Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Mercy of an Unjust Judge (In Comparison)

Have you ever wondered why suffering for the sake of Christ never gets answered. As I sit and watch the news I see families murdered or chased out of cities because they will not renounce the name of Christ. The resources that provide information on those being persecuted and martyred never lack for stories about what is happening in our world everyday. 

Luke 18:1-8 - Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in 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 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?” The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Lk 18:1–8.

In the text Jesus uses an example of an unjust Judge and how that judge will respond to the one who is persistent. Jesus then compares the unjust judge to God’s who is the just judge. When reading this passage one needs to remember that Jesus just finished answering the Pharisees about the arrival of the Kingdom of God. He tells His disciples "The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.” He then says that in those days it will be as the days of Noah and the days of Lot. There will be bad days and bad things happen in those days and you will not want to be a part of it. We assume here that believers will be partaking in persecution like in the days of old.

In this passage (Luke 18:1-8) Jesus discusses prayer. It is done in two parts. The first (1-8) is directed toward His disciples while the second (9-14) is directed toward those "who are confident in their own righteousness”. We will ignore the second for our discussion. The disciples know that the Lord loves them but now they must process the fact that Jesus said what they desire they will not see. In the parable, Jesus uses the example the that unjust Judge will give to the widow what she desires because of her persistence. But God, the just judge, loving His own, will administer justice. The object of the lesson is to never give up hope and be faithful in prayer. We will be faithful in our prayers when we never give up in our prayers. Our heart is illustrated through our actions (James and 1 John).

Don't lose hope...

Doug