Luke 18:4f “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.” … And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? …Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
Jesus knows that we are in danger of giving up. He told the story of an unrighteous judge and a relentless widow for the very reason that many are about to give up. He was brutally honest about the things that cause us to lose heart. The judge in his parable reflects the absence of justice and the absence of respect that prevails in the world. This man neither looked up to God nor out to the world. He was not moved by any external fear or love. No one who loves righteousness and goodness could be unaffected by such callous evil.
But the haunting question with which Jesus closed this parable may reflect the most grievous of all discouragements. To see others fall by the way, give in to the pressure, or cower before the callousness of the world is a sore trial for someone who would remain faithful. This isn’t discouragement. It is warning. If you know a storm is coming, it is the worst discouragement of all to let your neighbor stroll in happy ignorance, only to be devastated when the storm breaks. Not only will he be broken by the storm, but he will know with utmost certainty that you cared not one whit for him. Jesus cares. So he raises for us the specter of a world without faith. He is preparing us for a storm that the Scriptures say will happen, a falling away from faith.
The parable encourages us when Jesus shifts our attention from a self-consumed judge who looks neither up nor out, to the righteous character of God and the certainty of his promises. This judge doesn’t fear God. Our judge is God. This judge regards no man. Our judge watches over his elect, those chosen in Christ Jesus, his own beloved Son. If the unrighteous judge could be forced to a good thing by his own selfish nature, will God, the perfection of all virtue, who has already given his only begotten to redeem us, do any less?
To affect such a man, this widow had only one tool in her arsenal. Persistence. You don’t need anything special for that. You just need to keep going.
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and your will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
What a wonderful Savior he is!