Michael Jordan is probably the greatest basketball player in the history of the game, and at one time he was asked about the so-called secret of his success. And Mr. Jordan answered by saying; “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I am so successful.” Mr. Jordan tells us in plain English that the key to his success was persistence.
And here we have a parable given by the Lord Jesus Christ, of a woman who kept coming to a judge, asking for vindication. This parable is better known as, “The Parable of the Unjust Judge” and it follows a discussion in the 17th chapter of Luke dealing with the return of Christ. Which lets us know from the very beginning that there is a great need for perseverance in our prayer life, it helps to remind us that we are not stressing God by coming to Him again and again with an issue we have.
When we pray persistently to the Lord it does not mean we are lacking in faith or doubting that He would ever answer us. To the contrary, persistent prayer shows God how much we rely solely on Him and not ourselves or anyone else. It shows that we know that He is the only One who can fix it. In fact, Jesus us right from the start, “…that men ought to always pray and not faint;” The children of God are to pray and just keep on praying until Christ returns no matter how long He may be delayed.
If your desire is not fulfilled today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year - persist, because persistency will pay off after while. Your prayers will be answered if you don’t give up. Here in the text we have a poor widow and an unjust judge.
1.) There Was The Unjust Judge – (V.2)
In America today we have some very fine, dedicated, and skilled prosecuting attorneys and judges. Unfortunately however, there are also a few corrupt ones who grace or rather disgrace our courtrooms across the nation. A dishonest judge can ignore evidence, twist rules and procedure, obstruct the record, retaliate, manufacture facts or ignore others, allow infirm claims or dismiss valid ones, deny admission of evidence prejudicial to the favored party, suborn perjury, mischaracterize pleadings, engage in ex parte communication and misapply the law. No I am not a lawyer but I do how to research. I have discovered that a judge has almost unimaginable power over anyone who stands before him or her. Eventhough it was our forefather’s intention that the Congress should decide what the law would be, sometimes right under Congress’s nose, an unjust judge can manipulate and circumvent a particular case to go in the direction that he or she personally desires for it to go—thank God that not every judge in America today operates in this manner.
And thank God for appeals and other instruments of the law that keeps all of us in check. However, the unjust judge in this parable was not under the same constraints that today’s judges and prosecuting attorneys are under by the federal government.
This particular judge was a solo act, and he made it clear that he could not care less about God or who God was, perhaps he believe that his position made him equal or even greater than God. He also made it clear that he could not care less what men thought, he took on the Harry Truman adage that, “The buck stops here” and although it is not mentioned in the text the prevailing thought is that he would not hesitate to take bribes and give favors to persons who held positions of authority, men who had the ability to scratch his back whenever it was needed most likely fared quite well in his courtroom.
This judge for sure had carte blance, he could write a blank check anytime he wanted to. He was under no code of conduct, he could misbehave badly whenever he felt the need to do so and there was not a thing anyone could do about it. The poor widow meant absolutely nothing to him because all he was concerned about was filling up his pockets, gaining honor and esteem, recognition and position from those were influential and also held a position of power with a large bank account.
2.) There Was The Poor Widow – (V.3)
The woman had none of these attributes that caused the judge to pay any close attention to her and who she was. She was poor; even if she wanted to she had absolutely no means to bribe this judge. She was a widow—a woman all alone in a man’s world, imagine a woman living in that day and time with no spouse, no money to pay for legal services. There was no public assistance, no legal aid, and no insurance of any kind.
The judge required something almost anything that would benefit him before he would even entertain the matter. But what did she have? She was persecuted, taken advantage of and greatly abused by some adversary. We who love the Lord also have a relentless adversary, “Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour ” 1 Peter 5:8.
This adversary loves to torment us and persecute us. His is called the devil; most of the world today pictures the devil as a medieval and mythical two-horned, fork-tailed impish creature, dressed in red flannel underwear, busily pitching coal into the furnaces of hell! Thus, he lives only in the scripts of late night talk show hosts and stand-up comedians, remember Flip Wilson’s “the devil made me do it” jokes? But he is much more formidable than that.
And so in through this great parable Jesus is cleverly giving us instruction on what to do when the adversary strikes. We should do what this poor widow do and be persistent when are making our request be known. Eventhough she did not fit this judges godless criteria she would not let it stop her, she just kept coming to this old judge and asked him to avenge her.
Let me say this, the spirit of the unjust judge is alive and well today. He goes by different names now days, for example he’s also known as—the unjust manager or supervisor, the unjust politician, the unjust Church leader such as a pastor or deacon or music director, the unjust police officer, the unjust bill collector et cetera. He has many names but he has the same attitude, and if you are not worth his or her time they are quite able to remain quiet about your situation all together.
3.) The Silence of The Unjust Judge – (v.4)
After all her pleading initially at least the unjust judge did not make a move to help her, he was hard-hearted and harsh with absolutely no intentions of coming to her rescue eventhough he did have the power and authority to do so. He sized her up as soon as he laid eyes upon her, “what can she do for me?” He must have thought.
“Look at the raggedy clothes she’s wearing, and where is her husband? And for that matter where is her lawyer? Oh that’s right! She can’t afford one, this woman is just wasting my valuable and extremely precious time!” She kept coming back; she must have slept overnight on the steps of the courthouse. Every day there she was he that judges face. And this went on “for a while” until the judge was forced to give in—her persistence caused him to break his silence.
Look at v.4 and 5, “The judge ignore her for a while, but eventually she wore him out. I fear neither God nor man he said to himself, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to that she gets justice, because is wearing me out with her constant (persistent) requests!” for sure she would not let the judge rest, she was like the energizer bunny. He could not get rid of her; she would not accept his silence. She was determined to receive an answer she kept coming and coming. The judge was just about to scream, there must have not been a bailiff to assist him in escorting her out and even there were I don’t that would have stopped. Judge said, “man let me get this woman off my before she gives a black eye” in other words before she absolutely ruins his reputation. She annoyed him to point that he eventually ruled in her favor and she was now avenged.
As Jesus completes this parable He now gives a review—and said, “Hear what the unjust judge said.” Or let this be lesson to you that God who is holy, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, the righteous Judge of the universe. Here is the main point that needs to be driven home, If this unjust ungodly, uncaring, arrogant, egotistical, narcissist of a judge can avenge this woman? “Shall not God avenge His own elect?”
And the reason God avenges His elect is because they cry out to Him both day and night, they plead and plead their case before God; they are persistent in their prayers. There is power in persistent prayer, look what Psalm 91: 15 says, “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.” God will only deliver but He will honor as well—what promise to hold on to. Amen