Luke 18:1-8 | Kingdom Prayer
I sometimes ask people one question, “How is your prayer life?” Some people smile back at me. Some say, “I pray for one hour a day.” Then I ask them, “What is it that you are praying for?” Most of the answers that I get is, “My health, family, job, my church, my pastor etc. Wow, here is a good disciple and this is a good prayer. Here is a man or woman of supplication. But do you know that we also need to pray for something more important everyday which most Christians even do not know? There is a great subject Jesus taught us to pray for, but most of the Christians do not pray for that great subject because most of the Christians do not know what it is.
Open your Bibles with me to Luke 18. Here is a familiar parable told by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a simple story with a profound spiritual message.
We are going to look at the parable in 4 aspects: The Lord’s Illustration. The Lord’s Intent. Second, The Lord’s Interpretation. Third, The Lord’s Inquisition.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow | Kingdom Prayer
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,..
5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
I. The Lord’s Illustration
First of all, let’s look at the parable.
He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.
This is like a simple town in the then land of Israel. And what follows would be familiar to the people of Israel. Israel in the OT had much experience with unjust judges. Here we meet such a judge, a judge who did not fear God and did not respect or have compassion to man. Such description of a person in the Bible and other ancient literature are used to describe the most wicked person. He has no interest in the first commandment, loving God; no interest in the second commandment, loving his neighbor. He is the most wicked man. His wickedness is compounded because he is also a judge. Both in his personal and professional life he was wicked.
Now the kind of court that a judge like this would be a part of would be a civil court where he dealt with the cases of people. This too is an important responsibility because he had to uphold the law and do justice to people.
Look what he said about himself:
But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,…
He agrees he is wicked. Here is the worst possible human being in a very, very important position of responsibility.
See the instruction given for the judge in the Old Testament.
2 Chronicles 19:4-7
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the LORD, the God of their ancestors. 5 He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 6 He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. 7 Now let the fear of the LORD be on you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”
Everyone who was ever appointed to any judicial responsibility in Israel would know that passage very well. But even in the Old Testament, in spite of the clear instruction of God, judges were corrupt.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth. 11 You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
But this kind of judicial corruption was not limited just to the Old Testament. It was also true in the time of our Lord Jesus. Alfred Edersheim, who has written the classic Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, describes the judges in Jerusalem as being so corrupt that the people changed their title to a robber.
So here is a corrupt, wicked judge who did not fear God nor had compassion for people. He is a robber. Many are suffering because of him.
And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
This woman we meet in verse 3 is a widow. Israel also had much experience with widows. Someone has so seriously defrauded her that she is destitute. She keeps coming for justice to this judge.
In the first century, the courts belonged to the men. The only time a woman would come to court was when there was no man to plead her case. This woman is alone. She has no man in her life. No man in her family, not a brother, not a brother-in-law, not a father, not a son, not a cousin, not a nephew. She represents the destitute, the powerless, the helpless.
Here is a widow, anybody would have mercy on her not only because of legal rights but also because of mercy.
The OT talks about the responsibility to show mercy to a widow.
22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.
Corrupt judges, there were plenty of them; and there were even more needy widows.
And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
She kept coming. She is there every day and she’s saying, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
She keeps bothering me, so I will give her justice so that she will not eventually come and attack me. In the Greek it means to strike someone with a full blow in the eye. She is punching me day after day after day. She is beating me up and blackening my face day after day.
This woman is not just troublesome, this woman is painful and she is going to do it forever if I don’t deal with her. So the powerful and impervious judge is defeated by the weak widow through her persistence.
II. The Lord’s Intention
Now what is the Lord’s intention for this parable? Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples and now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.
In Luke 17, Jesus has just give them this great teaching regarding his second coming. He was talking that the Son of Man is going to come in a visible way. Read the last portion of Luke 17. Jesus has been talking about His Second Coming in judgment. Along that line Jesus says that the disciples should always pray and not give up. In the time between the first and Second Coming, we are not to lose heart but rather we are to pray. We are living in that period of time now. That’s the key to unlocking the meaning of the story.
It is in this time that the church suffers at the hostile world, we suffer at the work of Satan against us. So we are not to lose heart but keep praying as you long for Christ to come back. Don’t lose heart. Keep praying to that end.
That simply means through all the events of life, through all the seasons of life, and all the years that go by, we are to pray and not lose heart.
“Lose heart” comes from a Greek verb which means “to become weary,” “to give in.” Don’t give up hope that Jesus is coming. Mockers of the gospel will come. We will be ridiculed for saying Jesus is coming, but He is coming. Dot give up hope but pray.
So this is an eschatological prayer, a kingdom prayer. This is a prayer that the Lord will come and pray for the strength to endure until He arrives, to endure the flesh, the world, the devil, the hostility against the gospel, persecution, rejection, and even martyrdom. This is eschatological praying, kingdom praying.
Jesus always spoke to pray like this:
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
So, the key to the parable is to pray for the coming kingdom. For the Lord to come and establish is kingdom and rule on earth and to redeem our plant.
So What Does Coming Of The Lord Jesus Christ Mean To Us?
1. Brings Us Encouragement And Comfort
1 Thessalonians 4:18
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
It brings us encouragement. That’s where we find our comfort in the midst of the issues of this life.
2. Enables Us To Live Pure Lives
1 John 3:2-3
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
3. Gives Us Stability
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
4. Provides Zeal In Evangelism
Coming of the Lord makes us want to share the good news.
2 Corinthians 5:11
Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.
4. It Changes On How We View Our Life
The coming of the Lord has implications about how we view everything we own. Everything we possess and what we do with our time, money, talent. This results in a strong persistent prayer that Jesus come.
III. The Lord’s Interpretation
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Think about the wicked judge in the story. He was cruelly indifferent to God. He was wicked, indifferent to people. But he finally did justice for a woman’s suffering for whom he had no feeling, no emotion, and to whom he had no attachment.
This is extreme. You have the most wicked human being doing what is right for someone about whom he has no feeling or interest. And if a judge who is like that will do what is right for someone for whom he has no affection, do you think God will not do what is right for those who are His eternal chosen elect?
Will the Lord not to what is right for you who cry out to Him day and night for his glory to be revealed?
The elect or we are represented by the widow. We are, in a sense, helpless. We are, in a sense, at the mercy of our judge. But our God is not like the wicked judge. Our God is always compassionate, merciful, gracious, tender-hearted, and kind and he will not put us off.
What will a righteous, loving, holy God do?
He will give us justice.
God Is Not Partial. God Is Just.
1 Peter 2:23
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
For God does not show favoritism.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
…for true and just are his judgments.
God will do what He has promised for His elect. God is merciful. He’s compassionate. God He loves those whom He has eternally chosen.
The justice will come at the second coming of Christ.
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? “Who cry to Him day and night.” That’s us.
Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. We’re longing for Christ to come. As we live in the hope of Christ to come, we pray for his return.
We are waiting for his Son from heaven. You can’t remove the Second Coming out of the constant speech of the church, out of your vocabulary.
What is the message of the gospel?
The message of the gospel is that the Kingdom of God has come with the first coming of Jesus in flesh. He has given us the good news of the Kingdom. One has to repent from his sins and trust the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Such people are born again. Born again people are to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ is coming back again to set up his literal Kingdom on the earth. Is that you near now-a-days from popular preachers? This should be our message.
Paul went to Thessalonica, a new place where gospel had never been and see what he preached and later wrote to them.
In Acts 17 you have the story about the apostle Paul going there? He was there teaching three Sabbaths. If you only had a few weeks, what would you teach them? What did Paul preach to gentles?
Let’s find out what Paul majored on.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Right away in the salutation he introduces the hope that we have: our future hope. And what is that hope?
1 Thessalonians 1:10
…and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Right off the launch pad he instructs them with regard to the Second Coming.
1 Thessalonians 2:12
…encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
They understand the hope of the return of Christ. Secondly, they understand that they’re waiting for Him to come back from heaven. Thirdly, they understand also that He is going to bring a kingdom and establish His glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
You see this emphasis of the kingdom throughout this entire letter.
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. You have the coming of the lord again.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
This is a lot of eschatology for a new church.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
2 Thessalonians 1:5
All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
So the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back. He is going to establish His kingdom. We should be looking forward to that day and that should be our prayer life.
So Why Is The Lord Delaying His Coming? God will come. God will vindicate even if he is patient about responding.
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
Will he keep putting them off? It should say, “God be patient over them.”
The long interval between the first and the Second Coming of Jesus is a period in which God is exercising patience. “putting them off or patience over them.” “Them” is in this text are the disciples, His own, being patient over them.
This means God is patient with us that is why he is delaying his coming. And our Lord is saying He is coming, He will come but he is delaying for us to repent turn back to him. He is postponing his wrath. This means God has remote anger towards us, anger removed far, far away.
This describes what Exodus 34 says about God, that He is slow to anger.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:15
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
God will send Christ to judge and set up His kingdom and vindicate His elect. He is patient so that many more can join the kingdom and the believers can purify themselves.
I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.
On one side Luke says, he is patient in coming, now Peter says he they will get justice quickly. Luke wants to remind us that, “Yes God is patient for us but our preparation must be in such a way that his coming is soon. Be ready now, be ready always.
Some people ask what about my life, will I get justice now? This passage also means that God’s justice will prevail now and then.
He will see that they get justice. This literally, make the vindication of the elect. He will make the vindication of the elect speedily. When it happens it will happen suddenly. And he will do it, but you keep praying and don’t lose heart because He’s waiting to gather in all His elect.
So, the Lord’s illustration, intention, and interpretation; a final thought: the Lord’s inquisition.
He poses a question.
However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
What does that mean? Jesus is just asking the question, given that it’s going to be a long time for Him to come, will there be anybody left persistent like this widow? When He does come, will He find people praying for His return? I kind of think that if He were to come now He would find a whole lot of people who call themselves Christians with very little interest in that.
Genuine Christianity never loses its grip on God. A True Christian never loses its trust in Christ, never loses its hope. But we get easily distracted, don’t we? And the Lord is trying to nail this down in a practical way. When He comes, will He find His people still crying day and night eagerly waiting for His return? Will we love His appearing? Will we be crying out “Maranatha”? We should be Kingdom praying!
Or will it be like in Noah’s day with just a few, or Lot today with just a few?
We live in hope, beloved, we live in hope. We are true Christians and we have been given a tremendous promise. In the meantime we suffer and we’re rejected and persecuted and alienated and the gospel is resisted and Christ is dishonored. In the meantime, we continue to pray and plead for the glory of Christ.
God Will Respond Quickly To Requests
Faith Is Needed In Face Of Delay
Perseverance Is Required Until The End
Perseverance Will Be Hard Until One Is Faithful
A Believer Survives In The World Through Prayer That Recognizes That Justice Will Ultimately Come With The Lord Returns.
Yes it’s been 2,000. But our hope burns shining bright, and our love for Christ is still true and pure and our confidence that He keeps His Word is fast and firm. And so we pray persistently calling on Him to come, to glorify Himself, to vindicate Himself, to punish sinners, dethrone Satan, establish a righteous kingdom and peace on the earth, reign as King of kings and Lord of Lord’s. We say, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” and it ought to be on our lips day after day after day, says our Lord. Live in that kind of anticipation until He comes. One serves God by having both our eyes looking for the return of Christ. Let’s pray together.