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Parables - The Persistent Widow

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The Persistent Widow/Unjust Judge

Text: Luke 18.1-8

Thesis: To note that we have a faithful God and thus we should pray to Him always.


(1)    Poem:

I got up early one morning                                               I wanted to see joy and beauty,

And rushed right into the day;                                          But the day toiled on grey and bleak,

I had so much to accomplish                                            I called on the Lord for the reason –

I didn’t have time to pray.                                     He said, “You didn’t ask.”


Troubles just tumbled about me                                        I woke up early this morning

And heavier came each task.                                            And paused before entering the day.

Why doesn’t God help me, I wondered,                            I had so much to accomplish

He answered, “You didn’t ask.”                                      That I had to take time to pray.


I tried to come into God’s presence,

I used all my keys at the lock.

God gently and lovingly chided,

“Why child, you didn’t ask.”

(2)    Jesus tells this parable in order “to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18.1).


I.                   The People:

A.    The Judge –

1.      City would have judges to settle disputes.

2.      This judge was probably appointed by the Romans.

a.       “He did not fear God, and did not respect men.”

b.      “He is not only known by others as one who neither fears God nor regards man, but he absolutely glorifies in these things himself as if they constituted a title of greatness.”

B.     The Widow –

1.      God has always been interested in caring for them (cf. Exod. 22.22; James 1.27).

2.      She apparently was righteous and had a true problem.

II.                The Problem:

A.    The widow had an adversary who has wronged her.

1.      “She sought to be avenged, she did not seek revenge.”

2.      Yet, the judge would not help her at first.

B.     She does not give up.

1.      She was “weak so that she could not compel him to do her justice – and poor, so that she could not supply him motive […].”

2.      Therefore, she just keeps on asking.

a.       The judge decides to grant her request in order to get her off of his back [note “weary me” – literally, “give me a black eye”].

b.      “Her persistence brought her that which she sought.”

III.             The Point:

A.    “Jesus is not teaching persistence of a single request.  He is rather encouraging faith in the power of prayer.  And he is teaching the importance of an active and ongoing prayer life.”

1.      This is similar to Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 7:11 where he said: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

2.      The point is: “If an unrighteous judge will bend to the persistence of a brow-beating widow, then surely a righteous God will hear the pleas of his patient children.”

B.     Note the contrast b/t the widow and the elect:

Widow                                                      Elect

A stranger                                                 Invited

At a distance                                             We can come boldly (Heb. 4.15-16)

An unjust judge                                        A righteous father

On her own                                               God is for us (Rom. 8.31)

Pleads her own case                                  We have an advocate (Rom. 8.34)

Access limited                                           Access unlimited

Asking provoked judge                            Asking delights God

C.     As James teaches us, we have not because we ask not (Jam. 4.2).


(1)    We as Christians have such a blessing in that we may pray to God.

(2)    Prayer works only when we pray.

(3)    Are you in a situation where you can pray to God (cf. 1 Pet. 3.12)?

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