A cross against the sun

What does Jesus want to find when he returns to the earth?

The widow and the corrupt judge

Jesus told a story about a corrupt judge and a widow who wanted justice. The widow wins her case not on its merits but by wearing down the judge with her persistence. (Luke 18:1-8)

The parable seems unlikely for two reasons. In the passage before Jesus talks about the end times and the sudden unexpected coming of the Kingdom of God after a time of upheaval. Secondly, at the conclusion of the parable Jesus asked if he would find faith on the earth when he returns. (Luke 17:22-37; 18:8)

We find a story about a persistent widow sandwiched between two passages about the end times.

God is not like the judge

Another curious part of the story is that Jesus used the corrupt judge to teach about God. The corrupt judge gave the widow justice because he wanted to get rid of her. God wants to bless people of faith. We don’t need to wear him down.

The core of the faith that Jesus desires

Hebrews 11 lists the exploits of people of faith from the Hebrew Scriptures. The first verses describe the faith that pleases God

People of faith believe that God exists.

People of faith believe that God created the universe out of nothing.

People of faith believe that in the end God will reward faith. (Hebrews 11:1-6)

The persistent widow believed that she would prevail. She did. If a corrupt judge can be made to act justly how much more can we expect that God will give justice to those who trust him to vindicate them.

Prayer and faith are linked in Jesus’ teaching

After the story of the widow and the judge, Jesus continued by telling a parable about good prayer and bad prayer. Then he pointed out examples of good faith and bad faith.

The prayer of the proud Pharisee was contrasted with the humble prayer of the tax collector.

Then the trusting faith of children was compared with the rich ruler whose faith was choked by his concern for his wealth.

Prayer and faith are linked in Jesus’ teaching. (Luke 18:9-30)

How are prayer and faith linked in our lives?

When have various concerns choked your faith?

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