spite of the fact that the judge refused to rule in her case she never gave up. She persisted in continuing to present her case. No matter how long the judge ignored her or denied her plea, she returned to his court asking for justice. [Butler, Trent. Holman NT Com. Luke. 2000. Broadman& Holman Publishers. Nashville, TN. P. 296.]

[In Jesus’ time, there was no city courthouse. A judge would travel from town to town, staying for three to five days at a time. If the needs were great that the judge’s docket would be filled. Then, the only way a person could have his case heard would be to bribe the judge’s assistants.]

As time worn on it appeared like this widow didn’t have a chance to be heard. Yet in verse 4 we learn that her persistent pleas are getting to the judge. “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man,”

The judge did not care about the widow’s plight. He continually refused to “hear” her case.

This woman’s chances at being heard didn’t look very promising for three reasons. First, she was a woman in a culture where women were second-class citizens at best. Second, she was a widow or had no husband to stand with her or open the way for her. Third, being a widow, she would have been poor and could not have afforded an advocate. [Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 387.]

Though it seemed this widow didn’t have a chance to be heard, that didn’t stop her. In verse 5 we find that her persistence in presenting her case pays off. “yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”

She came day and night before the judge, pleading and begging that her case be heard. The judge finally threw up his hands in disgust and frustration. Religious grounds did not cause him to act. He had no religion. Social justice grounds didn’t cause him to act. He cared nothing for people. He simply had a job as a judge which he reluctantly carried out. He did though have limits to his patience. So finally he decided to give her justice just to get rid of her. He said, “To get this lady off my back, I’ll do what she wants.” He was tired of her wearing him out with her petitioning. The widow’s persistence resulted in her request being granted.


In verse 6-8 Jesus interprets and applies the parable for his disciples. [He points out that if the unjust judge would give justice, then imagine how God (the just Judge) will see that they get justice, and quickly.] In verse 6 Jesus calls attention to what the unrighteous judge’s decision. And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said;

Jesus uses the account of the widow to teach what our attitude should be in prayer. His parable is a contrast between the judge and the Father for our situation is entirely different. We do not appear before an unjust judge, but before a loving, caring Father.

Jesus closes His parable with a question in verse 7. “now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?

If an unrighteous and disrespectful judge finally answers a pestering widow's pleas for help, shall not God answer His own children who cry to Him day and night?

The expected answer: "Of course He will!" George Muller (l805-1898), pastor and orphanage director, was known for his faith and persistent prayer. When he prayed for the specific needs for his orphanage, God sent exactly what was required. Yet for more than 40 years he also prayed for the conversion of a friend and his friend's son. When Muller died, these men were still unconverted. God answered those prayers, however, in His own time. The friend was converted while attending Muller's funeral, and the son a week later!

God listens to His children and responds to their prayer. We appear before God not as strangers, but as His beloved children.

A photographer captured on film Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia in his chambers at his massive desk when one of his grandchildren came bursting into the room. The photograph shows Scalia looking up and smiling from ear to ear.

It’s amazing the access a person has with his parents. No matter how important a man might be, his son or daughter can burst into his presence anytime. That is the privilege we have as children of the God of the universe. [His response is especially sure when our prayers cry out for the justice and righteous treatment of His children.]

Do you have a special burden or request? Keep on praying! [Failure to pray is taking the line of least persistence.] Trust your loving heavenly Father to answer according to His wisdom and timing. God honors persistent prayer!

Verse 8 informs us that God response is swift and certain especially when His children have cried out for justice. “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

If an uncaring human judge acts like this, how much more responsive is a loving heavenly Father who care for his children. He will never put you off. He cares for you. You will get a quick answer. You will receive justice. But remember, this involves continuing to pray day and night. Your definition of quick may not equal God's definition.

People stop praying whenever they go to the Lord with a problem or a need and He doesn’t answer them speedily. “I’ve come to You, Lord, for weeks and months about this problem, and there seems to be no solution,” they say. “I’ve come for years, but there seems to be no provision. Why pray?” they finally say. They stop praying altogether, failing to understand that, because they are created in the image of God, they are composed of three parts—body, soul, and spirit—and it is the spirit that is most powerfully impacted by prayer.

You see, the body is that which relates to the physical world through the senses of sight and smell, touch, taste, and hearing. The soul, comprised of mind and emotions, is that which relates to people through one’s personality. But because it is the spirit—the deepest part of man—that relates to God and will live forever with Him, it is most often through the spirit that prayers are answered. The problem is that we limit our prayers to the realms of only the body or soul. We either want a physical, tangible answer to our prayers, or we want to feel better after we pray. But God knows that what we are truly craving can only be fulfilled in the realm of the spirit (Rom. 8:23).

“Father,” we say, “my finances are low. I need bread.” And although He is a Father who will indeed provide our daily bread, He also knows bread will not satisfy us ultimately. So He sent His Son to be the Bread of Life for us (John 6:35).

“I need direction,” we pray. “I am the Way,” Jesus says (John 14:6).

“I need peace,” we cry. “You’ll find peace in Me,” Jesus answers (John 16:33).

What we really need is rarely that for which we pray. What we need is the Lord Himself.

Prayer is not to get the goods. It is to enjoy the One who is good.

Prayer is not to get the gifts. It is to have fellowship with the Giver of all gifts.

Prayer is not not to claim the promises. It is to embrace the Person.

Everything you crave is found in the Person of Jesus Christ—and you will discover that to be true if you pray and don’t faint. [Courson, S. 388.]

The second part of verse 8 [relates back to verse 1,] asks whether people will have the faith necessary to motivate them to persistent prayer. The Father is quick to hear and respond to the needs of His children, but they must have the faith to petition Him and expect His response.

Jesus’ question concerning if He would find faith upon the earth when He returns in this context means will He find believers consistently persistently praying? Jesus’ question, was asked to spur the disciples on to faithfulness in prayer, to encourage them to keep on in their praying [Walvoord, John and Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, S. 250].

Prayer is based on faith in God. We pray because we believe God our Father is real and ready to respond to His children. Our persistence in it not only reveals our faith in God, it develops our faith in God.

Even though the widow’s situation was more difficult than those we usually face, she never gave up asking. What about us? If we know that God is a Father who loves us, that Jesus is an Advocate standing beside us, and that we are a child invited to come to a throne of grace, why don’t we pray? Why is it that Jesus must ask, “Will I find faithful praying when I come again?” [The problem is not with God. He will answer when you need it. You can count on that.]


When Christ returns, will there be those who are calling out in faith day and night? Will we become so lackadaisical in our faith that people of persistent prayer have become extinct? Will the second coming of Jesus find us persisting in prayer that his kingdom will come? Or will it find us trapped on the housetop trying desperately to get back into the house to find the possessions that we rely on more than we do on God? Persistent prayer, the work of the person of faith, continues on, no matter what the answer. When Christ returns, the person of persistent prayer will still be praying. Will you be praying? Or perhaps a better question is are you day and night persisting in prayer right now?

Prayer is the permanent occupation of every believer and is to be done in persistence knowing that God will hear and answer. If you say, “Father, help,” He will hear. God is on your side, always. Like the woman in this parable, practice constancy. Don’t give up.

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