3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”
Okay, so that’s the first verse:
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,Luke 18.1
And the last verse:
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?Luke 18.8
What about in between? What about this parable?
Going back to the parable, Jesus makes a comparison between the unjust judge and God and encourages us to compare and contrast to the two.
I used to be an English teacher and I studied English and foreign literature at university. One of the things we were sometimes asked to do (which I would ask people to do as well) was to compare and contrast certain characters in certain situations and find out what is similar and what is different and so learn something from that exercise.
When you look at this parable, there are a lot of things you can compare and contrast and learn from what Jesus is trying to say to us.
The contrast you have between an unjust judge who does not fear God, nor regard man, in this context, probably represents a Roman-appointed judge who didn’t care about justice or the people. He was just in the job for the money and the position in society it gave him.
That couldn’t be more different from God who is just and loves and cares for humanity.
So, what’s the comparison? The comparison is that both of them (the judge and God) have people petitioning them, asking them for help in front of an adversary/an enemy who’s troubling them, making their life miserable.
Both, the judge and God, have power to do something about it.
The widow in the story is in a bad situation because she has an adversary who is troubling her and this adversary is making her life a misery, and, presumably, he’s doing something which is illegal and so she comes to the judge and asks him to give her justice. The story implies she has a legitimate case.
Yet, because the judge doesn’t care about justice or about the woman, he dismisses her case and tells her to go away.
But she keeps coming back and he, in turn, dismisses her case again. Then, she returns again and again, and again until the judge says,
‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’Luke 18.4-5
‘This woman is troubling me. Why doesn’t she just go away and leave me in peace!‘
Eventually, the judge gets so fed up with her coming over and over again that he gives her what she wants and delivers her from her enemy.
What’s the point of that story?
The point of the parable is obviously not to commend the judge but to commend the woman for her persistence in petitioning him.
The story is telling us that we should continue to petition the Lord and we should not give up if we don’t get an answer straight away.
The parable says,
6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”Luke 18.6-8
How much more will God respond to the persistence of His elect? How much more would God respond to those who come to Him in faith, those who believe in Him?
Now, God is just and he does regard everyone as valuable and precious in His sight. He cares for His elect; His elect are those who have called on the Name of the Lord for Salvation.
And, in the parable then, the woman is compared to God’s elect and it says there is a difference in God’s elect, those who are precious to Him.
Even though the judge couldn’t care less about the woman, God does care.
Additionally, there is another point of comparison: both have an adversary. God’s elect also have an adversary as the widow in the parable does.