The Persistent Widow? The parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1–8) is part of a series of illustrative lessons Jesus Christ used to teach His disciples about prayer. Luke introduces this lesson as a parable meant to show the disciples “that they should always pray and never give up” (verse 1, NLT).
A needy widow repeatedly comes before the judge to plead her case. According to Jewish law, widows deserve special protection under the justice system (Deuteronomy 10:18; 24:17–21; James 1:27). But this unjust judge ignores her. Nevertheless, she refuses to give up.
Probably all of us have thought that we know better than those in charge. Watch out! Thinking like this is not wrong in itself, but it is something that lodged itself in the mind of Helel (the name of the “covering cherub” before he became Satan): “I know better than the one in charge,” and in this case, it was God. We can begin to see how his pride was beginning to exalt itself against God. It was moving to break the relationship between them. It was coming between Helel and God so that their relationship could not continue. Helel could not continue to serve God.
I will give her justice so that she won’t eventually come and attack me. Now, this story seems a little bit strange, but let’s talk about it. So Jesus told his disciples, this parable to show them how to pray and never give up in this story. We have a widow that’s supposed to represent us, but who is this judge? Surely Jesus. Isn’t comparing God to an unjust judge. What Jesus wants us to see here is that God is not like this judge. He is good. And he is just because of this. Whenever we come before him with our problems and cry out to him, he’ll always answer. And he won’t delay in answering our prayers. He’ll make it happen. And quickly then Jesus ends by saying however, when the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Why does Jesus mention faith? What does that have to do with persistence or prayer? Well, let’s look at it this way. If we don’t have faith that God’s going to do what he says, he’ll do. We won’t be like this persistent. We’ll give up because we don’t believe that he’s going to work in the way that he tells us he will. But if we have faith, we’ll continue asking and asking and seeking God until he gives us an answer. Discover even more info on the The Persistent Widow video on YouTube.
In the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), a poor, powerless person (the widow) persists in nagging a corrupt, powerful person (the judge) to do justice for her. The parable assumes John the Baptist’s teaching that holding a position of power and leadership obligates you to work justly, especially on behalf of the poor and weak. But Jesus focuses the parable on a different point, that we are “to pray always and to not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). He identifies the hearers — us — with the woman, and the prayed-to person — God — with the corrupt judge, a strange combination. Assuming that Jesus doesn’t mean that God is corrupt, the point must be that if persistence pays off with a corrupt human of limited power, how much more will it pay off with a just God of infinite power.