The story is told of an old woman who lived on her own. Someone had wronged her in some way. The sort of injustice she experienced is a mystery. However, the wrong she suffered was enough for her to seek justice in the court system. It is probable that she was evicted from her home illegally, or had her land stolen from her by a swindler in a crooked real estate deal. If this were the case, her adversary took away her ability to provide for herself.
So, she went to the judge to get help in her situation. She presented her case to the judge. She explained how her enemy had done wrong to her, and she needed relief. She needed help only the judge could provide. But there was a problem: the judge didn’t care. He had her thrown out with a wave of his hand.
It would have been better if the judge was crooked. Maybe her adversary bribed him. Or perhaps his own property benefitted from the widow’s eviction. But this wasn’t the case. The judge wasn’t bribed, crooked, or in on the conspiracy. He just didn’t care about the widow or her problems. He shooed her away like a person wiping crumbs off a table.
She was back the next morning. And the next. And the day after that. And each subsequent day for countless days. Each time, with casual disinterest, he had her removed, offering no help.
Finally, the judged tired of seeing the widow each day. He said this 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.”
Listen to what Jesus has to say about this situation in Luke 18:6-8, “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?”
What is Jesus teaching us here? Several things, to be sure. We should be persistent in prayer. We should recognize God is good and kind, not like the evil judge. When someone wrongs us, it is good to seek justice; however, we should find it from God, and not through revenge. These are all important, but Jesus makes it clear what His primary concern is.
When He returns, will He find faith on earth?
In the context of this story, what is the faith Jesus is talking about? He is talking about faith expressed in the prayerfulness of His people.
Each of us, as individual Christians need to let this truth confront the reality of our hearts. If we were asked, “Do you believe in God?” we would answer, “Yes!” If the follow-up question was, “How?” we might say, “I trust Him to forgive me. I trust His Word. I trust that His commands are for my good. I trust He is coming back.”
All of these ways of trusting God are good and right. But Jesus' question is pointed. In this context, Jesus is saying, “When I return, will I find my people praying?”
There might be any number of things in our schedule that we (or others!) might say we spend too much time doing: hobbies, television, social media, or even work. But it would probably be a little unusual for anyone to comment on our lives and say, “Yeah, he’s a good guy, takes good care of his family. But you know, he spends WAY too much time in prayer.”
It might make you and I squirm a bit, but for our good: When Jesus returns, will He find faith on earth?
Will He find us praying?
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together!
See you Sunday,