The Parables of Jesus
More Teaching on Prayer

Persistent Widow

Luke 18:2-8
    1.   And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
    2.   Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
    3.   And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
    4.   And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
    5.   Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
    6.   And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
    7.   And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
    8.   I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith
          on the earth?

Verse one - And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

    [A] Here we find Jesus teaching about the importance of praying and continuing to pray at all times
            [1] If you remember, the last time we looked at prayer, and determined that we were to pray and to be
                    persistent in our prayer, until we received an answer from God
            [2] Tonight we are going to see this same teaching in the parable of the Persistent Wodow

    [B] Men ought always to pray
            [1] Man should pray at all times, about all things
                    [a] This is consistent with the teaching of Paul who said that we were to pray Continuously.
                    [b] How can one pray at all times? Or pray continuously?
            [2] We must not neglect regular our prayers
            [3] We must seize every opportunity to seek God in prayer;
            [4] We must maintain a spirit of prayer, or in other words we must be in a proper frame of mind and heart to
                    lift up our hearts to God for his blessing,

    [C] Not to faint.
            [1] What does Jesus mean here by not fainting?
                    [a] We must not grow weary and quit praying even though our prayer seems not to be answered.
            [2] We must persevere, and not grow weary in our supplications to God.
                    [a] This is what Satan counts on. If he can get us to doubt that God is hearing our prayers, or that he
                            will answer them, we will give up and quit praying, or doubt and not have our prayer answered

Verse 2 - Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
    
    [A] Jesus begins his parable talking about a secular Judge, a man whose job it was to decide judgment between
            to who were debating, of against one who had committed wrongs against a man or against the state
            [1] We are talking about a Judge similar to the judges we have in our own court systems today

    [B] This particular Judge, although he may have been a very good Judge, did not fear God neither did he regard
            man
            [1] Because he did not have any regard for God, his soul decision would have to be determined by his own
                    mind, or by the principles that were in the law books.
            [2] With no regard for God, he would have lacked
                    [a] Mercy
                    [b] Love
                    [c] Grace
                    [d] All the attributes that a man of God should possess
            [3] Because he had not regard or fear of God, it stands to reason that he did not regard man either.
                     [a] He cared not for man
                    [b] He cared not for the opinions of man
                    [c] He was an island that stood alone, believing he had all the answers and had to answer to no-one for
                            his actions or his decisions.
                            [1-a] Doesn’t this sound like many who are in leadership positions in our society?

Verse three - And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

    [A] There was a widow in that city
            [1] His using a widow in this parable has no real relevance other than a widow in the time of Christ was
                    defenseless, commonly poor, and often oppressed by those in power.
                    [a] This widow had been hurt
                    [b] She was in need of the Judges help
                    [c] Apparently no-one else would help her
            [2] She went to the judge seeking his help
            [3] Avenge me of my adversary
                    [a] This would have been better translated, "Do me justice against my adversary, or vindicate me from
                            him."
                    [b] It does not denote vengeance or revenge, but simply that she wished to have justice done her - a
                            thing which this judge was bound to do, but which it seems he had no disposition for doing.
    
    [B] Adversary
            [1] One opposed in law.  
            [2] Probably someone who took advantage of her condition to oppress her.

Verse four and five - And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor
    regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

    [A] For a while.
            [1] Probably this means for a considerable time.  
            [2] It was his duty to attend to the claims of justice, but he effused to do his duty

    [B] Afterward he said within himself,
            [1] He thought, or came to a conclusion.
            [2] He determined it was time to do his job

    [C] Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
            [1] This contains the reason why he attended to the case at all.
                    [a] He feared not God or man yet he wanted to simply avoid any trouble.  
                    [b] Yet his conduct in this case might have appeared upright, and strictly according to law and to
                            justice,
            [2] Questions
                    [a] How many actions are performed may man that appear well, when the doers of those actions know
                            that they are a hypocrite?
                    [b] How many actions are performed from the basest and lowest motives of selfishness, that have the
                            appearance of external propriety and even of goodness?

    [D] Because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
            [1] The word used here, in the original Greek, denote the wounds and bruises caused by boxers, who beat
                    each other, and blacken their eyes, and disable them.
            [2] Therefore, what Jesus was implying was that this woman kept on, and on, suffering herself against the
                    judge until he was literally beat up by her emotionally.
                    [a] What this means, is that we are to keep on and on with God until he hears and answers our prayers,
                    [b] When we pray for the right reason, and pray what the bible tells us is God’s will, we should expect
                            an answer and continue praying and reminding God what his word promises us. God is not a liar,
                            therefore he will not lie. If he said he would do something, he will.

Verse six - And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
    
    [A] Than Jesus implies,
            [1] Take note of the Judge and what he did
            [2] Keep in mind that this Judge feared neither God or man – yet look what he did

Verse seven - And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with
     them?

    [A] Shall not God avenge,
            [1] The character of God is not at all represented by this judge
            [2] Neither are his principles or conduct like the judge.
            [3] Even though the principle of seeking help, and going to God continually is the same, the reason for his
                    helping is much different
                    [a] The Judge was an unjust man – God is completely just
                    [b] The Judge cared not for God, apparently did not acknowledge that God even existed – God on the
                            other hand is God
                    [c] The Judge cared not for man nor what they had to say, whereas God desires to hear every word
                            that is spoken, and wants to help his saints
                    [d] The Judge was more concerned about his own self, whereas, God loves man so much that he gave
                            his only son to die for our sins and transgressions
                    [e] The widow, because of her perseverance obtained what she got from an unjust man
                    [f] God is not unjust.  He is good, and desires to do justice and to show mercy.
            [4] If, therefore, this wicked man by persevering prayer was induced to do justice, how much more shall God,
                    who is good, and who is not actuated by any such selfish and base principles, do justice to them who
                    apply to him!

    [B]  Avenge
            [1] Do justice to or vindicate someone
                    [a] Vengeance might not be seen by us, but eventually, God will punish our enemies for all the wrongs
                            they do against us.

      [C] His own elect - so called because God has chosen them to be his
            [1] People of God,
            [2] The Saints,
            [3] Christians;.

    [D] Which cry day and night.  
            [1] Those who pray constantly.
            [2] No one can have evidence that he is chosen of God who is not a man of prayer.
            [3] One of the best marks to show that one is an elect of God is to desire in your heart to pray.  
            [4] This passage supposes that when the elect of God are in trouble and pressed down with calamities, they
                    will cry unto him; and it affirms that if they do, he will hear their cries and answer their requests.

      [E] Though he bear long with them.
            [1] There are several interpretation for this passage
                    [a] "Will not God avenge his elect?
                    [b] Will he linger in their cause?"
                    [c] The most natural meaning is,
                            [1-a] Although he defers long to avenge them, and greatly tries their patience, yet he will avenge
                                    them.
                            [2-a] He tries their faith; he suffers their persecutions and trials to continue a long time; and it
                                    almost appears as if he would not interpose. Yet he will do it, and will save them.

Verse eight - I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find
    faith on the earth?

    [A] Speedily - suddenly, unexpectedly.
            [1] God will vindicate his Saints
            [2] Possibly at time when are ready to give up.
            [3] God will vindicate his Saints in his time, when the time is right

      [B] Nevertheless – but notwithstanding this.
            [1] Though God will avenge his elect, yet will he find his elect faithful?
            [2] The danger is not that God will be unfaithful-he will be true to his promises; but the danger is that his
                    elect-his afflicted people-will become discouraged; will not persevere in prayer; will not continue to have
                    confidence in him; and will, under heavy trials, sink into despondency.
            [3] The sole meaning of this phrase, therefore, is, that there is more danger that his people would grow
                    weary, than that God would be found unfaithful and fail to avenge his elect. For this cause Christ spoke
                    the parable, and by the design of the parable this passage is to be interpreted.

     [C] The Son of man cometh.  
            [1] It is thought that this may be referring to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem-the
                    coming of the Messiah, by his mighty power, to abolish the ancient dispensation and to set up the new.
            [2] Yet I cannot believe that it is not prevalent for us today as well,
                    [a] As the saints suffer the onslaught of evil in the world, will they despair and turn from God
                    [b] As we pray for peace and for God to take the wickedness from among us, and it seems that the
                            world continues to get wickeder with each passing day will our faith fail
            [3] Jesus is coming, when he does, will his people be watching and waiting, or will they have become
                    discouraged.
                    [a] I fear that this is the best translation for this passage, because many are discouraged that Christ
                            has not returned yet, and they are beginning to believe that he is not coming at all.
                    [b] Many are refusing to keep the faith, and instead are in believing secular science, and false teaching
                    [c] The bible is being changed and misinterpreted, and is translated as saying things that it does not
                            say.
                    [d] Many are becoming discouraged trying to follow a religion which so many are claiming is not real

    [D] Faith.
            [1] This is a word that is sometimes taken to denote the whole of religion. There is a close connection in
                    what Christ says, and it should be understood as referring to what he said before.
            [2] The truth that he had been teaching was, that God will deliver his people from their calamities and save
                    them, even though they might suffer and bed tried.
            [3] He asks them when he came again;
                    [a] Would he find faith, and belief among his followers?
                    [b] Would the Saints be found persevering in prayer, and believing that God would yet avenge them; or
                            would they cease to pray always, and faint?

      [E] The Saints on the earth.
            [1] The question Jesus was asking his disciples was whether they would lose their faith and turn from
                    following him, and praying for deliverance when they had been facing tribulation and testing for a
                    period of time
            [2] The same question can be asked of us
                    [a] When we are tried and persecuted, do we believe that God will avenge us?
                    [b] Do we pray always and not faint?
                    [c] Do we have the enough faith to believe that, though clouds and darkness are round about him, yet
                            righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne?
                    [d] When storms of persecution assail us, can we go to God and confidently commit our cause to him,
                            and believe that he will bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the noon-
                            day?