Andrew Hughes | Category: The Christian Life
When you cry out to God for deliverance, do you sometimes feel like it’s not reaching His ears? In your desperation for God’s justice to come and meet the injustices you are facing in life, do you ever wonder whether He will really respond?
In Luke 18:1-8, there is a beautiful parable of a widow crying out for justice.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘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 the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8, ESV)
Don’t Lose Heart
One of the helpful things about this parable is that Luke explains right away what the purpose of this parable is—that we might always pray and not lose heart in the face of injustice. The verses right before this, Luke 17:20-37, are a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples based on a question from the Pharisees of when the Kingdom will come. As usual, Jesus reveals the counter-intuitive nature of the Kingdom of God in Christ – it is already here, but not yet in fullness. And for the fullness of His Kingdom to come, He must suffer (17:25). Moreover, those who are kingdom citizens will also be marked by suffering (17:33). The Pharisees are asking the question, “Jesus, when will the Kingdom of God come,” but Jesus knows His disciples are also wondering when justice and equity will truly rule.
From Lesser to Greater
So to comfort his disciples, as they look for God’s righteous rule to make things right that are wrong, Jesus tells a story of a widow who sought justice from her adversary. Although the judge initially does not respond to her, her persistence (kept “bothering” him; “beat me down”) finally compels this unrighteous (he doesn't fear God or respect man) judge to act.
Then comes the most beautiful line in this parable, verse 7, moving from the lesser to the greater: If even an unrighteous judge might be compelled to act for the needy, how much more will the God of all justice act for His elect. Moreover, He will not delay but will act speedily. It might not feel as “speedily” as we’d like since we live “between the times” of Christ's Kingdom being established in part and one day being established in fullness. But any delay is not due to apathy on God’s part.
Justice for the Oppressed
Injustice is a constant reminder that things aren't the way they should be. For the disciple of Christ, it creates aching and longing to be freed from injustices, longing for Jesus to judge and crush the adversary. We are the widow in need, at the mercy of the judge to deliver. For those in Christ, God’s just wrath has been removed from us. The adversary has been crushed. His justice and mercy come together in the cross of Christ for our good. Without Christ, God’s justice (just wrath) crushes us. In Christ, God’s justice (just mercy) delivers us. If God is for you, who can be against you! (Romans 8:31) Between the times, we face injustice, but these things cannot separate us (Romans 8:35-39).
The Father loves the cries of His elect children. He will not delay. He will not rebuke. He will not punish. He will not let you be overcome. He is not bothered or beat down. He will respond speedily and not delay long.
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