And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?(Luke 18:1-7)
In order to make his disciples see the utter necessity of constant prayer, Jesus likens our situation as Christians in this world, to the plight of a widow desperately pleading her case before an indifferent and godless judge.
The lone widow is the very picture of helplessness and vulnerability in the ancient world. Unless she has strong and powerful familial connections, or has been left adequate financial resources. her only protection, would be a functioning and God-fearing legal system.
Her husband is her defender, and he is gone. This widow doesn’t seem to have children or family or any other resources. She has a grievance, a claim to make before the local court of Law. Therefore she daily takes her place in line and when it comes to be her turn, she cries out in her desperation, ‘Avenge me of My Adversary’!
On the one hand this is a parable of contrasts. For example, when it comes to prayer, Jesus’ disciples have incredible resources, unlike this widow, for we can plead all of the promises of God, and have been given by our Lord, every assurance and encouragement to, “come boldly before the throne of Grace”, where we can know for certain, that there, we “shall find grace to help and mercy in the time of need”.(See Hebrews 4:16)
Furthermore our God isn’t like that Judge, He cares about us, and could never be considered indifferent to our plight. How much are sparrow going for these days? Have you bought any? Jesus told us that sparrow cannot fall out of a tree without our heavenly Father noticing, and you are of much more value than a sparrow!
This widow woman in the story had no advocate to accompany her to the throne of justice, but “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One, He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world!”(see I John 2:1-3)
In what way then are we like his widow woman? And how could our prayers in any way be like unto her desperate cries?
Consider specifically what it is that she is crying out for, although it seems that she is being ignored…
The KJV has her crying, “Avenge me of my adversaries!”. She is being exploited or cheated and wants the judge to set things right. This is a typical legal complaint.
A Greek interlinear translation I have says that she cried out “Vindicate me against my adversary” .
There are other variations of her complaint, but they all agree that this widow is desperately crying out before an indifferent judge that she be vindicated, that justice be done, and that things be set right! She is crying out for the vindication!
Isn’t that what we are told to cry out for, in the Lord’s prayer?
“Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name,Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the glory, both now and forever.”
Have you ever thought about what you are asking for when you utter those words in faith, Thy Kingdom Come….Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven….? In order for that to happen,(The Kingdom to come) cataclysmic events have to occur, things have to be upended, natural disasters are a part of it, wars and rumors of wars, 9-11’s and terrorism has to be temporarily unleashed, cities have to be destroyed and oceans turned to blood.
All of this is part of the process of the coming of the Kingdom, just as blood, water, mirconium, and birth-pangs are part of birth.
What’s the problem that the Lord’s prayer seeks to solve?
The earth is not as it should be! Evil seems to be ruling and reigning . Sin is rewarded and Righteousness is hated and condemned. The corruption is complete and systemic, the very Kings of the earth and their rulers (The experts in every field, culture, law, government, entertainment, media, education, law, even medicine!) are leading in the rebellion against the Lord and his Christ!
The True church is a widow in this world. Her husband is gone(for now) and the powerful are godless. So we are to cry out for things to be set right, we pray for the vindication, we are crying out for the new heavens and the new earth and the rule of Everlasting Righteousness!
If we still think our power is political as well as spiritual, or that we have any kind of worldly power or influence to wield, or that the church is a ‘player’ at the table of worldly power and authority, by virtue of numbers, wealth, or votes, we won’t get this parable. We have to realize the times in order to see ourselves in this parable and act accordingly(WHite hot desperate prayer for the Vindication).
Jesus said to those who came to arrest him, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness”, and Revelation tells us that Satan made war on the Saints and to a certain extent was able to overcome them! Our only real power is Truth. Our power is in our powerlessness, and sense of desperate need of God.